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Old 11-11-2006, 02:07 PM   #1
Nuke
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How do I format a U3 USB key?

I bought a U3 USB keydrive. It has a bunch of Windows software and a boot CD type of disk that takes up 63MB. I would like to wipe all the MS stuff and recover the CD type space.

Unfortunately, Disktools won't let me erase or format that part of the USB drive. How do I do this?

Eventually, I would like to put Qemu+Damn Small Linux on the usb key.
This assumes that I can't put Darwin or OSX onto the keydrive with Qemu.

Thanks for any help.
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Old 11-11-2006, 02:39 PM   #2
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You can't fully erase that device until you modify the partition info.
If you will be only using this flash drive on a Mac - open Disk Utility, click on the flash device (not the partition, but the manufacturers info line), and click on the partition tab. Click on the dropdown under Volume Scheme, and choose 1 partition, then click the partition button. Mac OS Extended should be the default, and that will be OK.
If you will be installing some other operating system, such as a Linux distro, then you'll need some support for that, with the correct type of partition.
Mac OS Extended will be good if you will only use on the Mac.
You won't likely get OS X to install on a USB flash drive.
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Old 11-11-2006, 03:42 PM   #3
Nuke
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Thanks for the help.

I tried to partition the main flash device, but it only partitioned the main memory. It didn't erase the CD icon 60MB partition.

The CD image part shows a locked icon in the partitioning part of disktools.

When I try to erase the files (used Finder and sudo rm -r) I get the message that the filesystem is read only.

Are there other things that I can try?
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Old 11-11-2006, 03:57 PM   #4
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Did you try Disk Utility?

disktool may give you more options, but the GUI with Disk Utility may give you a better clue about why the partition can't be removed.
That extra partition might not be removable, part of the physical chip, but disk Utility should show that as a partition, and the partition tab in Disk Utility should let you re-partition the device.

What do you see in Disk Utility?
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Old 11-11-2006, 04:21 PM   #5
Nuke
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Disk Utilities shows the USB device, a hard drive icon and a CD image that is locked. I tried to unlock the CD image and format it but it doesn't work.

Hmm. Perhaps you are right in that the "U3/CD boot" partition is not removable. It would suck if you can't use the 60MB space and if the Windows software and autorun software stays there.
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Old 11-11-2006, 04:38 PM   #6
Nuke
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Oh, I just noticed that Disk Utilities says this partition is "Read Only".

Do you have a suggestions as to how I can make it "read write"?
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Old 11-11-2006, 04:55 PM   #7
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Sounds like that partition must be NTFS
anyway, you can refer back to my earlier post. You need to change the partition setup
Quote:
... click on the flash device (not the partition, but the manufacturers info line), and click on the partition tab. Click on the dropdown under Volume Scheme, and choose 1 partition, then click the partition button. Mac OS Extended should be the default, and that will be OK...

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Old 11-12-2006, 12:19 AM   #8
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if you have a windows box you could borrow, here you go:
Uninstall U3
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Old 11-12-2006, 01:27 AM   #9
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I have a SanDisk Micro Cruzer with a U3 disk that I want to get rid of and, after several rounds with SanDisk, their tech support told me it could only be removed on a Windows PC and that the drive isn't supported on a Mac (of course, that's not what their advertising and documentation says). I have the feeling there is a way to remove it with Terminal and root user, but I don't know enough about Unix to know how to do it and I haven't been able to find the answer on other forums. Does anyone here have the answer? I can take it back to the shop where I purchased it and they'll remove the U3 drive on their Windows PC but I'd like to be able to show SanDisk that they were wrong.

Claire
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Old 11-13-2006, 08:22 AM   #10
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When you click on the Cruzer in Disk Utility, are you clicking on the top, unindented line with manufacturer info? Click on the unindented line, not any indented line, then go to the Erase tab and erase the entire thing.

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Old 11-13-2006, 09:54 AM   #11
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Two separate disks mount - one for the regular SanDisk disk and one for the U3 disk. The two disks are not connected in Disk Utility - they show up as two entirely separate disks as if I had mounted two totally different disks. I can format the regular disk but the U3 disk is a read-only disk. It's formatted in a way that Disk Utility cannot access it. I'm sure there is a way in Terminal/Unix to access it, but SanDisk says it's a no-go. According to them, it can only be removed on a PC/Windows machine.

Claire
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Old 11-13-2006, 07:20 PM   #12
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"The U3 Launchpad is only supported on Windows XP and Windows 2000 operating systems and this restriction extends to U3 Launchpad uninstallers. A U3 Launchpad uninstaller is a software module that removes the U3 Launchpad and re-configures the drive to be a single mass storage USB drive. U3 Launchpad uninstallers are only available for and must be run on Windows XP or Windows 2000 machines."

U3 can pound sand in my opinion.
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Old 11-14-2006, 04:20 AM   #13
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I couldn't find anyway to get rid of the U3 partition on my U3 stick without using the uninstaller on Windows. It mounts as a seperate disk(CD-R, r/o), totally unconnected to the pen drive according to disk util / `mount`.

Only advice I can give is to find a windows pc

You don't actually need to download the uninstaller - there is an uninstall option within the software on the drive already.
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Old 12-19-2006, 03:24 PM   #14
innate
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Disk Utility won't work: you have to use this Windows utility

To all posters who are telling people to use Disk Utility: that won't work.

