In this study, metal diffusion barrier-dependent switching polarity in ZrO2-based conducting-bridge random access memory was investigated. The device without the barrier layer (BL) exhibited nonpolar switching characteristics. However, inserting TiW BL resulted in positive reset failure. This phenomenon depends on the size and shape of the conducting bridge and also on the defects that contribute to the formation and rupture of the bridge. Consequently, the properties of the conducting bridge govern the device switching performance. Cu- and oxygen vacancy-based conducting bridge during N-Set for a device with and without the BL was proposed. The effect of the insertion of BL on the switching performance was also discussed. The absence of BL resulted in switching instability and poor nonvolatility. By contrast, a device with BL exhibited enhanced uniformity and nonvolatility, and the retention was more than 105 s at 200 °C.