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cloudship

U3 Flash Drives

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Knowing that there are a bunch of techies on this board, what has been your experience with the U3 Flash/thumb drives? On our campus, we have our computers locked down, and no one has Administrative privaleges. In theory, you should still be able to use those U3 drives, but apparently that is not the case. We are now having problems with a number of students and faculty bringing in the new drives, and unable to get at their data and unable to use the drives on the computers here. It's quickly becoming a big problem.

So how do you handle them where you are? Are you installing the software on all the computers, or just saying you don't support them?

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Knowing that there are a bunch of techies on this board, what has been your experience with the U3 Flash/thumb drives? On our campus, we have our computers locked down, and no one has Administrative privaleges. In theory, you should still be able to use those U3 drives, but apparently that is not the case. We are now having problems with a number of students and faculty bringing in the new drives, and unable to get at their data and unable to use the drives on the computers here. It's quickly becoming a big problem.

So how do you handle them where you are? Are you installing the software on all the computers, or just saying you don't support them?

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You say you are having problems accessing the data on these drives? Is this a Windows environment? If so, are the users having the problem a member of the Power Users group locally? Do you have USB access disabled or anything else that could lead to disabling of the U3 drives via group policy if you use active directory for example?

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That's the problem. We only grant our users regular user access - not power user. Meaning they can't run the software to be able to open the U3 drives. In theory anyway, you are supposed to be able to still use the U3 drives even if you don't have the software loaded, but that doesn't seem to be the case, at least on some of them. I am personally thinking it might be only a SanDisk issue, as those are the only ones we have had problems with. Apprently it's a known issue, but the question is, how do you deal with it?

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I don't believe this is a problem with Sandisk drives. I believe some versions of the firmware on these devices have a problem with Vista and all versions apparently require administrator rights under Windows 2000 SP4. Also make sure that you have not restricted the ability to run .EXE files from removable media.

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i think the U3 drives have some sort of software that go along with them and if you don't have permissions to use the software, you can't access the drive.

cloudship, i recommend looking through the archives of the lab manager discussion list as this discussion is going on on that list right now. you might even consider joining it.

i guess you have to be a member to view the archives... i would suggest joining if you run a lab. in the archives, click on april 2007 and it's number 27 in that list.

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A note regarding the U3 technology...I believe U3 USB drives are usable without the software, it just won't run the security software, applications, etc. on it. When you insert a U3 USB drive it maps two drive letters to it, one being invisible.

Cloudship, can you view the unhidden drive letter mapped to the U3 drive when it is in one of these systems? The hidden drive letter maps to the U3 software I believe.

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Jim - Thanks - that looks like an interesting list. I don't run the labs themselves, I manage our staff and faculty helpdesk and deal with hardware issues for some of our classrooms, But I am sure there are things that would be helpful on there, and I am going to mention it to our lab managers.

Again, this is not on my machine specifically - I run a helpdesk, and this is a very common issue we have both with faculty and with students. Setting all our computers up with admin rights just will not fly. And it's not like we will be able to run to every computer every time someone has a thumb drive they want to use. More importantly, the SanDisk drives do not seem to be even showing up at all. Occasionally with a lot of digging you can find the hidden drive, but not always. And we don't normally allow our users to do that.

It's getting crazy with these things because Staples ran a special on them, and everyone went out to by them. I am toeing a line between our director who is saying we simply don't support those, and all the people (mostly faculty) who are calling up panicking becasue they can't get their class materials.

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join the list yourself to at least get an idea of what it's like... there's not too much traffic on it. if you have anything to do with the labs, i'd suggest it. i know it's the lab machines, which is why i suggested this list. the question was specifically about labs and these flash drives. you can join and have no emails and just look at the archives.

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