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Hacking U3 Smart USB Drives

June 13th, 2006

U3 is a platform for developing applications that install to and execute from USB flash drives. It provides these applications a means to execute, read, write and clean up after themselves once the drive is removed. I haven´t actually used any U3 apps yet, but having bought a ´U3 Smart´ drive at OfficeMax (the SanDisk Cruzer Micro 512M), I became interested in the unique way these U3 drives present themselves as two separate disks, so that the U3 software is write-protect and can auto-run on Windows machines.

This page documents my attempts at changing the U3 drive to modify the write-protected partition and control the autorun feature.

This information is based on the U3 Smart SanDisk Cruzer Micro 512M, and while I´ve taken a lot of care in my procedures here (I don´t want to buy another drive if I brick this one either!), I can´t guarantee that it´ll work out so well for you. This information is immediately applicable to the Cruzer Micro 512M, and probably works for other Cruzer disks, but probably does not work on other U3 Smart disks. It should get you looking in the right direction though.Read Full Story

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