USB Stick Write-Protected

Dear Computer Lady,

Hi. I wanted to format my USB stick on my PC but it keeps on saying the media is write-protected.

I really need help and I don’t know what to do, please help.


Dear Osibaht,

There are a couple of ways the USB stick might have become write-protected. You will have to investigate and find out what type of write-protection is on your stick.

There might be a write protection switch on the drive itself. Look closely on your USB stick for a small switch on the side or bottom and if you find one make sure it is not in the locked position.

If you don’t have a switch on your USB stick, it might be write-protected in the drive properties. Right-click on the USB drive in Windows Explorer and click on “Properties”. Click on the “Security” tab and change the settings to allow everyone to read and write to the drive.

Check to see if an individual file is set to read-only. That might be preventing the drive from formatting, however on my computer I was able to set a file as read-only and it still allowed me to format the drive.

It is also possible that the drive is corrupted and you will not be able to format it.

I hope this helps you figure out the problem.



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Elizabeth Boston is a Web designer, Social Media Consultant and managing editor of, “Ask The Computer Lady”.
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