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U3 is important ?

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danielfm
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U3 is important ?

Im looking for a new USB Flash memory, i have seen that some have this U3 tacnology, but i dont understant for what is this...

I see that people talks about run somo softwares like firefox, oppenoffice,etc.but i always used this softwares with my old flash memory whitout U3, i just used Portable softwares....

So for what U3 is important ?

Somebody can explain me ? Im depending on this to buy my new one.

Thanks

dragonmage
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U3 is a menu/launcher for

U3 is a menu/launcher for portable apps designed to run from the it's menu, similar to the PortableApps Menu found here. U3 apps however are usually not free. The apps found here are all open source and free.

RMB Fixed
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U3 can auto-run

It will start the menu (called Launchpad in u3-lingo)
when you insert the drive (if it's a windows-box with autorun enabled)
U3 also has some quite strong security-features but the current implementation of those are more useful for "license management" (DRM) than useful for the user, in fact they are a joke from the users perspective (unless you buy one of the security-programs )
If you don't care about the autorun or use your drive on non-windows machines also
then stick with "normal" flash-drives . ( or buy a titanium sandisk U3, you can often get a really good deal on them and then remove the U3-things with the un-installer tool )

Simeon
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U3 Security

is not that strong.
If you don't know the password, you can let U3 erase your drive and recover the erased data afterwards.

"There is a computer disease that anybody who works with computers knows about. It's a very serious disease and it interferes completely with the work. The trouble with computers is that you 'play' with them!" - Richard Feynman

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gmatyola
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Security on u3

Have any articles / sources for us to dine on about this? I'm honestly (and not trollishly) curious!

John T. Haller
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Don't Need One

I've done this with 2 different U3 drives. Just reset and use the undelete tool of your choice. It's security through obscurity.

A security through obscurity option is being introduced in a later release of PortableApps.com as well.

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

Androktasie
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Not entirely the case...

Not to revive the dead threads, but I came across this last night and decided to do my own testing on the matter. (I'm currently reviewing yet another U3 drive at the moment).

Older drives are indeed vulnerable. I'm not sure if it's because they don't have any hardware encryption like the new ones claim to have, or if it's a matter of the Launchpad software being outdated and there's no means of updating the Launchpad. I was able to recover files that were created after my old Geek Squad U3 drive was locked by resetting it and running Active@ File Recovery Pro.

The same method however does _not_ work on the Cruzer Titanium or Cruzer Contour using the latest launchpad (v1.4.0.2). There are still some security holes though, as the drive does nothing to prevent brute force attacks since you can enter as many invalid attempts as you want without any delays in between. I'm not a programmer though, so I can't write anything to exploit this myself.

Wipe them out, 93% of them!

Tepid
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It will start the menu

It will start the menu (called Launchpad in u3-lingo)
when you insert the drive (if it's a windows-box with autorun enabled)

This is nothing special about U3. You don't need U3 to do this.
just add an autorun.ini file to the root of your drive with the following....

[Autorun]
Open=PStart.exe

etabeta
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I have some doubts about U3,

I have some doubts about U3, but if I understand well (I'm not a technician and my native speaker is not english...)I think that U3 is good because you can install licensed software directly on it, the key license is store directly on your U3 usb key (and not in the C:\windows folder of the computer), so you can use your licensed software with your home computer and your work computer.

Another good things is that no-trace is left on the computer you used.

Bye.

John T. Haller
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Yes and No

U3 software leaves no more or less trace than portable apps. It's up to each individual software package to keep things internally and there are several apps on U3 software central that leave things behind on the local PC. And most of the most popular U3 commercial apps are working on straight portable versions.

Plus, U3 is being discontinued next year.

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

rjreid
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A recent article by R. Scott

A recent article by R. Scott Clark, Consumer Technology Editor
http://www.everythingusb.com/sandisk_cruzer_contour_4gb_12563.html

that mentions U3 security being improved over initial versions of the product. As has been mentioned several times in these forums, early versions of U3 security allowed one to “simply reset the drive then run file recovery software to access the private data. Thankfully, attempting to do that on the Contour or even the Cruzer Titanium when using the latest Launchpad software is futile.”

