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Replace U3 Launchpad With PStart

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Bulldog
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Replace U3 Launchpad With PStart

...yes, I do mean "replace".

The U3 Launchpad is able to start automatically when a U3 USB drive is inserted because the drive's firmware emulates a CD. Apparently, Windows XP doesn't process autorun.inf from a 'regular' USB drive.

I have my reasons for disliking the U3 platform, but that's off topic here. Ideally, I'd like to bypass the U3 Launchpad altogether in favor of PStart...but how do I get PStart to start without first starting the Launchpad?

There may be a way, but I need your help.

When you open the second drive letter created by a U3 USB drive, you see it has the autorun.inf file that starts the Launchpad. What if I were to edit the autorun.inf and have it point to PStart instead?

It's probably not that simple, which is why I need the input of someone more knowledgable than I.

I would experiment with it myself, but I'm afraid of messing up and killing the drive.

So...what do you think?

Bruce Pascoe
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...

Unfortunately, you can't edit autorun.inf, because the CD emulation partition acts just like a real CD-ROM, including that whole "read-only" thing.

There's no way to get anything to run automatically without U3 (otherwise it wouldn't need to have a CD emulation partition, now would it?). Windows is hardcoded not to honor the Open= line of autorun.inf on any removable drives. There's no setting in the OS you can change to get it to do so. The closest you can hope for is putting PStart.exe in the root of your drive, this way you don't have to jump through too many hoops to get at it manually.

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Bulldog
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<Sigh>

Thanks, Bruce. You've been very helpful to me and others in these forums.

I knew it couldn't be that simple.

The only thing about U3 that I like is its ability to auto-start a program on insertion. Even so, in the time it takes for the Launchpad icon to show on my tray I could have started the program on my own. I'm increasingly thinking that the wait is not worth the reward.

Bruce Pascoe
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Well, if it ever comes to that, U3 has an uninstaller available on their site. Note, however, that the process is irreversible: once you do it, you can't get the Launchpad back.

Here's the link:
http://www.u3.com/uninstall

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Ryan McCue
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BTW

the Launchpad module of Libertà autoruns some how...
Has anyone seen Renè?
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John T. Haller
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autorun.inf

Same as Ceedo. Same as the autorun.inf I put up for PStart. Same as the one I'm using for Portable Apps Menu. That'd be my guess. Works after a prompt in WinXP. Autoruns on my Win2K laptop (not sure why since it's not supposed to). But without a faked CDROM partition or having something pre-installed on a computer, autorun.inf is the only way to do it. It's dead easy to setup.

To autorun PStart, just use:

[Autorun]
Open=PStart.exe
Action=Start PStart
Icon=PStart.exe

That's all there is to it.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

Ryan McCue
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Wait...

Aren't you using the Libertà Launchpad as the Portable Apps Menu?
Renè said you were.
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R McCue
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And before anyone complains about the grammar, I'm so jetlagged that my
hands aren't even in the same time zone...

"If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate."

azjerry
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edit on Linux?

Could the contents of the U3 "CDROM" be edited on a Linux system? If it's a matter of just editing/replacing the autorun.inf so that it points to the other drive that might be a workable solution. I don't have working linux available or I might try it myself.

Bruce Pascoe
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I doubt it. That partition is implemented in hardware so that it appears to the OS like a real CD-ROM drive. I can't imagine accessing it from Linux would change that.

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Bulldog
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...which means that U3 is really just a hack. If Vista supports autorun from a USB drive, U3 has no reason for existence.

Bruce Pascoe
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Exactly. The emulated CD-ROM drive is little more than a hack--one designed to get Windows to honor autorun.inf where it otherwise wouldn't. I personally don't like it because it clutters up the namespace with an extra drive letter (and you can only have up to 26 of them). It's better to have one drive letter per device. Imagine plugging in three U3 drives... "Okay, now which CD-ROM drive belongs to which U3 drive?"

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azjerry
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how much of a hack

I guess I'm curious if the hack is just enough to fool Windows or will it fool any system you plug it into?

Bruce Pascoe
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Technically, it's not "fooling" anybody. At least, not on the software level. It's implemented in hardware (as far as I know) to say "this drive is a CD-ROM" long before the operating system ever queries it. It'd be the same thing as plugging in an actual USB CD drive. If U3 couldn't fool any system into believing its CD emulation partition is a CD, then those USB CD drives would have an awfully hard time convincing, say, Linux that they were actually CD drives, now wouldn't they? Smile

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Hazelip
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What about the driver change?

Can you go into Device Manager and change the driver to a CDRW driver?

Bruce Pascoe
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Sure, but that'd be like replacing the driver for a standard CD-ROM drive with a CD-RW driver. It might fool Windows into believing it's a CD burner, but it sure isn't going to fool the read-only media--or the drive, for that matter. If the U3 "CD-ROM" is implemented in hardware to be read-only, spoofing the drivers isn't going to change that.

Come on, use common sense here, people.

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Hazelip
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You're a real charmer

Don't be a dick.

I was thinking more along the lines of using Nero to modify the image. But, you're right. It ultimately won't work.

Bruce Pascoe
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Sorry if I came off as a jerk... I'm just tired of arguing about this. Don't take it personally. I have a good deal of patience, but wear it too thin, and I will go off.

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Hazelip
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You're taking things just a wee bit too seriously here

You're making threats on an internet message board. At what point will it occur to you that you're simply making an ass out of yourself?

Contribute useful information, or don't, but keep your insults and silly threats to yourself.

Bruce Pascoe
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I wasn't making threats. I was simply stating a fact. Actually, it was a bit of an anti-threat, since it would take a lot before I went off on anyone. Anyway, I do contribute useful information--in fact, I'm quite active in this community.

The "use common sense, people" remark was meant semi-jokingly; I wasn't trying to put anyone down. I guess I should have clarified that, so that's my own fault. Anyway, let's just forget this stupid argument before it becomes a flame war. It'll be better for all of us. Smile

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Hazelip
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Fine with me.

All's forgotten.

computechx
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You can replace U3 with PStart

If the USB drive is a Sandisk, you can replace the U3 Launcher with PStart.
https://portableapps.com/node/2212

I am assuming that once the other manufacturers release updates for the U3 launchpad for their drives, the process will work the same.

I am working on a way to do this without having to rely on the manufacturers update routine.

for now it works only on SanDisk of which I have 3 and all of them are now using PStart instead of LaunchPad.

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