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krisse
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 10:59 am    Post subject: U3 uninstaller without windows Reply with quote

I'm sure some of you have ran across usb sticks with u3 cruft on them.

Luckily there's a windows uninstaller for it. But I don't always have a windows machine available.

The partition with the u3 stuff is hidden. In dmesg there's something like a virtual scsi drive, or some such, mentioned. Shows up as a cd drive. But when looking at the partition table for the actual usb-drive, /dev/hd*, there's only one part, and messing around with that does nothing for the u3 stuff.

Has anyone had any success with removing the u3 stuff on linux? And, if so, how?
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a.b.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 11:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You could try:
  • Wine (unlikely if raw access is required)
  • Overwriting the whole drive with zeros (should work if the U3 stuff is actually accessible that way)
  • VM with USB support
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krisse
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

a.b. wrote:
You could try:
  • Wine (unlikely if raw access is required)
  • Overwriting the whole drive with zeros (should work if the U3 stuff is actually accessible that way)
  • VM with USB support


Thanks for your suggestions!

  • Wine --- does not work.
  • Overwriting drive with zeros. The question is (or, it might be?) how to do that. As just rewriting the filesystem or some such will not do. How to reveal the whole drive, so to speak... Writing stuff to /dev/hdb1 would do nothing. And there's just /dev/hdb and /dev/hdb1 available. And then the virtual scsi drive. :? You might be on to something here, I don't know. But I need more specifics of how I'd go about it before I can try it.
  • Sure. This should work. But I don't want to use a VM. No windows in any form. :) Not even virtualized.
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a.b.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

krisse wrote:

[list]
[*] Overwriting drive with zeros. The question is (or, it might be?) how to do that. As just rewriting the filesystem or some such will not do. How to reveal the whole drive, so to speak... Writing stuff to /dev/hdb1 would do nothing. And there's just /dev/hdb and /dev/hdb1 available. And then the virtual scsi drive. :? You might be on to something here, I don't know. But I need more specifics of how I'd go about it before I can try it.

I'd say:
Code:
dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hdb
, /dev/hdb is the whole drive,
Maybe testdisk could reveal that partition as well.

No idea what to do with the virtual driver, maybe it's hardwired.
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krisse
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

a.b. wrote:
I'd say:
Code:
dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hdb
, /dev/hdb is the whole drive,
Maybe testdisk could reveal that partition as well.


Mm. I'll give it a go! But I'm not overly optimistic. Wouldn't it show up in fdisk (/dev/hdb) or something? I'm afraid this won't do a thing to the u3 stuff. But who knows! As soon as I have that little drive in my hands I'll hand the zeroes to it and see what it has to say to them.

Unfamiliar with testdisk. I'll check that up.

a.b. wrote:
No idea what to do with the virtual driver, maybe it's hardwired.
This is the thing I want to get rid of. That's where all the u3 nasties lie. It shouldn't be hardwired, as a uninstaller can fix it --- this fix also frees up some extra space on the drive; at least according to a thread somewhere on the web (can't recall where at the moment). Not much. But enough to make it clear it's all there somewhere on the drive behind some hidden door. Also, supposedly it is "impossible to reinstall" u3 after it has been removed. After a swipe with the uninstaller, it looks like just a normal drive --- without the virtual driver thingy.
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hirakendu
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

afaik its hardwired and you cannot remove it. and the way its implemented, it is like another cd-drive (a usb cd-drom!) - /dev/sr1 or /dev/sr0 embedded in that usb stick. its not in the data 'drive' (/dev/sdb or so). (when you plug this usb stick in, look into dmesg output.)

i guess by uninstalling u3 in windows, it implies that the u3 menu won't popup in that windows installation, and at best the u3 crap is not present in the data drive. plug it in another windows and might see this viral thing.

yes, its annoying. (more in my case as i made a linux live disk out of it, and the initrd i made looks for a non-empty cd drive first, and the /dev/sr1 containing u3 promptly gets recognized as that :(. so i use a different initrd for live usb and live cd.)

