Flash drives WITHOUT crapware or U3 or backup software

Are there any makers of flash drives / thumb drives / USB drives that never put crapware or U3 or automatic backup software on their products?

Is there a way to determine whether a flash drive has U3 or crapware or automatic backup software on it – or indeed anything that executes or is readable or appears with a funny grayed out name – before buying it online?

None of the Adata drives I’ve purchased have it installed, but I always re-format them to HFS Extended anyway, so that would get rid of it.

Since you can just reformat the device before you use it, what difference would included software make? Or, do you want to make sure that you get included crapware and want to avoid drives that do not have it?

This ↑ ↑ ↑ :smiley:

U3 is not a software that’s stored on the flash drive. When you plug a U3 flash drive into a computer, it is recognized as 2 separate drives, a normal flash drive and a read-only drive containing the U3 software. (They’re not just separate partitions, they are separate drives.)

You cannot delete or modify the software by just formatting it. There are third-party tools that are supposed to delete it, but I don’t know how well they work.

I just reformat flashdrives myself, but assume OP is worried about autorun.inf or such.

I suppose that by now, The Software Company That’s Bigger Than Some Countries™, and spent a billion dollars to do what a freeware programmer turned out in a week, has introduced some Security update #37-6993-272727999XYZ that makes it possible for an expert user of Windows 19.3.6 to avoid running autorun.inf(*) or such, but the Windoze philosophy (“Oh! Here’s an executable, let’s just … Execute it!!”) always baffled me.

Please don’t write in and inform me that the security loophole was actually fixed already in Windows 19.2.2. I was being sarcastic.

(* - And what does the “inf” stand for, anyway? Infinitely stupid?)

p.s. To answer the OP: I haven’t found a good way to know for sure. I usually just scan through the Amazon reviews (esp. the low-rated reviews) to see if anyone mentions such non-removable bloatware.

The last 3 flash drives I bought were ADATA, Patriot and Kingston brands, selected on this basis. And I was successful - they were plain removable drives.

Most of the detailed descriptions I’m reading online, about U3 anyway, says that reformatting will not get rid of it.

I’ve never been bothered enough to try, but can you just delete the files?

You learn something new everyday. According to SanDisk, though, U3 is now officially dead as they have been letting support lapse over the last five years. Even when it was actively used, there was an option to completely disable and remove U3 functionality when the drive was first inserted (according to their documentation).

I buy Kingston DataTraveler drives – generally 100 at a time. (8GB drives, $5.72 each in quantity.) No crapware.

You have to go one step further than merely deleting or reformatting. Plug the drive into your desktop, right-click on Computer and choose Manage. From there choose Storage–> Disk Management. Depending on your system this might take 10-30 seconds so be patient and wait until the info appears. You’'ll have a screen showing the partition information of your drives. Go to the flash drive and delete the partition (volume) the factory software is on. Then extend the other partition (volume) to include the whole drive.

I have a 16GB one that I have been carrying on my keychain for 3 years, still works great

I needed something today, and there were no Kingston products at Best Buy or Staples, so I tried a Lexar S50 32 GB model that cost $17 on sale at Staples. It did not say on the packaging whether it included any software, but I didn’t see any when using Win 7 Explorer. I copied 5.33 GB of viceos, 88 files, the largest 86 MB, onto the drive. It took 23.3 minutes. Consumer reviews typically say either that this drive is OK or that it is very slow.

But I think I’ll order some of the Kingston DataTraveler drives just the same. Other than this new one, my biggest flash drive currently is a whopping 250 MB (not GB).

Interesting note, the clerk at Best Buy insisted none of their flash drives came with software, so I grabbed the closest one off the rack in front of him, a SanDisk model, and pointed out in the fine print where it has some kind of security software installed.

What causes hardware companies to foist crappy unwanted software on people? External HDs have it, printers have it, phones and laptops come with a bunch of unremovable vendor-specific crapware.

I can understand drivers. But I don’t need special software to manage my freaking external hard drive! I can plug it in and use the file manager I prefer, thanks. Please stick to what you know best, hardware manufacturers.

Well, of course they do it for the exact same reason big companies like Oracle makes you *uncheck *the **Install Google Toolbar **box when installing/updating Java, cause they get a little money every time somebody doesn’t (which is quite often!)

Exactly. But I think you meant the Ask! toolbar.