A novel oxidation approach utilizing a robust photolabile carbonyl protecting group reagent (1) as the oxidizing reagent has been developed. Different from existing methods, this approach oxidizes primary alcohols to the photosensitive acetals (e.g., 3), providing another unique approach to the protected aldehydes. Thus, for the first time, oxidation and protection are achieved in one reaction. Secondary alcohols are oxidized to the corresponding ketones. Moreover, the photolabile protecting group (PPG) also oxidizes ethers and esters. The oxidation is presumably via hydride abstraction by the tritylium ion generated from 1 under acidic conditions. However, the mechanisms for primary alcohols and secondary alcohols are slightly different. © 2011 American Chemical Society.