Many a time, it becomes necessary for us to write protect our USB flash drive so as to protect it from viruses and other malware programs. As flash drives are so popular and most widely used to move data between computers, they are the prime target for attackers as a means to get infections spread around the computer world. Also, since USB drive is not a Read-Only Memory (ROM), the data inside it can easily be modified or deleted by malware programs.
But unfortunately, most of the new flash drives do not come with a write-protect feature as the manufacturers wish to cut down the cost of production. Hence, the only way to write-protect your USB flash drives is to enable this feature on your own computer.
Steps to Write-Protect Your USB Drive:
This can be done by adding a small entry to the Windows registry which acts as a switch that can be enabled to make use of the write protection or disabled to allow write access. Here we go:
- Open the Registry Editor (Open the “Run” dialog box, type regedit and hit “Enter”).
- Navigate to the following Registry key:HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControl
- Create a New Key named as StorageDevicePolicies. To do this, right-click on Control, again click on New -> Key and name it as StorageDevicePolicies.
- Now right-click on StorageDevicePolicies and create a New -> DWORD (32-bit) Value and name it as WriteProtect.
- Double-click on WriteProtect and set the Value data to 1.
Now the right-protection for USB drives is enabled on your computer (no restart required) and thus it would not be possible for anyone or any program to add/delete the contents from your USB flash drive. Any attempt to copy or download the files onto the USB drive will result in the following error message being displayed.
To revert and remove the write-protection, all you need to do is just change the Value data for WriteProtect (Step-5) from 1 back to 0. Now write access to all the USB devices is re-enabled.
Sometimes it may seem difficult to remember and follow the above mentioned steps each time you want to enable/disable the write protection. Hence as an alternative way, there are many tools available to automatically enable/disable the write-protection feature. One of my favorite tool is USB Write Protect by Naresh Manadhar.
I hope you’ve now understood how to enable or disable write-protection of USB devices on your computer.