apart from that, its a gem of a drive. its very fast (~25MB/s). (fast enough to be used as readyboost cache in vista!) and its robust enough that it endured a 35-minute wash in a industry grade laundry machine when i forgot it in my trouser pocket.
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krisse
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hirakendu wrote:
afaik its hardwired and you cannot remove it.
[...]

i guess by uninstalling u3 in windows, it implies that the u3 menu won't popup in that windows installation, and at best the u3 crap is not present in the data drive. plug it in another windows and might see this viral thing.
[...]


By running the u3 uninstaller it really goes away, away. It's not just hidden on the windows comp that ran the installer, it's gone for good. There's even some amount of space freed up by doing so (56k or some such, if I remember the report I read correctly).

I've ran the uninstaller on one of these u3 sticks. I've got another one that I can only access in a linux box through remote ssh --- thus the need to do this without any help from windows. :roll:

After the uninstaller has done it's job, you've got a virgin usb stick, with not even a smell of the u3 cruft left. Nothing mentioned of the "cd-drive" in dmesg or anywhere else when you plug it in. It's just a normal, no-nonsense usb memory stick.

I really believe it isn't hardwired, but cunningly softwired. :) ... Well. Either that, or the uninstaller haxes the stick to hide the u3 thingies on each and every computer it's inserted to.

So the good news (I think) is that there's hope! The bad news is that so far, the only os that can deliver us from this menace in particular, is windows.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 4:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

very lucky you. hope they have changed it in newer versions. this is sandisk 4gb cruzer micro (sdcz6-4096-a10rb). and here's the dmesg after plugged in :
Quote:
usb 2-2: new high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 4
usb 2-2: configuration #1 chosen from 1 choice
scsi7 : SCSI emulation for USB Mass Storage devices
usb 2-2: New USB device found, idVendor=0781, idProduct=5406
usb 2-2: New USB device strings: Mfr=1, Product=2, SerialNumber=3
usb 2-2: Product: U3 Cruzer Micro
usb 2-2: Manufacturer: SanDisk
usb 2-2: SerialNumber: 0000188A1673BC92
usb-storage: device found at 4
usb-storage: waiting for device to settle before scanning
usb-storage: device scan complete
scsi 7:0:0:0: Direct-Access SanDisk U3 Cruzer Micro 4.05 PQ: 0 ANSI: 2
scsi 7:0:0:1: CD-ROM SanDisk U3 Cruzer Micro 4.05 PQ: 0 ANSI: 2
sd 7:0:0:0: [sdb] 8013453 512-byte hardware sectors (4103 MB)
sd 7:0:0:0: [sdb] Write Protect is off
sd 7:0:0:0: [sdb] Mode Sense: 03 00 00 00
sd 7:0:0:0: [sdb] Assuming drive cache: write through
sd 7:0:0:0: [sdb] 8013453 512-byte hardware sectors (4103 MB)
sd 7:0:0:0: [sdb] Write Protect is off
sd 7:0:0:0: [sdb] Mode Sense: 03 00 00 00
sd 7:0:0:0: [sdb] Assuming drive cache: write through
sdb: sdb1
sd 7:0:0:0: [sdb] Attached SCSI removable disk
sd 7:0:0:0: Attached scsi generic sg2 type 0
sr1: scsi3-mmc drive: 8x/40x writer xa/form2 cdda tray
sr 7:0:0:1: Attached scsi CD-ROM sr1
sr 7:0:0:1: Attached scsi generic sg3 type 5

(see those things on 7:0:0:1) and
Code:
hdas ~ # mount /dev/sr1 /mnt/cdrom/
mount: block device /dev/sr1 is write-protected, mounting read-only
hdas ~ # ls /mnt/cdrom/
autorun.inf  LaunchPad.zip  LaunchU3.exe
hdas ~ # df /mnt/cdrom
Filesystem           1K-blocks      Used Available Use% Mounted on
/dev/sr1                  5590      5590         0 100% /mnt/cdrom

. so the evil is hard coded for me. although i would try what you did and hope it does get done. (i think i did it once, but although it goes away from the disk, nothing happens. this 6MB cd-drive is hardwired.)
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krisse
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's exactly (well, except for some minor details) what I got too --- before I ran the uninstaller. That's what I've been trying to say here.

