What replaces write protect switch on USB flash drive?

physical write protect switch, USB

A “write protect switch” for a USB drive is meant to turn on and off the ability to write data to the drive. When the USB is locked (read-only) content cannot be added, changed, altered, manipulated, formatted or deleted off the drive. What is the point of a physical write protect switch if anyone can turn the write protection on or off? Doesn’t add up…

Yes, a write protect switch keeps the honest people honest, however the USB write protect switch doesn’t apply in all situations.

So what replaces a write protect switch for a USB flash drive?

How about programmable firmware for turning ON and OFF the USB write protection?

Better yet, how about a required password before turning ON and OFF the USB write protection?

We can relax because the Lock License USB flash drive addresses both these issues of
#1) Replacing the USB write protect switch with a more secure method
Provides the feature of assigning a password to turn on and off the USB write protection.

The Lock License drive is a hardware based ( at the chip level ) write protection solution and through a specific vendor software command the write protection can be removed to make the USB stick writable. The function to write protect the media can be done through a provided GUI software application, can use a command line to change the write protect status, or use the command line to build your own custom method for how the USB write protection can work.

The write protection is configured on the USB controller of the flash drive. This means the write protection is done at the device level and will follow the USB stick. The result is a Lock License drive which is truly read-only when connected to anything… such as a Windows computer, Mac computer, Linux box, Smart TV, car stereo, anything!

The Lock License drive comes with a software method to unlock the drive and make it writable. This special software requires a password to be assigned for the unlocking. The password is required because the manufacturer, Nexcopy, didn’t want a universal way to unlock the drive.

Kanguru manufactures a USB flash drive with a physical write protect switch. The write protection itself is as secure as the Lock License solution, the difference is a Lock License drive adds one additional layer of security. The additional layer of security, the password requirement to make the stick ‘writable’ is an important step for ensuring the device is as secure as possible. To be clear, the Lock License drive is always readable. This product seems a great solution for those who want a USB write protected without the ability for users to turn the write protection off with a flip of a switch.

Another interesting fact about the Lock License drive is the default state of the USB stick being read-only, or write protected. This means it is impossible for a user to accidently leave the Lock License drive unlocked.

The “locking” or write protection is done when power is cut from the device. Even if a user forgets to lock the drive, the locking happens automatically when the USB is disconnected from the computer. This is a major issue with those using a USB write protect switch; if a user forgets to set the write protect switch, well not much security at that point.

It is worth noting there is no universal way to write protect any flash drive, this is why you cannot buy some software solution to do the feature. Write protection is a hardware based solution, not software.

From our on-line research, the Lock License drive is manufactured by Nexcopy Inc who is based out of Southern California. The product is available in USB 2.0 for the smaller 2GB and 4GB and any GB capacity higher (8GB and above) is USB 3.0 technology. The maximum size as of this posting is 256GB media.

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Mark McCrosky

Kicking around in technology since 2002. I like to write about technology products and ideas, but at the consumer level understanding. Some tech, but not too techie.

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