Skip navigation

Q. How can I mark my USB storage devices as read-only?

A. Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) introduces a new registry subkey that lets you mark USB-based storage devices such as memory sticks as read-only devices. This is a useful security capability that can prevent users from copying data from their systems and taking that data offsite via a USB device. To enable the USB write protection, perform the following steps:

  1. Start the registry editor (regedit.exe).
  2. Navigate to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\StorageDevicePolicies subkey. (Create the StorageDevicePolicies subkey if it doesn't already exist.)
  3. From the Edit menu, select New, DWORD Value.
  4. Type the name WriteProtect and press Enter.
  5. Double-click the new value and set it to 1. Click OK.
  6. Close the registry editor.
  7. Restart the computer.

To disable this change, you can either set WriteProtect to 0 or delete it.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.