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Need to prevent Copy of external drive, Read ok

Posted on 2006-06-09
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Last Modified: 2008-02-01
Hi guys I was hoping that by now there was a good way to do this.
I have a 300gig drive with my whole music and Karaoke collection on it which was all purchased by me. I take this drive to parties once in a while to have Karaoke there. Idon't want someone illegaly copying my drive. I want to somehow have it password protected so only I have full access to it and other people can only play the music. Is there a good way to do this???
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Question by:dsulkar
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13 Comments
 
LVL 6

Author Comment

by:dsulkar
ID: 16873881
By the way this is a seagate external usb2 drive
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Expert Comment

by:Booda2us
ID: 16874499
Need to have info on file type; ie, NTFS or FAT32? what OS do you use on your computer? WIN XP PRO? If you use WIN XP PRO and NTFS then  encrypt the files on your drive. However, when you are playing the files, and have given the password to access them.....then they are accessible. Always make sure that music files are being played straight from your drive, and not imaged to another drive 1st. You need to set properties of all files to "Read-Only", take checks off of "Archive".  Stay close to the computer while you have you're drive plugged in....Hope this is of help...Booda2us
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Expert Comment

by:smiffy13
ID: 16875143
The trouble is, dsulkar, if you allow people to play the music then they can read your music files, if they can read them then they can copy them. This is the same problem that the music industry have: they wan't people to go out and buy cd's rather downloading copied mp3 file's from the internet. CD producers haven't been able to solve this problem.

You could consider setting up your collection into different folders, and encrypt each folder with a different encryption key. Then when you want to allow people to play your music, unencrypt only the folders they need, this would mean that they could only copy/use just those folders and not the encrypted folders. For this to work you'd need an encryption utility: http://www.gold-software.com/download3821.html for example.
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Expert Comment

by:Jbirk1
ID: 16875758
Another idea is to format teh drive NTFS and use the EFS (Encrypted File System)

It is kind of a pain in the butt and based on certificates.  It only really is easy to use on an Active Directory network.

Still, it is do able.  A great utility is called True Crypt.

Basically, you would format your volume NTFS for large file support.  Next, you would put the True Crypt utility on the volume and create a true crypt volume, which is an encrypted file.

From any computer, you would then be able to mount the True Crypt volume as a virtual partition.  I.e. it is a mountable drive.

Just make very good and sure you properly close the true crypt volume and do safe removal of the external drive.  I don't even want to know what happens when you have an encrypted volume and improperly just disconnect it from the computer.  My guess is dataloss of possibly the entire volume.

Justin
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by:Jbirk1
ID: 16875760
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by:nobus
ID: 16876257
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by:mysticaldan
ID: 16876993
This is how it really works.

a. If you take the disk along with you but are not the only one using it and allow other people to play songs of it then you cannot prevent people from copying the music.

b. If you take the music along with you and are always near the system all the time then you can always tell them that you do not want them to copy your music.

c. Lastly if you intend to use the music on the disk, might not be near the system all the time and are willing to take the chance that some of the music could be copied off then I would suggest using a disk encryption utility to encrypt the hard disk and leave one folder unencrypted where you can copy the songs for that particular session. The maximum problem that you can have is of those songs getting copied and not all of them. You can use drivecrypt for this http://www.securstar.com/ which is quite good.

However let me warm you that any of these utilities should they crash carry the risk of crashing all your drive data. They are improving by the day but i have seen this happen time and again so be prepared with a backup or something just in case.

Dan
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Expert Comment

by:gonzal13
ID: 16878058
I would put all your folders on the external drive under one master folder and then use the following:
http://www.fspro.net/

Hide Folders™ XP is a great security utility enabling you to hide and lock your private folder(s) on your hard drive once and for good! Extremely easy to use. A couple of mouse clicks allows you to manage, hide and unhide your private folders and files inside. The program offers a unique set of advanced options. This program is for Windows 2000 and XP.

  Sincerely

gonzal13(joe)
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Author Comment

by:dsulkar
ID: 16885986
Thanks so far for everyones input. With external drives on the rise I assumed this would be easier. It would not be possible for me to create folder level security since this volume is huge and 1000's of folders. I use XP pro, but when I take this over to someone elses house they could be using 2000 or something else. Is there a way that I could encrypt the whole drive and just let my Karaoke software have access to it. I guess I could always create my own software to play the music and graphics and have the password encrypted. Please let me know if there are any other ideas.
Thanks
Div
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Accepted Solution

by:
mysticaldan earned 500 total points
ID: 16914049
Yes if you can create your own software then its fine. You can get a lot of open source software under the GNU which you can modify for that purpose. Essentially you would look to encrypt the whole songs into say 3-4 or maybe more seperate encrypted files which your program would access files based on the password you supply to it for a particular session. However the password you assign for the files would be static. I am still not sure how you would enable users to access only part of the songs!! How would the program be able to differentiate between whats to be read and whats not to be read. Also if it can be read then it can be copied. If you give the key to the lock once there is no way you can control who gets in and does what. Maybe they wont be able to damage any files but then i dont think you can prevent them from copying them either.

A properitary software could have a feature where you can selevt the files that you intend to send to the mp3 player but thent that would also have to be inbuilt into the program itself so that files are played from the encrypted hard disk and there is no intermediate pat. Its like this

Encrypted Files > Decrypting Program > Played by the program itself.

So there is no way any temporary files are created and since the user cannot see the encrypted files so he cannot copy them. This would ensure that even the whole hard disk is useless to someone even if you leave it someplace unless they know the password.

Hope this helps. I know it might sound a bit complicated.

Dan
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Expert Comment

by:Booda2us
ID: 17069514
I'm interested...
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Author Comment

by:dsulkar
ID: 17077079
Sorry for the delay guys,
I ended up modifying the code to open and decrypt the file with an internal password and then play it. Since the files are only about 5 mb each it is almost instantanious.
I didn't think this would be that hard. Thanks for all the suggestions.
Div
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