Computer data storage devices such as hard drives, CD-R drives and USB keys are designed to allow data to be written to them and read from them. Some media, such as regular CDs and DVDs, are write-protected, which means that they do not permit data to be written to them. If you want to prevent data from being written to a drive, you can change the drive's jumper settings. Jumpers are tiny plastic plugs that you place over pins on the outside of a hard drive to change the drive's configuration. Doing so is particularly easy when you want to write-protect an external hard drive because you do not need to open the computer chassis itself. You only need to open the external hard drive's case to change the drive's jumpers.
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Things you need
- Jumper Tool or Tweezers
Turn off the computer to which the external hard drive is attached. Turn off power to the external hard drive if it has its own power source.
Open the external hard drive case, disconnect the hard drive from the data cable and remove the drive from the case according to the manufacturer's directions. You may need to use a screwdriver to open the case.
Locate the external hard drive's jumpers. Jumpers typically are located next to or near the cable connector port. Set the jumpers to write-protect mode by using a jumper tool or tweezers to remove the jumper from its current pins and placing the jumper on the pins designated for write-protect mode by the drive's manufacturer.
Place the drive back in the external case, reconnect it to the data cable and close the case according to the manufacturer's directions.
Turn on power to the external drive if needed, and then turn on the computer to which the drive is attached. The external hard drive is now write-protected.
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