Recently I purchased a 2GB SanDisk U3 Flash Drive. It was on sale and I honestly have never owned a USB flash drive. I’ve always used either a network connection or CD-Rs to transport data. With the prices dropping on flash drives so dramatically, I though it might as well be time to purchase one. However when I plugged it into my computer I was surprised to find this wasn’t an ordinary flash drive.

The USB controller showed two drives when you plugged the stick in, one being a CD-Rom drive. It had an autorun that would install proprietary software for running mini-applications straight from the flash drive as well as encrypting the data on it. It seems like a neat idea in concept, except that I didn’t purchase a crappy application on a stick. I purchased a flash drive. It showed this useless CD-rom drive in MacOS and Linux, and in windows it required the user to be logged in as administrator in order to even gain access to the flash drive, making it completely useless on public PCs such as in libraries.

After doing some research I found a forum topic which discussed the issue at length. After several complaints, U3 publicly released a U3 removal tool to flash the firmware on these devices so that they are once again, simple and easy to use plain old flash drives.