Can You Change a Read Only Status for Flash Drives?

by Kitty Cooper

Flash drives are external storage devices that enable users to carry data from one computer to another. They have replaced floppy disks for data storage because they are more convenient to use, fit in any USB port on any computer, and can store more information. They can be locked, or made "read only," to protect information, but this condition is not permanent.

Why Lock a Flash Drive?

Many people lock flash drives when they want to be sure no one else can change their information. Others accidentally lock them by flipping the switch that is found on the side of many models.

Changing the Format

One way to change the read-only status of a flash drive is to reformat the drive.

Reformating the Drive

You can reformat the drive on a PC by clicking on My Computer, scrolling down to Devices and Storage, and then right-clicking on the drive. A menu should pop up that offers a "Format" option.

Unlocking the Drive

If you have a flash drive that can be locked externally, check to be sure the slide lock is in the open position, usually marked by an icon that looks like an open safe lock.


If neither of these methods work, check the instruction manual that came with your flash drive or ask a computer professional.

Benefits of Read-Only Status

If your drive remains read-only, no one can delete or alter your files. If you open a file and then wish to save changes, you can always go to File>Save As and rename the file. For example, if a read-only document is titled Budget, you could save it again as Budget Version 2 to prevent confusion but retain changes made in the document.

About the Author

Kitty Cooper started writing and editing professionally in 2000. Many of her articles appears on eHow and Answerbag, where she specializes in gardening and education. Cooper has a Master of Arts in teaching from Webster University and a Master of Arts in English and American literature from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.

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