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Physical Security Thread, Make USB flas drive Read Only in Technical; Hi guys, I have a unique situation that I could use some help with. I want to be able to ...
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    Make USB flas drive Read Only

    Hi guys, I have a unique situation that I could use some help with. I want to be able to save files and folders on a USB flash drive that can not be erased. The tricky part is, this is to be read by several different models of sewing machines for embroidery use. Some sewing machines have to write something, i don't know what, to the flash drive in order to format the drive to work with the machine. The only solution I have heard of that may work is to partition the drive and then flip the removable bit to secure the files on one partition. None of which I know how to do. I can purchase a flash drive and have my data pre-loaded and then locked from several online USB sellers, but none can guarantee it will work, and the start up costs are something I can not afford to gamble with, and none of the companies I have contacted are willing to sell me a prototype. Help Please!

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    Michael's Avatar
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    Realistically you cannot partition a USB memory stick. It wasn't designed for this.

    If you plug the memory stick in, let it format the drive, copy the files you need on to it, then move the jumper to 'read only mode' this should do the trick.

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    Would a USB flash drive with a write protect switch work? e.g. Kanguru 8GB FlashBlu II

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    Quote Originally Posted by jenslost View Post
    The tricky part is, this is to be read by several different models of sewing machines for embroidery use. Some sewing machines have to write something, i don't know what, to the flash drive in order to format the drive to work with the machine.
    Reading that part of your description, I don't think you're ever going to get this to work - you can't make it read only and allow the machine to write to it

    Are you sure you're not overcomplicating this? I mean, why do they need to be read only? Surely, so long as you keep a backup image of the stick in it's "ready-to-go" state, then should any files be erased or edited you can simply restore the stick from the image?

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    No, sorry, when I tried that is when I realized that some of the machines were "writing" something to the stick. I never could tell what, no new files (that I could see) were showing up. I had to unlock the stick, insert into machine, remove the stick, then lock it. After that it was fine, but I was hoping to find a more reliable solution if I have to do several hundred of these at a time.

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    My customers are older ladies that enjoy sewing. Right now the only way for them to get new designs on their machines are to buy a CD and transfer to a blank USB. Sounds simple right? not for a 70 year old lady that has never touched a computer unfortunately. I am trying to find them a simple solution.

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    I have been able to partition the flash drive, but only one part of the partition will show up. this is where flipping the removable bit part comes in, but i have not had success.

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    the reason for them needing to be read only, is because my customers accidentally erase their files all the time, then they bring me their cd's and sticks and i have to load the designs they want back onto their sticks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jenslost View Post
    I had to unlock the stick, insert into machine, remove the stick, then lock it. After that it was fine, but I was hoping to find a more reliable solution if I have to do several hundred of these at a time.
    You could create an image of one of the flash drives that has already been inserted into a sewing machine using RMPrepUSB or ImageUSB and then write that image back onto the others?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur View Post
    You could create an image of one of the flash drives that has already been inserted into a sewing machine using RMPrepUSB or ImageUSB and then write that image back onto the others?
    that is something i have not tried. forgive me, as i am a newbie, but, will this will capture what ever is being done when the stick is unlocked?

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    The issue could be that the sewing machine is writing and then deleting a temporary file - if that is the case read only would not work, unless you could prevent the deletion of the file and include it on the image. However if the file is dynamic that won't work either. This is probably the reason the sewing machine needs a read write medium and doesn't just accept a CD.

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    Quote Originally Posted by clareq View Post
    The issue could be that the sewing machine is writing and then deleting a temporary file - if that is the case read only would not work, unless you could prevent the deletion of the file and include it on the image. However if the file is dynamic that won't work either. This is probably the reason the sewing machine needs a read write medium and doesn't just accept a CD.
    this might shed some light..... the sewing machine will accept ax external CD-Rom drive plugged into its USB port and read designs from the CD...

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    Quote Originally Posted by jenslost View Post
    No, sorry, when I tried that is when I realized that some of the machines were "writing" something to the stick. I never could tell what, no new files (that I could see) were showing up. I had to unlock the stick, insert into machine, remove the stick, then lock it. After that it was fine, but I was hoping to find a more reliable solution if I have to do several hundred of these at a time.
    It sounds to me like your solution may be a software one - have you done any programming?

    I'd say the best (easiest) thing to do would be to perform the necessary actions to make one stick work, create an image of the working stick, then create a simple GUI that flashes the image back to the stick - you could put that on a CD. Then if one your customers accidentally deletes their files, they just pop the CD in their PC, load up the CD and have the software restore their stick for them.

    It sounds like whatever the machine is doing to the sticks when you first insert them is necessary for it to be able to read the files contained; obviously I can't try this first hand but my guess would be there's no way around that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LosOjos View Post
    It sounds to me like your solution may be a software one - have you done any programming?

    I'd say the best (easiest) thing to do would be to perform the necessary actions to make one stick work, create an image of the working stick, then create a simple GUI that flashes the image back to the stick - you could put that on a CD. Then if one your customers accidentally deletes their files, they just pop the CD in their PC, load up the CD and have the software restore their stick for them.

    It sounds like whatever the machine is doing to the sticks when you first insert them is necessary for it to be able to read the files contained; obviously I can't try this first hand but my guess would be there's no way around that.
    no, sorry, no programming knowledge. the problem lies with my customers that are using these sticks, some don't have computers. but they can unfortunately easily delete from the sewing machine. thanks though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jenslost View Post
    this might shed some light..... the sewing machine will accept ax external CD-Rom drive plugged into its USB port and read designs from the CD...
    Without writing to the CD? But when you use a pen drive with the same files it won't work unless it's writable? Strange.

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