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Disable U3 on flash drive

By pmcgrath ·
SHORT ANSWER: Go into the device manager and find the cdrom device it created the first time you installed it. Right click on the device and click on disable. U3 is now effecively disabled.

DISCUSSION:
A friend of mine purchased a new USB flash drive and when he installed it, it not only created a drive for the flash memory but it created a second drive, aprearing as cdrom drive, and auto ran an applicaton U3 (www.u3.com). My friend did not want this to run when he inserted the drive.

After looking at what was happening when the drive was inserted, I tried to remove the startup files. No joy, since the flash drive presents itself to as a cdrom, all the files are read only. I checked the Help section of U3, no joy. So doing a brief (15 min) search on the internet, I determined there was no way of removing the U3 partition.

I next tried to disable it. Again I checked the Help on U3, nope nothing about disabling it. After determining there was nothing I could do on flash side to stop it, short of hacking the thing, I look for a way to stop it on the OS side. The answer turned out to be quite simple: Go into the device manager and find the cdrom device it created the first time you installed it. Right click on the device and click on disable. U3 is now effecively disabled. Problem solved.

LEGAL\ETHICAL
Ok now I'm sure that in the package there was some EULA that discribes what was going to happen when I inserted this into my pc. I did not have access that EULA. It was not presented to me for reveiew at the time of install. It never gave me the oppertunity to prevent it from running. This device executed code on my PC without my permission.

Did they not learn anything from the SONY root kit. First of all, I hate these POS applications that someone thinks is suppose to make my life eaiser. I (my friend in this case) purchased a flash drive, not the U3 software. This thing could have installed anything it wanted, from a rootkit to a keylogger. How do I know there wasn't some kind of DRM softwar to keep me from coping mp3s to drive? This is way, way out of bounds.

I dont mind if the manufacture of the drive wants to include it on the drive. But there is no way in **** it should run without my express permission.

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What if....

by faradhi In reply to Disable U3 on flash drive

you turn off autorun. Did the software run then?

I agree that not only should they prompt you with all changes made to the computer but also what software is being used.

It borders on Malware.

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That would probably work

by pmcgrath In reply to What if....

Since this is works the same way a CD autorun does, disabling autorun will probably work as well. Holding ths shift key will work also.

Disabling the drive in the device manager is just as easy and has the added bonus of not displaying the U3 partition as a drive in "My Computer"

What really irks me is short of a reg hack or tweak ui, there is no way to keep it from running the first time. Because you probably don't know its there you wouldn't don't hold down the shift key.

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Try reading the packaging

by leftyfb In reply to Disable U3 on flash drive

The package specifically advertises a U3 drive. If you had done a little research, maybe by going to U3.com, you would have known that the whole purpose of U3 branded drives is to have that software preloaded and run for it's use. If you did not want the U3 software you should not have purchased a U3 drive. Thats like buying Windows XP Media Center Edition and complaining you want the Media Center capabilities removed and that you didn't give permission to have it there in the first place.

And you call yourself an IT Manager.

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Maybe you should lean to read

by pmcgrath In reply to Try reading the packaging

If you had read the posting, you would have realized that this was not my drive. It was purchased by a co worker. I had no access to the packageing or other documentation that came with it. My co worker wanted a flash drive, plain and simple. Like most "users" he had no idea what U3 was and did not want it on the drive.

Regardless, I stand by my first post. This device executes code on by computer without my permission. This is wrong. My co worker may have agreed to the EULA when he opened the package, but I did not.

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by leftyfb In reply to Maybe you should lean to ...

That is the purpose of the drives. It is his product and by purchasing something branded with a specific function, he agree's to whatever it is made to do. Bringing it to other computers is the whole point of the U3 software. It executes is personal collection of software and settings and when exited out, leaves no files behind other than maybe an empty temp directory. It is not wrong for a product to do what it is made do to. Ignorance is no excuse for not knowing or wanting something a product is made to do. Do not buy a product that advertises a feature you are not familiar with and then complain when that feature does what it is supposed to do. This goes for your friend as well. Get over it.