Also mentioned in the same article is something John alludes to in the prior post by saying U3 will be discontinued next year.

“U3 has been officially been marked as an End-Of-Life product, with its successor coming out from Microsoft and SanDisk in the second half of 2008. Third-party U3 software developers will be given a migration path to the new platform, but further details remain scarce at the moment. The new platform will most likely require updated hardware, including SanDisk's TrustedFlash technology.”

A good read for all to enjoy.

Regards,

Covert.Concept
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Through all that I have read

Through all that I have read about U3, it's security and usage, I have my own opinion of:

1: It is pointless... The application launcher and file format are easily comparable to PAM and there are many alternatives including, of course, PAM, SmithTech PAM clone and PStart.

2: It is a ploy... By saying your drive is U3 capable means £20+ on top of the cost of a normal drive.

3: It's not secure... As much as people say the data is secure, there are many ways to circumvent this which I (for obvious reasons) will not document here. Also, people have complained of issues that have apparently been resolved, but the fact of the matter is that if you have the drive, you have the data... How you get that data is up to your own mind, but it certainly isn't impossible or even unreasonable.

4: It's annoyed me... This kind of "Microsoft collaborates to make new wonderful technology" draws attention away from the really cool people who don't just slap something together, those people who produce fine software in their spare time (*bows to the PA team*).

5: It should be boycotted... No explination necessaey...
_____________________________________________
Is there any way to take that with me? No? Give me 10 minutes... Maybe an hour...

Is there any way to take that with me? No? Give me 10 minutes... Maybe an hour...

RMB Fixed
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Pointless for who ?

While i do agree with you on your views about the m$-ish behaviour,
the drives themselves are quite good so I'm not going to boycott those,
instead I "hack" them ..and you can often get them at a very competitive price,
at least where I live.

U3 certainly isn't pointless for Sandisk,
they almost succeeded in convincing all the "non-nerds"
that you could only run their re-zipped (pay)apps .
There was even a page on the U3-site that claimed you where only allowed to run
"certified" apps ..nice going for a hardware-manufacturer IMO .

No matter what you do autorun does NOT work on normal UFD's without either a nag-screen,serious registry-editing or some TSR to monitor the USB-ports and LOTS of people want real autorun, just look at all the posts about it here .

about the security : Here's a little paper on sandisks trusted flash
with 256bit AES hardware-encryption :
http://www.sandisk.com/Assets/File/pdf/oem/FINALTrustedSignIn.2.pdf
I believe that having the hardware doing the encryption solves the
"admin-rights needed" problem that prevents wide-spread use
of strong encryption atm ?
and a good little paper on USB and security here :
http://www.csnc.ch/static/download/misc/u3_technology_v1.0.pdf

Of course since Sandisk is also a military contractor and everything is
closed-source there is no guarantee that your data will be safe from Sandisk ..
they could quite easily have a "master-password" built-in

Covert.Concept
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Well versed...

Your argument is well structured and versed, but the only true benefits I can see of U3 over any other form of memory is that the drives do autorun (even though some PCs I have found will happily autorun a standard USB drive) and that it has hardware encryption, taking away the need for admin rights.

Do I really need to encrypt my data?
It depends on what I'm doing with the drive. I would never put personal information on the same drive as my portable apps. So for me, no, but for others, yes I can see the need.

Is autorun necessary?
I strongly doubt it. It's not mind numbing to navigate to the root of the drive and double click the (usually only) exe that resides there.

But I can understand your arguments.

Summary: The benefits of U3 are heavily outweighed by its price increase and vague documentation, but this is my opinion and nothing more.

_____________________________________________
Is there any way to take that with me? No? Give me 10 minutes... Maybe an hour...

Is there any way to take that with me? No? Give me 10 minutes... Maybe an hour...

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