Print 19 comment(s) - last by swim2383.. on May 28 at 11:40 PM

USB flash drives to get upgraded by Microsoft and SanDisk

In an effort to replace existing U3 Smart Technology, Microsoft is developing new software and SanDisk is creating a new hardware solution to place application programs on USB flash drives and flash memory cards with TrustedFlash security technology. SanDisk will incorporate the combined software and hardware solution on removable flash memory cards and Cruzer USB flash drives.

A U3 smart drive can be plugged into any Windows-based computer's USB port to securely access personalized e-mail programs, Web browsers, productivity tools, multimedia applications and more. When users unplug their U3 smart drive, they take their personal information with them. Microsoft and SanDisk stressed that developers will be offered a migration path to modify existing U3 applications to run on the new offering.

The new technology from the two companies will be designed to offer a similar feature set on Windows XP and Windows Vista, but with greater security features and encryption enabled by TrustedFlash technology.

The new offering is expected to be commercially available starting in the second half of 2008.

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By KorruptioN on 5/14/2007 1:37:44 PM , Rating: 3
I dislike U3. I completely remove it from any U3-enabled USB drive that I run into. Does anybody actually find it useful?

RE: Bloatware
By theaerokid on 5/14/2007 1:57:59 PM , Rating: 2
I'd love to remove that stuff and don't know how. I tried reformatting and did not work. How'd you do it?

RE: Bloatware
By sdsdv10 on 5/14/2007 2:06:56 PM , Rating: 2
Have you seen this link? They describe how to do the process.

(Found with a quick Google search "remove U3")

RE: Bloatware
By bdewong on 5/14/2007 2:07:28 PM , Rating: 3
I just ran into this problem the other day.

That's the official site and uninstaller.

RE: Bloatware
By nitrous9200 on 5/14/2007 7:56:49 PM , Rating: 2
That page actually tries to turn you away, the direct page is

RE: Bloatware
By AstroCreep on 5/14/2007 5:30:13 PM , Rating: 2
I like it. It's kinda nice to be able to have a flash drive with a few key thin-apps that all techs should have - PuTTY, FileZilla, Firefox, Avast!, etc.
Aside from the 'lifesaver' tech-functionality, I can understand a user having access to say...Firefox or Trillian on a flash drive, especially if they are using the apps in an environment where they want to keep their anonymity, like at school or the library.

And it's not very 'bloated'; I have it plugged in as I write this and 'launchpad.exe' is only taking up about 15MB which isn't that bad. It's not like it needs to run in the background all the time, and it's not like it installs anything to your Program Files directory, so I don't think I'd classify it as 'Bloatware'.

What I will say I do not like about it is that it creates a folder in c:\Documents and Settings\[user]\Application Data, so that I would like to see be deleted when the drive is ejected, but aside from that, I think it's nice.

How hard is it to just format the drive, anyway? Does it not let you do that or something? I do know that SanDisk has a removal tool available to download as well (from, but I've never tried it. That I could see myself having problems with too.

Niche market?
By sdsdv10 on 5/14/2007 2:04:23 PM , Rating: 4
Is this area any more than a niche market? With the ready supply of low cost laptop and desktop computers, how much call is there for applicaiton/OS support on a removable flash drive?

RE: Niche market?
By TomZ on 5/14/2007 2:59:21 PM , Rating: 2
I would think that cheap hardware makes things like U3 more attractive if I can bring my data, configuration, and maybe apps along with me from machine-to-machine.

I like this better than U3
By Chriz on 5/14/2007 2:42:59 PM , Rating: 2

Works on most flash drives and it's free.

RE: I like this better than U3
By JeffDM on 5/14/2007 11:44:46 PM , Rating: 2
I think those are probably very good portable programs, but they don't even claim to do any of the data encryption that U3 is claimed to have. The host computer might snoop the data if the system has a hidden compromise. The operating system's drive indexing service might index that data too, and sometimes that's enough of a breach if your file names are decently descriptive.

seems familiar
By rdeegvainl on 5/14/2007 3:42:16 PM , Rating: 2
Would this be like Dongles? through USB?

RE: seems familiar
By noirsoft on 5/14/2007 5:02:50 PM , Rating: 2
Would this be like Dongles? through USB?

No. First off, USB dongles have existed for quite a while and are in heavy use for pro music apps and the like.

The idea behind U3 is that you carry your flash drive around with you, with your apps and files on it. When you plug it into an unfamiliar computer, you get secure access to your email, web bookmarks, and other per-user data without having to create a specific login on that computer. The data is also more secure since it does not exist on the host computer, and cannot be snooped (in theory) by the next person to use the computer.

There are U3-enabled versions of mail readers (Thunderbird) and browsers (firefox) along with games and other apps.

One feature I like, but have never really used is the syncronization software. The idea is that if you have multiple computer (home and office for example) you can use a U3-enabled sync app to sync files between the two computers on insert of the flash drive.

I Dont...
By Xavian on 5/15/2007 8:46:05 AM , Rating: 2
I Don't use a USB flash drive anymore, they are too expensive and too limited in use.

Nowadays I use a Sandisk Extreme III SD Card and one of those cheap and small USB 2.0 SD Card readers. 2GB of space that's cheap, quick and reliable (and you don't have to deal with any 'smart' technology). With more and more things coming with a SD card slot (cameras, phones, game consoles etc), is there really any need for a dedicated USB flash drive?

RE: I Dont...
By SmokeRngs on 5/16/2007 12:42:14 PM , Rating: 2
With more and more things coming with a SD card slot (cameras, phones, game consoles etc), is there really any need for a dedicated USB flash drive?

Most USB thumb drives are generally more convenient, more compact and more durable than using a flash card with a reader. I realize there are smaller readers out there for single flash types but most don't have the above attributes.

I don't own a thumb drive and never have while I have used a USB card reader and a flash card and still do on occasion. My old external reader is very bulky (does more than one type of flash card, though) and somewhat fragile in comparison. This does not stop me from using it, but it does stop me from keeping it on me. A thumb drive is actually small enough to keep in a pocket or something all the time.

I'm not saying your method is wrong; just that it has it's drawbacks as well as advantages.

Size Increase
By Mitch101 on 5/14/2007 1:40:10 PM , Rating: 2
With how fast these portable drives are growing in size it wont be long before you install your Full OS and Full applications on them without having to resort to scaled down versions.

On another note is shows you how bloated some applications are compared to their scaled down cousins.

The problem though with U3 applications is they sometimes cost more than thier full blown counter parts.

RE: Size Increase
By fic2 on 5/14/2007 5:27:18 PM , Rating: 1
I have total faith that MS can bloat faster than the USB drives can grow....

By TheGreek on 5/14/2007 5:00:51 PM , Rating: 2
Great, now my thumb drive is going to need an SP as well.

Mandriva Flash
By AdamWill on 5/24/2007 1:32:18 AM , Rating: 2
Mandriva already provides a much better choice: Mandriva Flash, a full, bootable Mandriva Linux operating system on a 4GB USB flash drive. Since it's a self-contained, bootable OS, it's completely independent of anything on the host computer. It's fully updatable and expandable with the regular Mandriva Linux packaging system, too.

try this...
By swim2383 on 5/28/2007 11:40:41 PM , Rating: 2

they have a bunch of programs already optimized and you can add plenty of others if you spend a few minutes on google. you can also setup truecrypt to secure the drive.

there are other good tutorials etc but i don't currently have those links with me. spend a few minutes on google and you should find useful information.

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