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add write-protect to external USB hard drive

Posted on 2010-09-23
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
here is my situation.

I made a bootable USB 500 hdd (hdd and case were bought separately) with lots tools in it. such as bartpe, reset pwd tools and so on.
I use it to boot up workstations or laptop  and perform troubleshoot/maintenance  works, but once a while, it gets corrupted or accidentally written by workstation during boot up or infected by virus, which cause me big time to re-create the tools and copy data over to external hdd again.

so I'm looking for a solution that can enable write-protect on regular external hdd.

note: setting up permissions on hdd does not seem to work since write operation seems happen accidentally during boot up.

many thanks
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Question by:Ikelca
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LVL 25

Expert Comment

by:kode99
ID: 33749803
There are inline USB units to prevent writing to a drive.  Used for forensics and not all that cheap.  Here's a couple units,

http://www.wiebetech.com/products/USB-WriteBlocker.php

http://www.digitalintelligence.com/products/usb_write_blocker/

Weibetech's forensic drive docks also can be set to read only for connection directly to a drive.

Here's a program that you might find useful,  whole let less cost than a hardware unit - though not as functional.

http://www.irongeek.com/i.php?page=security/thumbscrew-software-usb-write-blocker
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LVL 30

Expert Comment

by:Dr. Klahn
ID: 33749904
Some IDE hard drives do have write enable jumpers, though I have not seen them on recently made drives and never on a 2.5" or SATA drive.  
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Author Comment

by:Ikelca
ID: 33750707
thanks for the info kode99
i dont mind spend a little extra $ to find a way, but problem with the writeblocker unit is they are not handy enough yet expensive.

ideally, i prefer an enclosure that has a switch to disable/enable write operation on HDD.
in addition, i dont think any s/w based solution could work here, because they are windows based s/w and it will be non-functioning under ghost 32 or ghost dos version.
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LVL 25

Accepted Solution

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kode99 earned 2000 total points
ID: 33756704
Here's a enclosure which is pretty much what you are looking for,

http://www.ioi.com.tw/products/proddetail.aspx?AppID=1000&CatID=103&HostID=2004&ProdID=1030110

Here's a listing for $350,  might want to shop it around but I doubt you will find it through any consumer channels.

http://www.forensicstore.com/forensic-hardware/analysis-station.html

Most of forensic hardware outfits do external drive docks which work when you are working with different hard drives all the time.  You could kludge up an enclosure with one.  

http://www.wiebetech.com/products/Forensic_UltraDock.php

http://www.tableau.com/index.php?pageid=products&category=forensic_bridges

These are faster than the inline USB devices.
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