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  1. #1
    3 Star Lounger
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    USB memory stick & security in Windows

    Happy New Year everyone!

    Not sure if this is a hardware post or a windows one!

    A couple of questions about security aspects of using USB memory sticks.

    I am pretty sure that they behave like floppies and cannot be made to have files on them that "autorun" and therefore have the potential to put nasties on the PC concerned. Likewise I am absolutely sure that if you bring a file across its up to you to make sure that it doesnt contain anything dangerous. Any antivirus software would check the file as it is saved to the PC (assuming the settings are right)

    My questions....
    1. can USB devices have hidden files and partitions - they seem to show less space than their nominal capacity. If they can, are there any tricks to make them visible?
    2. if you format the visible partition from the PC do you risk deleting anything the device needs to operate?


    Thanks

    Mike C

  2. #2
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: USB memory stick & security in Windows

    1. can USB devices have hidden files and partitions - they seem to show less space than their nominal capacity. If they can, are there any tricks to make them visible?

    Hidden files, absolutely. Hidden partitions, most likely - but given the small amount of space most hold (1 GB or less) what would be the point, really? They seem to show less space for the same reason hard drives do: manufacturers counts space differently than PC hardware. The manufacturer calls a gigabyte 1,000,000,000 bytes. In computer terminology, it's actually 1,073,741,824 bytes - so you, the consumer, lose.

    2. if you format the visible partition from the PC do you risk deleting anything the device needs to operate?

    Again, the answer should be no as most USB support is built into the operating system. I have a Seagate PocketDrive that includes its own software, which can be downloaded again from Seagate if need be. I don't bother with it but it's there. If I use Seagate's software to format the drive, it maintains the software, but I rarely need to format the device either.
    -Mark

  3. #3
    Platinum Lounger
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    Re: USB memory stick & security in Windows

    There's a lot of discussion about Microsoft's USB Flash Drive Manager, which, as one of its features, is supposed to make AUTORUN work. However, the general view is that the software was released before thorough testing had taken place, and there are many reports of problems of varying types.

    Some USB Flash Drives include a "security partition", separate from the data partition, which can contain software to "protect" the files in the data partition. If you reformat the whole UFD, then obviously the security partition goes. This will give you a bit more space.

    There are proper security utilities (which can cost more than the UFD itself!) which will make it virtually impossible for someone to read your files.

    John
    <font face="Script MT Bold"><font color=blue><big><big>John</big></big></font color=blue></font face=script>

    Ita, esto, quidcumque...

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