Perhaps you're right, it's hardcoded. But my money is still on that it is not. (Or that the uninstaller can hide the hardcoded stuff well enough so that no computer sees it when it's attached. ... And that it by doing so creates some extra space on the drive.)

Borrow a windows computer; download the uninstaller; run it on your stick --- then correct me if I'm wrong.

I'll save the system messages concerning this stick of mine, and if I manage to get it to a windows machine with the installer and back to a linux comp so I can get a system message output of it, I'll post that here too. Because I'm getting seriously curious now. :)

... Then we can see if --- or rather: how --- we can manage to do the same with gentoo. :D
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 5:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sounds interesting. will do that once i get back home. fortunately (seriously!) my machine has windows (its a dell laptop). but i would be very very surprised if it goes away. either case, it doesn't bother me ;).
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 18, 2008 10:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For what it's worth, this is the system messages for a old sandisk 1GB which has been through a swipe by the uninstaller:
Code:
usb 1-7: new high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 6
usb 1-7: configuration #1 chosen from 1 choice
scsi0 : SCSI emulation for USB Mass Storage devices
usb-storage: device found at 6
usb-storage: waiting for device to settle before scanning
usbcore: registered new interface driver ub
scsi 0:0:0:0: Direct-Access     SanDisk  U3 Cruzer Micro  2.18 PQ: 0 ANSI: 2
sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] 2006673 512-byte hardware sectors (1027 MB)
sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] Write Protect is off
sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] Mode Sense: 03 00 00 00
sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] Assuming drive cache: write through
sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] 2006673 512-byte hardware sectors (1027 MB)
sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] Write Protect is off
sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] Mode Sense: 03 00 00 00
sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] Assuming drive cache: write through
 sda: sda1
sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] Attached SCSI removable disk
sd 0:0:0:0: Attached scsi generic sg0 type 0
usb-storage: device scan complete


Before the uninstaller had done it's thing, I had the same scenario as you: a separate "cd drive" on the usb-stick and all of that.
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hirakendu
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 18, 2008 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

yep, the cd-drive is gone. (btw, the cd-drive does show up in windows too before running the uninstaller.) here's the system messages after the flashing :
Quote:
usb 2-2: new high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 4
usb 2-2: configuration #1 chosen from 1 choice
scsi7 : SCSI emulation for USB Mass Storage devices
usb-storage: device found at 4
usb-storage: waiting for device to settle before scanning
usb 2-2: New USB device found, idVendor=0781, idProduct=5406
usb 2-2: New USB device strings: Mfr=1, Product=2, SerialNumber=3
usb 2-2: Product: U3 Cruzer Micro
usb 2-2: Manufacturer: SanDisk
usb 2-2: SerialNumber: 0000188A1673BC92
usb-storage: device scan complete
scsi 7:0:0:0: Direct-Access SanDisk U3 Cruzer Micro 4.05 PQ: 0 ANSI: 2
sd 7:0:0:0: [sdb] 8027789 512-byte hardware sectors (4110 MB)
sd 7:0:0:0: [sdb] Write Protect is off
sd 7:0:0:0: [sdb] Mode Sense: 03 00 00 00
sd 7:0:0:0: [sdb] Assuming drive cache: write through
sd 7:0:0:0: [sdb] 8027789 512-byte hardware sectors (4110 MB)
sd 7:0:0:0: [sdb] Write Protect is off
sd 7:0:0:0: [sdb] Mode Sense: 03 00 00 00
sd 7:0:0:0: [sdb] Assuming drive cache: write through
sdb: sdb1
sd 7:0:0:0: [sdb] Attached SCSI removable disk
sd 7:0:0:0: Attached scsi generic sg2 type 0

ps : notice that it now shows 4110MB instead of 4103MB earlier. not that it matters though.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 18, 2008 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hirakendu wrote:
btw, the cd-drive does show up in windows too before running the uninstaller

