Write protection (also known as “read-only”) prevents the contents on disk from being changed. This means you can read the data from a disk but not change it from its current contents.

You can change write protection from the software and the hardware, meaning from operating system settings and devices such as SD storage cards.

There are many reasons why you may want to use write protection on a disk. The two main reasons being you can prevent other people from deleting the current contents on a disk, and you can help make sure you don’t delete the data yourself accidentally. For instance, if you had 100 pictures being stored on flash memory, you can turn write protection on to keep those 100 pictures, but it would also mean that you couldn’t add any more mages to the flash drive until write protection was turned off again.

Write protection is nothing new. We’ve seen it used since floppy disk companies would make the diskettes write protected to make sure the contents on them couldn’t be overwritten. For some floppy disks, this meant removing a pull tab, so part of the diskette was missing.

This tutorial demonstrates how to enable or disable write protection when you’re using a version of the Windows operating system or a hardware device such as flash storage.

Method One: How to Enable/Disable Write Protection for USB Drive or Memory Card

You can enable and disable the write protection for USB drives and memory cards from the devices themselves.

1. Look on one of the four sides of the physical flash drive or memory card for a small switch that can be moved up and down.

2. Look on the device for which way may represent enabling and disabling the writing. For most USB sticks and memory cards, when the switch is moved up it means that both writing and erasing is possible. Conversely, when the switch is moved down, it means writing and erasing is impossible.

Method Two: How to Enable/Disable Write Access for All Removable Disks in Group Policy

You can enable and disable the write protection for all removable disks from the Local Group Policy Editor.

1. Open the Local Group Policy Editor.

2. In the console tree of the snap-in, navigate to the following path:

User Configuration/Administrative Templates/System/Removable Storage Access

3. In the right pane of Removable Storage Access, click on the Removable Disks: Deny write access policy setting.

4. From the Removable Disks: Deny write access policy window, choose between Not configured (allow write access), Enabled (deny write access), or Disabled (allow write access) and then click on the OK button at the bottom of the policy window.

Method Three: How to Enable/Disable Write Protection for Disk Using Diskpart Command

You can enable and disable the write protection for disks by using the Diskpart command from the Command Prompt.

Note: You can only use this option if you have a removable disk connected to the computer that the policy is set on.

1. Open the elevated Command Prompt window.

2. Type the following commands into the command line and then press the Enter key on your keyboard:


list disk

select disk <number>


Change where it says <number> for the actual number of the disk that you want to use. You can see this number from the Command Prompt window after having executed the above commands.

For example, select disk 0

3. To enable write protection, type the following command and then press Enter on your keyboard:

attributes disk set readonly

4. To disable write protection, type the following command and then press Enter on your keyboard:

attributes disk clear readonly

That’s all.

Related Tutorials