Miscellaneous Technology

Remove the U3 System Partition from Cruzer Flash Drives

August 30, 2009

Everyone has probably 2 or 3 USB flash drives lying around these days. Even if one of them is just an old 32mb drive that you just can’t bring your self to toss in the trash. Many of the newer flash drives, especially those made by SanDisk, come with a second partition on it that causes your Windows system to display two auto play popups (which can be disabled) and on top of that it will launch a program in your tray which almost everyone I’ve ever known has never even used. I personally just got into the habbit of clicking my way through these screens, just because it was faster to do that than spending the time finding a way to stop it. Today I decided I had enough.

My newest flash drive is an 8GB SanDisk Cruzer Mini. I decided to go with it because my first one (128mb) has gone through the wash a dozen times, been lost for long periods of time and dropped more times than I can count. I have a couple of other no name ones lying around and have found they were not quite as durible. Unfortunately it came with U3 System on it, so that has to go.

Initially I thought I’d just fire up a partition program, delete the U3 System partition and resize the main partition. Windows Disk Management would not allow me to do that, it detected the U3 System partition as if it were a CD-ROM and thus did not give me the option to remove or resizes partitions. I most likely could have booted up Linux and removed it with Gparted but I had a dozen programs up and running so I wanted a fast solution that didn’t involve rebooting.

Turns out I was making things too complicated.

  1. Click the U3 icon in your system tray
  2. Click ‘Settings’
  3. Select ‘U3 Launchpad Settings’
  4. Select ‘Uninstall’
  5. Select ‘Uninstall U3 Launchpad’

*face palm*

Only registered users can comment.

  1. My o my …..

    Sometimes the answers are right under our eyes and we don’t see them…

    Thank u ….

    EUREKA !!

  2. This won’t work for me because the U3 system files are not there. How do I remove the system partition now? I just want the thing for storage only, but the u3 unistall program crashed about half way through formatting. Now the system partition is still there but without data.

  3. OK…. I Already tried that.
    However you still have that 110MB unallocated partition you can’t do anything with
    and you can’t really rename your flash drive! Your properties window will say its proper name but the explorer window WON’T!

    It’s sad to say that my new 16GB Cruzer is just a pile of useless junk…

  4. Hmmm, Macs must be more efficient at this. All I have to do is bring up dick utility (a standard part of OSX) and select the drive. I Choose to make it a single partition, then reformat it in the system I want (FAT, NTFS, or Mac HFS, Journaled or unjournaled) and everything is fine. Renaming is no problem, either.

    Maybe this is one of the reasons Macs cost more? They are worth it.

  5. @James – How is that easier? That’s way more complicated then running a quick utility that automatically does it for you. You can easily format it to be a single partition in Windows or Linux, or you can do this 3 click process and have it done for you. Also, I wasn’t aware that all Macs came with a “dick utility.” And no, they’re not worth the cash. Just build a Linux or BSD box for 1/3 of the cost.

  6. @FettesPS
    I didn’t try GPARTED, but I did use CMD/diskpart to do a complete (not quick) format of the system. All cleaned. Now I use it as an NTFS boot system that contains my copy of Windows 7 x64 in it.

  7. This solution really works! The only issue I had was that, initially I could not locate the U3 System icon on the system tray until I launched it. The rest was eaaaasy. Thanks to all you great minds. The uninstall process did backup my data files and reinstalled after formatting the drive.

  8. “Hmmm, Macs must be more efficient at this. All I have to do is bring up dick utility… Maybe this is one of the reasons Macs cost more? They are worth it.”


  9. Brill, works a treat. Strange sandisk didnt say this when support of U3 was terminated.

  10. Perfect – thanks!

    @James: download the U3 system files from Sandisk onto your stick & then follow the process outlined above.

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