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How to prevent a USB drive from being formatted

hiephop
hiephop asked
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
I want to hand out some usb drive with our company info on it but don't want users to just format the drive and erase the data. Is there a way to prevent users from formatting the drive? It would be ideal if I can create two partitions, one cannot be formatted and the other one, they can do whatever they want to it.

Thanks!
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I don't think there's a way to prevent this completely. Most USB/Flash drives come with a hardware lock switch on them prevent them from being formatted or data deleted (similar to how they had that lock on the old floppy disks) - but any user can simply flip this switch back to unlock and can do anything with the data on there.

Commented:
2nd the hardware lock.

There are also some utilities that offer some level of protection:
http://www.shivaranjan.com/2008/09/14/write-protect-read-only-your-usb-drive-with-usb-write-protector/

I am not sure if this will prevent against a format.,
Here's some other options for you as well:

1. Buy an enclosure that helps prevent the user from getting to the USB drive write-protect switch.

Con to this solution: they can still break open the enclosure and flip the switch.

2. Super glue the switch in the write-protect mode.

Cons to this solution: You may damage your USB drive if done improperly. Glue seal may still be broken by someone who is really eager to get to your data. Lastly, you may not be able to break the seal (because you glued it good) and it will be write-protected forever.

3. How to Disable Write Access to USB Hard Disk and Flash Key Drives (registry hack)
http://www.mydigitallife.info/2008/06/26/how-to-disable-write-access-to-usb-hard-disk-and-flash-key-drives/

Con to this solution: You have to apply this setting to all computers the user with the USB drive can get to - if they take it home, you're back at square one.

Commented:
+1 Super glue the switch in the write-protect mode.
Great Idea Element910
Thanks :)
Commented:
This one is on us!
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Commented:
Rhapsody - Thanks for your suggestion. This is more of a marketing tool and we want to give the users something to use as well as promote our company. The mini discs won't work for our situation.

There has to be a way to do it since manufacturer are doing it. Doesn't Sandisk and Lexar have a small partition on their usb stick where you cannot format it easily?

Author

Commented:
I couldn't find a solution for my question so I'm giving the points to rhapsody since his answer was the best.
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