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Read Only Flash Drives - How To Add or Remove the Write Protection

Part 1 What is Write Protection?

Write Protection is a safety mechanism that helps you to keep the contents of a disk secure. It prevents anyone from adding extra data on the part of the drive which is protected. To "write" on a disk is the process of saving data on the disk.

Technically, write protection implies that the said data cannot be changed in any way. Therefore, you cannot erase, edit, move or perform any other action on this data. In some instances, the only exception to this is the ability to read this data. It's read only flash drives to you.

Part 2 Why Write Protect Data?

One of the most fundamental properties of data is the fact that it can be easily modified. This makes it vulnerable to manipulation and easy to distort its accuracy. Some data is incredibly valuable, and has to be protected from even the slightest of changes.

The obvious solution here is to make it untouchable - hence the write protection. This process is fool proof - because there is no point of placing protection measures on data if they can be bypassed or overridden.

Secondly, for people who frequent cyber-cafes or use multiple PCs to store their information, there is an option to write protect their external storage devices. The reason for this is that there are annoying viruses which self-replicate themselves onto pen drives. Write protection prevents this.

The biggest upside of the process is the fact that the integrity of the information is kept intact, regardless of the number of hands that it passes through. However, it also has a downside - some data is dynamic and changes with time; hence, it may render the storage device useless after it has run out of its usefulness.

Part 3 How to Add Write Protection to a Flash Drive

The easiest way of write-protecting a flash disk is by purchasing one which comes with a switch made specifically for this reason.

read only flash drive

However, not all flash drives are created equal, hence, extra measures must be taken for those drives that do not have the switch. Here we go...

Setp 1. Note the drive letter associated with your USB flash disk, like E, H, J, K, etc.

Setp 2. First open the Windows explorer. This is easily done by pressing Windows Key+ E.

Setp 3. When the explorer pops up, right click on the correct letter from part #1.

Setp 4. A menu drops down after selecting your drive. At the bottom part, you will see the option "Properties ." Select it.

Add Write Protection to a Flash Drive

Setp 5. Choose "Security", then under "User" or "Group", choose "Everyone" and then "Edit", as shown in the image.

set read only flash drive

Setp 6. You will notice a tab labeled "Permissions." Find the part that says "permission for everyone." Here is where you designate the disk as write protected, by checking the "deny" boxes.

create read only flash drive

Setp 7. Click "Apply" or "OK" and you are done.

Note that once you put on write protection from any computer, everyone including you will be unable to modify the data.

Part 4 How to Remove the Write Protection from Read Only Flash Drive

Setp 1. Plug in the write-protected disk.

Setp 2. Press Windows+E and right click on the drive letter of the disk.

Setp 3. Right-click on the disk and choose "Properties", then "Security."

remove Write Potection from read only flash drive

Setp 4. Select "Everyone" under "Group" names

Setp 5. Select "Edit" and go to "Permissions"

Setp 6. Check all the boxes labeled as "Allow"

remove write protection from usb flash drive

Setp 7. Click "Apply" and exit. Your disk's write protection has now been removed.

Part 5 How to Format a Read Only Flash Drive with Write Protection

This is the process of wiping out everything that is in the disk. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to format your read-only flash drive write protection

Setp 1. Open the registry editor. This can be done by pressing the "Windows" key and typing "regedit." An app called "regedit.exe" will request administrator permission to run; click "OK."

read only usb flash drive

Setp 2. Find the directory labeled "ComputerHKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEM"

Setp 3. Once you have navigated to the key, select "CurrentControlSetControlStorageDevicePolicies"

remove usb flash drive write protection

Setp 4. The "Write Protect" value shows up. Right-click on this option (where it is labeled as 1).

Setp 5. Change the value 1 to 0, and press OK.

Setp 6. Apply the changes and restart the computer. Remove the flash drive from the USB port.

Setp 7. When the computer turns on, insert the flash drive and right click on the drive letter.

Format a Read Only Flash Drive

Setp 8. Select "Format".

how to Format Read Only Flash Drive

Setp 9. Choose "Default allocation size" then "Start" and click "Yes" when you are given the warning that ALL the data will be lost.

Setp 10. Click OK when done.

You have now successfully formatted your USB flash drive. You may save your files once again, and keep them protected. A great way of keeping your files safe is to change their properties to hidden. Other users rarely will take the time to unhide them. The logic behind this is that people do not go looking for something that is hidden.

However, this method is not guaranteed to give the best results, since it protects only from people, and not malware.

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