How To Enable Device Media Write Protection In USB Flash Drives, Pen Drives

In my previous post, I wrote about a registry hack to enable or disable access to USB Removable Mass Storage Device, Pen Drive, thumb and portable hard drive in Windows. When this hack is activated, you’ll neither be able to transfer any data from the computer nor copy any data to the computer from any USB storage mediums.

In this article we’ll see how we can enable write protection on external storage drives/devices, which means users will be able to copy data from external sources but not write date to external storage devices. This feature, where in the administrator disables the write access to external storage device is known as WriteProtect. This will ensure no private data leaves the PC without administrators permission.

Related Post: This feature is similar to enable or disable rite protection in Floppy Disks.

Here’s how you can enable write protection to USB Removable mass storage devices, pen drives, thumb drives and portable drives.

1> Click on “Start –> Run –> type regedit and hit Enter

2> Navigate to “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control

3> Create a new key and name it as StorageDevicePolicies

4> Select StorageDevicePolicies and create a new DWORD (32-bit) Value and name it as WriteProtect.

How to Disable Write Access to USB Hard Disk and Flash Key Drives

5> Set the value of WriteProtect to 1, this can be done by double clicking on WriteProtect.

Close registry editor and you are done. Sometimes you may have to boot the machine before the changes takes place. After WriteProtect is activated, users won’t be able to write any data from computer to any external storage device.

If anyone tries to write data to external storage device, then they’ll encounter any one of these messages :

The disk is write protected.
The media is write-protected.
Remove the write protection or use another disk.

How to Disable Write Access to USB Hard Disk and Flash Key Drives

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  1. MAAZ
    June 18th, 2009 at 15:32 | #1

    What if I want to remove write protection and will this technique prevent copying of viruses to hard disk (usb external)

  2. June 18th, 2009 at 20:15 | #2

    @Maaz – If you enable write protection, it ensures that nothing can be copied to the external USB drive. You will be able to copy data from your external usb drive to your PC / Laptops hard drive. If your external usb drive is infected with virus, then you’ll copy that too on to your PC / Laptops hard drive. It is a good practice to scan your external usb drive for viruses before copying anything on to your system.

  3. veooce
    November 11th, 2011 at 07:45 | #3

    I’m as USER, and I can’t modify registry and creating that “key”. how to enable USB storage device (win7)?

  4. November 11th, 2011 at 14:19 | #4

    Veooce – If you do not have ‘Admin’ rights, you cannot create / edit new keys. Login as admin / if you do not have rights to login as admin, ask your system administrator to grant you the right permission.

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