Custom USB Stick
We want to give 2GB USB Sticks to a group of students for a project they are involved in. The HoD wants the sticks partitioned into a 500MB read-only partition where a lot of Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, pdfs and mpegs relating to the course will be kept for the students to refer to, and the rest as a partition where they can keep their own work files as they progress.
I've done some experimentation, but how can I create the read-only 500MB partition as permanent and untouchable by disk management / partitioning tools?
The short answer is "you can't modify a conventional usb flash drive to do that in a non-reversable way that doesn't involve a soldering iron". It's read-write media.
Originally Posted by tech_guy
The long answer is you might be able to buy a custom usb drive that has a main storage area and another one containing read-only data of your choosing, but it'll be pricey unless you're doing large (hundreds) batches. Look at promotional firms that offer autolaunching usb buttons and flash drives with cd-rom functionality. Googling custom usb read-only brings up a bunch of suggestions.
As far as I'm aware you can't actually partition a memory stick. I remember trying years ago with Partition Magic and it didn't work. I suppose the only way (in theory) would be to make the memory stick appear as a hard disk.
This depends on the NAND controller in the stick.
Originally Posted by Michael
Some useful info here. Although usb controller vendor specific.
Depends on how much it matters if they can bypass the "read/only" state; if you're just wanting to stop people accidentally messing up the settings then it's not too hard.
If you format the drive as NTFS then you could put a folder which is read/only for users. This isn't a total fix - if they take it home and know what they're doing it would be easy to take ownership of the folder and reset the permissions.
I like @sysman_mk's idea of making a CDFS partition; that would really make it r/o but it wouldn't stop people from just wiping and remaking the partition if they wanted to mess things up.
The other possibility would be to put a Linux ext3 partition on the drive; Windows can't read this natively but it's easy to install a read/only FS driver (but the determined users will find a way to install a r/w driver as well ...)
@michael - gparted will easily partition USB sticks