Lock/Unlock switch on a hard drive?
May 6, 2012 12:16 AM   Subscribe

Lock/Unlock switch on a hard drive?

I have a PQI external portable hard drive H551. I'm very curious about the switch-like thing that has a lock/unlock sign. What does this switch do?
posted by sanskrtam to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
My guess is that it locks the read-write head in place, to prevent a head crash (which is about as fun as it sounds), when in transit.
posted by kxr at 1:19 AM on May 6, 2012

All modern hard drives automatically park the heads when they spin down, so I doubt it's that. My guess is that it's a write-protect switch, which lets you plug the device into a compromised machine without worrying about what might happen. You tend to only see that with USB flash drives, but I suppose it's conceivable to implement with a hard drive too.
posted by Rhomboid at 1:39 AM on May 6, 2012

So is it a good idea "to lock" the hard drive?
posted by sanskrtam at 3:32 AM on May 6, 2012

Typically this would enable read-only mode.
posted by odinsdream at 6:04 AM on May 6, 2012

While I'm not specifically familiar with that model, this is most likely a locking mechanism for the case - you could unlock the case to open it and remove the actual hard drive inside.
posted by I EAT TAPAS at 8:28 AM on May 6, 2012

Wait, is it a switch or a slot? It may also be a Kensington Security Slot.
posted by I EAT TAPAS at 8:34 AM on May 6, 2012

Can you take a picture of it? None of the images/pages I can find show a lock switch and this doesn't seem to be sold at normal stores.
posted by rhizome at 10:00 AM on May 6, 2012

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