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what a load of BS!

by smallheads In reply to

Sure, that is the purpose of the product, but is it surprising that
people don't know what U3 is when they buy a flash drive? If
Hersheys started putting a small razor blade icon on their candy
wrappers, should people buying the candy know that they will
cut their mouth when they bite into it? That is the candy's
purpose.

Anyway, U3 is one of the dumbest things I've seen. There is a
utility to remove it if anyone is interested.

http://www.jwjkp.com/U3_Uninstaller.exe

Enjoy

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U3 has an uninstaller

by austinian In reply to Disable U3 on flash drive

U3 has published an uninstaller at http://u3.com/uninstall/

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dont blame the application

by de.doughboy In reply to Disable U3 on flash drive

Guys, no need to blame everyone. Point finger back to poor system administrator if you must. MS allows even its own code to run unencumbered without your knowledge or consent. If you want to disable autorun follow the instructions in the book, "Windows Annoyances" see->Tweaking the User Interface ->Disable Autorun with TweakUI. Unclick "Play CDs Automatically." this should disable any CD or USB polling activity. There are also other settings in the Device Manager tab under CD-USB properties that will disable it. I've done this on several machines to stop my USB external drives from auto-launching. If you need more help with tweaks i found this site very helpful. MAKE WINDOWS XP BEHAVE at htp://home.tiscali.nl/rogier666/windows/wintricks.htm and http://www.annoyances.org there are also several GUI applications that help you regain control of your windows.

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I agree with pmcgrath...

by Bacon 3000 In reply to Disable U3 on flash drive

Lefty, you sound like the type of person that reads every ingredient and every word of text on a box of Cornflakes before pouring it into a bowl. You would be the exception to the rule. Not to mention, but I will, that you?re more than just a little brash and judgmental. In the real world...most of us have timelines, deadlines, bosses, spouses, children etc...etc... that all demand all of our time and then some. The point being that people with lives don?t have time. Seeing a U3 advertisement on the packaging might spark ones curiosity, but I doubt it would prevent anyone from purchasing the device and plugging in what in the past has always been a simple storage device. Even the flash drives that offer security features don't auto install software. They allow you to choose to install it or not. U3 should do the same, not shove it down your virtual throat...unless you like that sort of thing.

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I agree with both pmcgrath and sriordan

by xademosx In reply to I agree with pmcgrath...

Expecting the basic end-user to understand, know, or CARE about an uncommonly bundled technology is over-assuming and unwise.

Why?

As sriordan pointed out. Most people are buying a USB drive for quick, simple storage.

Sorry, but most people, even computer-savy people, don't just jump on every bandwagon software that comes out.


Now, all that aside. Take me, a well-read, careful buyer, who DID research on my drive, saw the U3 logo and read up on it.

Turns out, it's not for me either. See, it's a good idea, but extremely hard to organize. Take a popular piece of free software, Firefox.

Look at it's page on the official U3 software download page:
http://software.u3.com/Product_Details.aspx?ProductId=89&Selection=9&Lang=en-US

Notice the version number? 1.5.0.70

What's the version with the newest bug fixes and more importantly, SECURITY updates? 2.0.0.3

That's a huge difference. And not only is Firefox 1.5 less secure, it's missing the new, MS-Word-style inline spell check. That's a important feature for me. Heck, I used it to spell check THIS POST.

So what are my options?

Wait for U3 to upgrade...or just use the actual software that U3 port is based on...

Firefox Portable:
http://portableapps.com/apps/internet/firefox_portable

Guess what version of Firefox the actual software has? 2.0.0.3 Looks like the only one to blame here, is U3.

But of course, with that much software to maintain, it'd be close to impossible for U3 to actually maintain all the newest versions.

So sorry U3, but considering software like Firefox, Gaim, Inkscape, Blender 3D, etc already have a easy-to-use USB version of their software---that's updated regularly---I'll stick with the originals.

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