People who work in the office with many people around, or take their laptop along for working remotely would know that leaving your computer on while you’re not using it can bring a lot of risks of data snooping and unauthorized use. Whether you leave your desk to grab a cup of coffee or run to the bathroom, there are always chances of someone using your computer, plugging in a USB device and stealing your private information without you even knowing. This is where apps like Removable Access Tool come to the rescue. It can prove to be very useful when locking the entire computer isn’t a choice and you have someone to temporarily use it for accessing social media or checking email. The application is designed to restrict read and write access of any USB thumb drive plugged to the computer. It’s fairly easy to use and sports a very lightweight design, weighing in at just a few kilobytes.
The UI of the app is very minimalistic and offers all the features it has on board in its single, minuscule window. It basically allows you to temporarily disable USB flash drive access either by restricting write permission or entirely disabling the disk detection. Here’s how it works.
When you launch the app, you’re presented with three different toggles. The first toggle (Allow Read & Write) is the default parameter and provides normal access to USB devices. The second option (Allow Read Only) limits users from writing on the USB device, while still letting them access any information stored on it. To switch to this mode, you just need to select it and then hit Apply Changes.
The third option we have on the menu is Disable USB Disks Detection, which is pretty much self-explanatory as well. This option stops your computer from recognizing any USB drives. The USB icon on the left changes dynamically according to the option you have chosen. For instance, it turns green when the default option is in use. Likewise, Read Only mode is represented by a yellow icon, and Disable USB Disks Detection mode gets a red one.
Remove Access Tool also allows displaying hidden files on a USB by clicking the pertaining option under the Tools menu, in addition to letting you disable USB autorun, and opening the Safely Remove Hardware console.
If you’re thinking that anyone can simply re-enable the read/write access by opening this program, worry not! The application allows you to lock down the specified configuration with a password. To specify a new password or change your existing one, simply click Options > Change Password and enter your desired key.
Removable Access Tool is a free, portable application and works like a charm on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.