The Sandisk Cruzer is not formatted as a standard USB memory stick. It contains a separate "protected area" (not partition) that shows up as a completely separate device (not under the Cruzer device) and which contains a read-only CD-ROM file system. This "thing" is called U3 and it contains some kind of Windows program. It cannot be removed or reformatted using Disk Utility.

The only way to remove the U3 area and use the full capacity of the device is to use the Windows-only software at http://www.u3.com/uninstall/default.aspx. I believe it re-writes the firmware of the Cruzer device; merely fiddling with partitions won't work.

Even though this thread is old, I'm posting this because this is the first page that comes up when you Google for "cruzer erase u3 partition". Hope it helps someone!
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Old 10-13-2008, 10:45 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by innate
To all posters who are telling people to use Disk Utility: that won't work.

The only way to remove the U3 area and use the full capacity of the device is to use the Windows-only software at http://www.u3.com/uninstall/default.aspx. I believe it re-writes the firmware of the Cruzer device; merely fiddling with partitions won't work.

Even though this thread is old, I'm posting this because this is the first page that comes up when you Google for "cruzer erase u3 partition". Hope it helps someone!

Two years on, this thread is still the first hit that shows up in google.

Fortunately things have slightly improved in that you can use some sandisk software natively on osx to get rid of the read only partition.

See forum article
http://communities.sandisk.com/sandi...thread.id=1066

which refers to software available at
http://mp3support.sandisk.com/downlo...-utilities.zip

The software seems to be of a beta quality - I noticed some general instability problems with my laptop after installing the software and then running the partition remover, but perhaps that's just coincidence. I checked that the supplied sandisk utility uninstaller removed everything (including kexts) based upon a snap shot taken before the install, and indeed it does. I used the software to get rid of the U3 device and then "uninstalled the uninstaller" and my laptop hasn't missed a beat since I removed the software.

Anyway, the removal of the ghost device on U3 usb keys worked well, freeing up about 150MB on a 4G key. The sandisk software took a copy of the key (keep in mind you'll need enough free space on your root disk for this) and then wrote it back after updating the firmware.

As the capacity of the device increased, the secondary GUID table on the usb key was no longer in the correct location which needs to be corrected. Most things work with just the primary label being correct, but if you want to modify the layout, you'll need to rectify the inconsistency. To do that use disk utility to unmount the filesystems on the key (don't use eject). Use command (apple) 'I' to find out the disk number of the flash key while you are using disk utility.

Then from a terminal run
gpt recover /dev/diskN
where N is the disk number obtained from disk utility info.

Hope this makes sense to anyone still running into the problem.

Cheers.
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Old 12-19-2006, 05:21 PM   #16
ThreeDee
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There really is no need for a U3 flash drive. You can use portable versions of the programs, like Portable OpenOffice, Nvu, Firefox, Gaim, etc.

Or put Linux (portable versions available) on a regular flash drive and any PC's that can boot off a USB device can boot Linux on the Flash drive.
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Old 02-26-2007, 01:25 PM   #17
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Quote:
"The only way to remove the U3 area and use the full capacity of the device is to use the Windows-only software at http://www.u3.com/uninstall/default.aspx. I believe it re-writes the firmware of the Cruzer device; merely fiddling with partitions won't work."

I hate windows as much as the next guy, but the above is the only way to remove that stuff off of your drive.

- MT
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Old 09-05-2007, 04:25 PM   #18
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The easy way?

Bought an 8GB Cruzer and got sick of the U3 popup in short order. Downloaded the removal program from SanDisk on a PC with WindowsXP. Everything looked OK but the software kept telling me it could only remove U3 from one USB device at a time, remove the other one and try again. There's not another USB device plugged into the computer.

I had tried Disk Utility before with no luck, went back to it and first did a find info on the unfoldered .exe file, which was locked. Unlocked it and Disk Utility rapidly erased and reformatted the drive for my Mac to Mac use. There's only 7.5GB of space available so maybe there is a hidden partition in there somewhere, but at least it gives me an empty dance floor to work on now and that's worth the loss of a little storage.
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Old 09-06-2007, 05:15 PM   #19
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Embarrassing to trip up on my first post, but all I did was get rid of the visible files. The U3 CD image reappeared after the Cruzer had been plugged in for a while. Went to a PC and made all files visible and trashed them, still the CD reappeared. I will overcome soon as I can get SanDisk's removal software to work.
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Old 11-13-2007, 01:24 PM   #20
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Well I bought myself a 4GB SanDisk Cruzer Micro unaware of this issue ... and I was quite puzzled when two drives appeared on my desktop when I plugged it in! I was about to delete the windows contents and reformat it as MacOS Extended but thought ... hmmm let's see if the MacOSHints forum can be of help .... and here we are!

I've downloaded the uninstaller and will try it tomorrow on an XP PC. I assume that will leave me with a blank memory stick formatted as FAT32 (as it is at the moment)? My only worry is when I reformat it to MacOS Extended on my Mac .... should that work with no problems? The last time I fiddled with reformatting on my last memory stick it somehow corrupted the stick and locked itself into Read Only mode ... see here ...

Thanks for any input

Cheers,


David
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