How to Make a Regular USB Pendrive Read Only

Ever since the USB flash drives (also called USB pendrives) hit the market two decades ago, they have become a part of everyday computing life. I remember back in the year 2000, it was very exciting to have a 256 MB USB pendrive and it was not cheap either. Now we can have pendrives with storage space ranging in multi-terabytes.

Some of these USB pendrives have a built-in write protect switch. When we turn on this write protect switch, the drive becomes read only and we cannot write any data on it. But we can make the regular pendrives read-only too. This is done using a few commands in the Windows command prompt. We can also use Windows Terminal instead of the command prompt.

Here is how it is done:

  1. Attach the USB pendrive that you want to make read-only.
  2. Click on the Start, type cmd.exe and choose Run as administrator for Command Prompt. This will open an elevated command prompt window.
  3. In the command prompt window, type diskpart, then list disk and it will show the disks available. Notice the disk number for your pendrive.
  4. If your pendrive disk number is 1, then type select disk 1.Make USB Pendrive Read-only
  5. In order to check the read only status type attributes disk and press Enter. If it shows Read-Only : No then it is not read only.
  6. If the disk is not really read-only then we can give command attributes disk set readonly to make it read-only. We can repeat the step 5 to check the read only status. This time it should show Read-Only : Yes.
  7. Type exit to leave diskpart tool. Close the command prompt window.

Making a USB pendrive read-only is very useful if you are going to use it on public computers. For example, if you take a USB pendrive containing photos or documents to a printer shop to get the photos printed, then you can avoid malware infection of the USB drive by making it read-only.