I have an external hard drive and I partitioned it in 3 partitions. I want do something on one of these partitions, so nobody can format it (its data is important to me).
What should I do?
I use trueCrypt for this partition and encrypted all of the capacity but It still can be formatted.

  • 4
    Even if you could prevent formatting, there are numerous other ways to delete the data. Such as repartitioning, overwriting, demagnetizing, physically destroying. – Travis Aug 19 '09 at 16:37
  • I mean all of them, just tell formating for first step but at last I need a way that save mt partition from all of you said – Am1rr3zA Aug 19 '09 at 17:32

I think what you are asking is impossible to achieve. If a user has admin access to the drive they will always be able to format it. The only way to achieve this is to not allow anyone else physical access to the drive. If someone plugs your drive into their machine they can do whatever they like.

  • It's a external Hard Drive and every one can have physical access to it, there is no program that lock Drive for formating? – Am1rr3zA Aug 19 '09 at 9:55
  • No, there is not. It's more of a "physical" process, no program can stop that. – Gnoupi Aug 19 '09 at 10:02
  • Unless there is some sort of security built into the external drive hardware there's nothing you can do. – Col Aug 19 '09 at 10:50
  • I'd like to protect the HDD against formatting like OP, but not as a security feature but mostly to protect against my own inattention. I recently accidentally did a 'quick format' on my data HDD using the Windows partition manager when I meant to format my USB stick, so I'm wondering if there's a way to at least make it so it requires extra effort to reformat. (i.e. formatting would fail without first undoing the 'lock') I'm aware of how storage works and how unlikely this is to exist, but on the off chance... – Nicolas Martel Jan 15 at 17:52
  1. Make a backup
  2. Format the whole drive in one big partition put some random files, a couple of pics and a pdf etc
  3. Create a large truecrypt file called "Grizly's Encrypted Medical Files"

That way, people won't confuse it for an empty drive, they can see its got something critical on it, assuming they can read, and they are not automatically prompted to format should they shove it in their mommies puter.

Of course, if they can do that, then they can just delete any truecrypt file too.. the only actual way, is LowTek.. lock and key, lasers and dogs.. steel and concrete.. like a buried safe, with monitored alarm system and seismic detectors.. or in a bank vault.. surrounded by storm-troopers.. you get the idea.

  • it's a nice answer Tanx. – Am1rr3zA Feb 21 '10 at 11:55

I don't think you can force that. On the old floppies, yes, but on an actual hard drive, if someone wants to format, they will.


The only way to prevent others from formatting it and using it as a new disk would be by using a strong sledgehammer and some brute force. Unfortunately, that would also destroy all data that's on it. I once had a problem with a NAS hard disk, which didn't work anymore. So I removed the disk from the container and connected it with a special cable to my computer, formatted the disk and then put it back in the NAS container. That worked just fine.

Technically, there's no way that you can stop someone else from formatting this disk if they want to. However, there might be a simple solution: Get a big sticker and write this on it with a RED marker: "Please, do NOT format this disk! It contains important information that need to be preserved."

Oh, and make a backup since some people just can't read...


I encrypted two partitions with TrueCrypt and to prevent formatting I hid the partitions. Here is a good example on how you can do that.

  1. Go to Start > run > type "diskpart". A DOS window will appear with following discription.

  2. Then type "list volume" The result will look like :

    Volume ### Ltr Label Fs Type Size Status Info
    --------------- --- -------- ---- ------ ---- ------ ----
    Volume 0 F CD-ROM
    Volume 1 C Window_XP NTFS Partition 7000MB Healthy System
    Volume 2 D Softwares NTFS Partition 8000MB Healthy
    Volume 3 E Songs NTFS Partition 8000MB Healthy
  3. Suppose u wanna hide drive E then type "select volume 3". Then a message will appear in same winwods { Volume 3 is the selectedvolume}

  4. Now type "remove letter E". Now a message will come { DiskpartRemoved the Drive letter } sometime it requires the reboot the computer. Diskpart will remove theletter. Windows XP is not having capabilty to identify the unkownvolume.Your Data is safe now from all unauthorised users. To access thecontent of hidden Drive repeat the process mentioned above. But in4th step replace " remove" to "assign" i mean type "assign letter E"


You can hide a partition, if that's what you mean, using some partition software (eg Gparted). You won't be able to write to it in normal use, but if you need to access the store of data on occasion, you can unhide and rehide it as and when required.


Extreme answer for data protection for IDE drives: cut the write enable line. I don't believe this is possible for SATA though.

However, it sounds like you're going to be handing this drive to people you don't trust not to ruin it. Hardly anyone formats a drive by accident. If you don't trust them, and you need the data, you have to keep your own backups of it.

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