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At one point on the MacBook Air specs page there is this photo. It looks like a USB Flash drive, but is described as the "Software Reinstall Drive"? If so, then maybe it is read-only then?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Yes, it is read only and it is only for the purpose of restoring your system applications. Here is the Apple support document on it.

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wow... does that mean... if the macbook is locked by screen saver, somebody can boot up the machine using that USB drive, and then... still be log in as admin and do things to the macbook or copy files away? (although not likely... I just watch too much movies...) – 太極者無極而生 Oct 26 '10 at 6:23
@Jian Lin: You never know. For example, apparently the address book on some iPhones can be accessed by bypassing the passcoded lock screen. – Dennis Williamson Oct 26 '10 at 6:57
If you're concerned about people starting up from a system CD/USB thingie, set a firmware password, which will prevent them from doing so: Just don't forget it - there's no way to reset it. – Scott Oct 26 '10 at 7:11
Just for reference, the new (Mid 2011) Macbook Air does not ship with the Software Reinstall Drive. – molgar Sep 14 '11 at 7:02

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