Write Protecting a USB Flash Drive

June 11, 2011, By Christian Cawley

The techy among us are regularly called up on to repair other people’s PCs, and often find ourselves sighing in amazement at the latest virus/malware infection that has somehow found its way around the anti-virus and firewalls previously installed (“I turned them off – that’s OK, isn’t it?”) as a means to make visits less frequent.

Often these situations aren’t too bad and can be resolved by installing a copy of software such as MalwareBytes’ Anti-Malware. That is, if you can get the computer back online. If you can’t, then copying the software onto your USB flash drive and then onto the infected computer is the other best options.

However, we don’t want the virus infection to spread, do we?

While some standard flash memory cards feature a lock function (a small sliding switch) USB flash sticks don’t, which is why software such as USB Write Protect comes in really handy in situations like this.

Write Protecting a USB Flash Drive

Protect Your USB Stick with USB Write Protect

This very useful utility basically makes your USB device write-protected, as you might have guessed from the name. What this means is that when in write-protect mode, the USB flash stick cannot have data added or copied to it.

If you’re attempting to fix a friend’s malware-infested PC or laptop, you don’t want to risk spreading the virus, worm or whatever back to your PC, which is why making your USB flash device write-protected is such a good idea.

Viruses, worms and other malicious threats are often programmed to automatically find their way onto attached network drives and any storage devices connected to a PC. You shouldn’t be surprised to find that if you copied some anti-malware software to the USB flash device and then copied this onto the infected PC, the malware can easily copy itself to the USB flash drive, which when connected to your computer will allow the infection to propagate.

Using USB Write Protect

In order to use this very useful utility, head over to Softpedia and download it to your own PC. With your USB flash drive disconnected, unzip the usbwp.zip file and then right-click USBWriteProtect and select Run as administrator.

With the software running, insert your USB flash device. The software will detect the device and display a red-cross icon to indicate that there is no protection – your USB flash device is not write-protected.

Using the Enable Write Protect option, click Apply to lock the device; now it can only be read, which will prevent any malware from copying itself to the device while allowing you to still copy data from the disk. Using the Disable Write Protect option you can use your flash drive as usual.

As you can see, this is a great utility that can save you from plenty of headaches in the future!

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