Dumbing Down a Sandisk Cruzer

Sandisk Cruzer

Originally uploaded by StarbuckGuy

As thumb drives go, I rather like the design of the Sandisk Cruzer. It uses a slider to push out or retract the USB connector so there’s no cap to misplace or lose. The price has been dropping steadily on them and I found a nice little 4Gb unit in Staples yesterday for about $30 Cdn. Since I’d been wanting another one (I gave my first one to Marion), I added it to the pack of Sharpies I’d come in to buy.

The only drawback to the Cruzer is that it has a U3 feature that complicates what should be a simple technology. U3 first mounts the thumb drive as a CD-ROM volume, then uses another drive assignment to mount the storage partition. I suppose it’s set up so, in a pinch, you can run some programs from it. The U3 stuff takes quite a while to boot up and adds yet more clutter to the desktop.

I simply wanted it to act as a dumb thumb drive. I guessed that someone would have figured out a way to remove the U3 partition and reformat the device to be more simple minded and I was right. I Googled a blog entry that showed exactly what to do (in Windows).

All that’s required is a simple download from Sandisk — a special reformatter program that removes U3. It’s small and works a treat. It took mere seconds to reformat the Cruzer as a dumb thumb using the U3 Launchpad Removal Tool listed on the Sandisk site.

I’m impressed with Sandisk for making this utility program available. Furthermore, while reading an FAQ on the Sandisk site, I discovered that the ability to remove U3 is built in to the U3 Launcher software for Windows:

Can I remove U3 technology from my USB drive? Yes. To remove the U3 technology from the drive, simply go to the U3 Launchpad and, under Settings, select U3 Launchpad settings and click Uninstall. This will completely remove the U3 Launchpad from the drive.

Kudos to Sandisk for designing a nice little thumb drive and giving the user the option of removing the “additional features”.

4 thoughts on “Dumbing Down a Sandisk Cruzer

  1. I love my Sandisk Cruzer Titanium. A rugged little piece of equipment, and with its retractable USB connector, virtually perfect. Like you, I removed the U3 partition and dumbed down my Cruzer when I got it home. U3 seems to defeat the purpose of having a USB Flash drive; it becomes dependent upon the platform into which you plug it. Sandisk also makes a utility to restore U3 functionality after it has been removed, available from the FAQ page about the Cruzer on the Sandisk site. At this point, they may be the only manufacturer who does, but I’m not certain.

    Very nice blog. The photography is wonderful. I’m not a photographer, keep telling myself that snapshots are all I really need, but recently I’ve found myself thinking, “Man, I wish I could take pictures like that!” Time to read a few books, I suppose, and start playing around.

    BTW, Tony Dalmyn at http://www.sea-of-flowers.ca recommended your blog… not in his blog, but in an email.

  2. Steve, thanks very for visiting and leaving a comment! I’d recommend one of these Sandisk Cruzers to anyone — such a slick design.
    Thanks for the kind words about my photographs. It takes a surprisingly short time to move beyond snapshots to getting photographs that are interesting for their own sake. What I find fun is documenting things from our daily lives — common things that can look uncommon when photographed. A relatively inexpensive digital camera that can take good closeup shots is a good teacher.

  3. Thanks for blogging about this. I’ve search for this problem before but must have used the wrong google keywording. Seems that is the strange thing about sreach engines these days; Gotta be strangely specific with certain structures of search queries. Viva semantic web! Ah well, thanks again!

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