How to Change the Write-Protect on a Flash Drive

By Amanda Kondolojy

If you have a write-protected flash drive that you need to access, it can be difficult to change it to allow you access, especially if it is a security-optimized flash drive. However, there are a few practical steps you can take to change the write-protection on a flash drive.

Step 1

Check for a write-protection switch. This switch, when engaged, will lock the contents of the flash drive and is a very common security feature. It is generally located on the side of the flash drive, and has an "enabled" or "on" position, and an "off" position. Slide this into the "off" position.

Step 2

Override password security. If your flash drive has password security, but you have forgotten the code, you can try to override the security feature by going to the Start menu and selecting "Run." A dialogue box will pop up, into which you should type in the path to the file on the USB drive you want to access. Note: This only works on USB drives with very simple security. If the security is complex, this will not work.

Step 3

Format the flash drive. If nothing else works, you can always format your USB flash drive, which will set all your write protections back to default. From there, you can customize them however you want, but all your data will be lost. To format the flash drive, go to the My Computer, right-click your drive and select "Format." A status bar will pop up. Once the status bar disappears, you can change the write-protection settings on your flash drive without incident.

Tips & Warnings

  • Tampering too much with a secure flash drive with complex security software can render the flash drive unusable, as the security software may lock it indefinitely.