Windows Vista and XP allow users to protect their data by disabling writing permission to USB drives. The provision is useful when you don’t want others using your PC from copying important data to USB drives. When the write permission is turned off, users will not be able to copy data to USB drives. In short, no one will be able to steal data from your PC using USB drives.
There are basically two ways to do this job. First one is the easiest way, through Group Policy (not available in XP Home, Vista Basic, and Premium). And the second one is via the Windows Registry. When the write permission is disabled, you will get “You need permission to perform this action” message upon trying to send files/folders to the USB drive.
Disable write permission via Group Policy
Step 1: Type gpedit.msc in the Start menu Search box and hit enter or type the same in the Run dialog box.
Step 2: Navigate to Computer Configuration\ Administrative Templates\ System\Removable Storage Access.
Step 3: On the right side pane, right-click on the option named Removable Disks: Deny write access and select Properties.
Step 4: Select the Enabled option and click the Apply button.
Disable the write permission via Windows Registry
Step 1: Open the Registry Editor by typing Regedit in the Start Menu Search box or in the Run dialog box.
Step 2: Go to the following registry key:
Step 3: Create a new DWORD (32-bit) value called WriteProtect and set it’s value to 1 to enable the write protection.
Step 4: Close the registry editor and reboot.
Note: Although I have not tested this tweak in Windows XP, I hope this works great in XP too.