Yes. And worse!: it loads some u3 programs, too. (Pops up stuff at the taskbar and whatnot.) At least you "just" have the annoying "cd drive" on linux/osx. ;)

hirakendu wrote:
yep, the cd-drive is gone.

Woohoo! :D

Thanks for taking the time to post the results.

hirakendu wrote:
ps : notice that it now shows 4110MB instead of 4103MB earlier. not that it matters though.

Woohoo! :D

Although an increase of 7MB doesn't really matter much on a 4GB drive, it's still interesting. Verifies the report I read somewhere.

Now. To figure out how to do it on linux. :wink: :lol:
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 18, 2008 7:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks a lot :D. even though it would be interesting to do it from linux, it may not be worth the effort. i did realize earlier (when i stopped chasing it) that its not just a virtual cd-drive, but quite something in the firmware. so, the uninstaller is in some sense flashing the firmware (similar to updating bios) may be. it may be very simple, but they have secured it nicely. whats funny is, they say uninstallation is irreversible :o :D.

at that time, i had even nuked the flash drive (literally zeroing mbr and resetting) :
Code:
dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdb bs=512 count=1
lilo -M /dev/sdb
cfdisk /dev/sdb
...

but the virtual cd-drive stayed on :).

for the record, that u3 thing is totally uncool. i am sure most people are down-to-business and don't appreciate this kind of intrusive stuff which takes up resources - today its just few mb's of space on flash drive and system and cpu resources to run this (imagine on a pentium3 with 128mb ram struggling to keep up with xp :o), tomorrow its internet bandwidth to download updates. and nothing is more nagging than another *pop-up* start menu that occupies precious pixels of your screen (think netbooks :p), and that too starting from the system tray which has a serious dearth of space - thats the height of agony. ok, enough of venting. also, i would have cribbed in the same tone, even if they had put something like splashtop or olpc in that 7MB.

ps : and take my '7MB doesn't really matter' comment with a grain of salt. i won't forget that once to get my on board nvidia graphics running on a network less redhat 8 machine 5 years back, i had to take 4 floppies and a file splitter to bring the nvidia driver installer of size 5MB or so from an internet cafe.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2008 8:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just to continue on the `uncoolness' of the u3 cruft and the virtual cd drive --- some internet cafés have a setup allowing users to access "one extra drive", apart from the usual stuff that is. Which in normal circumstances covers a user inserting a usb memory stick. ("Oh, a new drive? Let's see, are you allowed to view that. Mm. Ah yes, allowed to access `one extra drive'; go right ahead, sir.")

But in the case of these u3 sticks, some setups see that fancy "cd drive" as the "one extra drive", and thus shows that instead of the actual usb drive. Oh how many time haven't I groaned about this! :evil: Had to ask the admin of the internet café to come and help, allow access to the actual usb drive, and so on. (After the uninstaller has done it's thing, everything works as it should, of course. The one extra drive is the actual usb drive, and all is well.)

You're probably right about the uninstaller flashing the firmware. I read somewhere that it might, in theory at least, be possible to have the u3 thingy update itself (yes! parts of your nightmare scenario is already true! U3 checks for updates over the internet! 8O ... Well, to be fair, I am not sure it does it automatically. But I would not bet on that it doesn't.) --- but redirecting it's update to the local computer, and maybe in this way managing to remove it --- however this would also require windows, I think. As the updater surely only runs under that os. (Hmm... Maybe that would be possible under wine? But who am I kidding, I wouldn't know how to go about that at all in the first place, nevermind wine or not. :lol:)
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