Monday, June 25, 2007


What is U3?

U3 is a new hardware and software platform that enables personal workspace portability by allowing USB Flash drives to carry, store, and use one’s own applications and data on any PC.

Who developed it?

U3 is the result of a collaboration between SanDisk and M-Systems Flash Disk Pioneers Ltd.

Where is it used?

U3 is used to develop what are being called ‘U3 smart drives’ and applications compatible with them. These drives are targeted at just about anybody who wants to carry data and applications wherever they go.

When will U3 Smart Drives be available?

Very soon. Leading manufacturers have announced new products based on the U3 platform. Software developers have also shown interest, and users will soon be able to procure U3 smart software.

Why is it needed?

The platform promises to be extremely useful for people who travel frequently and often use shared PCs.

How does it work?

There are two filetypes associated with the U3 platform. *.u3i is an XMLbased text file that defines the application's version, download path and working parameters, and *.u3p is a Zip file containing everything needed to run an application. A 4 MB readonly system partition of the drive pretends to be a CDROM drive, while the data partition shows up as a regular Flash drive. Windows is led to believe that the system partition is a CD, so U3 takes advantage of the AutoPlay feature to automatically run the LaunchPad and unlock the data partition.

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