Question from Tim: I have three semesters worth of very important notes stored on a USB flash drive.
My friend wants to borrow that drive so he can use the notes to study for a certification exam.
I can’t afford to lose those files for any reason because they cannot be re-created or replaced.
Is there some way to prevent my friend from accidentally deleting the files from the drive?
Unfortunately this particular flash drive doesn’t have a “write protect” switch. Any help you can provide will be greatly appreciated.
Rick’s answer: There are several ways to enable write protection on a USB flash drive, Tim.
But unfortunately none of them are easy to enact and none of them are 100% fool-proof.
In my humble opinion there’s a much simpler (and vastly more reliable way) to protect the critical files on your flash drive: Copy them onto a second USB flash drive and loan (or simply give) him the copy!
There’s an old saying that goes “The only data that’s truly safe from accidental loss is the data that’s backed up.”
I would take that one step further and say “The only data that’s truly safe from accidental loss is the data that’s backed up with several redundant backups.”
What I’m getting at is this…
The information stored on your flash drive is obviously extremely important to you, therefore I strongly recommend that you give your friend a BACKUP drive containing that information.
Trust me, that’s a lot safer than allowing him to take possession of the only copy you have.
And luckily, USB flash drives are dirt cheap (#ad) these days.
While you’re creating that backup, it would also be a good idea to create a second backup drive and store that one in a fireproof lock box just in case.
It all boils down to this: If your friend loses the drive itself you’ll lose all access to the files contained on it whether the drive is write protected or not.
And if you happen to lose your backup drive as well, your precious irreplaceable files will be lost forever.
That, in a nutshell, is why it’s so important to always protect critical files that cannot be replaced or recreated with multiple backups.
I hope this helps, Tim. Good luck!
Update from Tim: That makes lots of sense. Thanks for the info.
Bonus tip: While we’re on the topic of backups, do you have a current backup of your computer’s hard drive or SSD?
If not, you can easily create one. Simply follow the steps listed in these posts if you have a Windows PC. If you have a Mac, click here instead.