How to Remove Write Protect From Your USB Pen Drive

Written by richard kalinowski
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How to Remove Write Protect From Your USB Pen Drive
To use a write-protected USB drive, you need to change Windows permissions. (Jeffrey Hamilton/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

If you accidentally restricted a USB pen drive's permissions, or if a friend handed you a storage device with restricted settings, you can't use the device properly until the write protection is removed. To edit existing files or save new files to a USB drive, you must give yourself full control of the device in Windows.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Insert the USB pen drive into the computer. Wait a moment while Windows detects the device and installs any necessary drivers. A small prompt appears in the lower, right-hand corner of the screen, telling you when the USB pen drive is ready to use.

  2. 2

    Click the "Start" button, which is the blue orb in the lower left-hand corner of the desktop.

  3. 3

    Click "Computer."

  4. 4

    Right-click on the USB pen drive, found underneath the "Devices with Removable Storage" heading.

  5. 5

    Click "Properties." The "Properties" for the pen drive open in a new window.

  6. 6

    Click on the "Security" tab.

  7. 7

    Click on your username from the list of users.

  8. 8

    Click the "Edit" button. You may be prompted for an administrator password at this time.

  9. 9

    Click the "Allow" check box for all the available permissions, including "Full Control."

  10. 10

    Click "OK." The write protection is removed and you can edit the files on the USB pen drive.

Tips and warnings

  • If you are unable to change the drive's permissions, try adjusting the permissions settings on the computer where you first used the USB drive. If you are still unable to change the write protection status of the device, then you cannot do so without editing the computer's registry, a process that you should leave up to a trained technician.

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