How to remove write protection on a USB stick

USB memory sticks are a life saver for people who have to transport data from one computer to another. These portable storage devices can carry as much information as older hard drives but are easy to transform unwittingly into read-only drives if you accidentally flip the write-protection switch. Removing write protection on a USB stick is as easy as locating the switch.

Pick up the USB memory stick and hold it close to your eyes. The location of the write protection switch may be difficult to detect because it can often be quite small. If you can't immediately find it, run your finger along the sides and the bottom of the drive until you feel a little bump, slot or switch.

Look closely at the write-protection area when you find it. It may be nearly impossible to see. Try to find two little icons on the USB stick. One will look like a lock that has been opened and one will appear to be locked completely .

Use your fingernail or fingertip to flip the switch from the position next to the closed lock to the position of the open lock. When the write-protection switch is in the closed lock position, the memory drive is in protected mode and you cannot write or copy to the disc. By flipping the switch over, you remove the copy protection and can once again write or copy to the drive.

Try a second and even a third time to remove copy protection if it does not work the first time. The most common problem is that you have not moved the switch all the way into position and so it may appear to be in the unlocked position when in reality, it is not.

Seek the advice of a computer professional if the USB stick still does not allow you to write or copy data to it after you have moved the switch away from write-protection setting. The problem may be a corrupted drive or something else that has nothing to do with the write protection. Don't immediately give up on the disk and consider tossing it into the trash just because the write-protection switch does not appear to be working.

Things You'll Need

  • USB memory stick
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About the Author

Timothy Sexton's more than 10,000 articles have been published on sites ranging from USA Today to CareerAddict, from PopEater to His writing has been referenced in books ranging from "The Reckless Life...of Marlon Brando" to "Brand New China: Advertising, Media and Commercial and from Scarface Nation to Incentive!"