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Remove U3 Software From Your USB Flash Drive

5.14.2006 | Link to this post

I do all of the technology buying for my department at work. Last week I ordered a Verbatim 1GB U3 Store and Go USB drive from Buy.com. It was only $22 after rebate. You can't beat that.

When I ordered it, I knew that it came with U3 software. This is software that most of the major flash drive manufacturers are loading on their drives. Basically, the U3 software allows you to "carry your favorite software, preferences, profiles, and data" on your USB drive. This is pretty neat. No matter which computer you're at, you can still run your favorite browser, email program, and many other apps and when you're done, they leave no trace on the computer.

While the U3 software is neat, we really had no use for it at work. Unfortunately, when you plug the drive in, it pops up the U3 splash screen, adds an icon to your system tray, and mounts some sort of CD drive in My Computer in addition to the drive itself. There isn't any spyware involved, and everything goes away when you remove the USB drive, but this could really freak somebody out if you gave them your USB drive.

No big deal, I thought. I'll just format the drive and that will get rid of it. Wrong. It was still there after the format. So I called Verbatim and talked to their tech support (who answered the phone quickly, by the way). I was told that the U3 software is on a separate hidden partition and cannot be deleted. I couldn't believe it. They are actually going to force people to deal with U3 even if they have no use for it? Apparently so.

I figured someone else had this problem, so I googled it. I was surprised at how few relevant results there were. Luckily, I found a downloadable program that removes the U3 software from the drive. I found it in a BetaOne forum. Strangely, the removal software is copyrighted by Geek Squad, and the user interface looks almost identical to the U3 software. At any rate, it works.

Since the removal software is so hard to find, I thought I'd post it here so anyone can remove the U3 software if they don't want it. The link below is to the uninstaller that I got from RapidShare Web Hosting. I can't make any guarantees, but it worked perfectly for me.

U3 Uninstaller

Update: U3's own website now has the uninstaller available for download.


posted by Caleb @ 5/14/2006 12:56:00 PM

Reader Comments:

Thank you so much for that program. U3 might be a fine program but until I decide to use it I don't want anything to do with it. You just saved me from having to yell at some guy doing tech support in India and causing an international incident by telling him his sacred cow was eaten for dinner last night.
In the interests of world peace I thank you.

B. James
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 6/4/06 10:53 AM

 
"They are actually going to force people to deal with U3 even if they have no use for it?"
NO. There are still plenty of USB drives that do not come with U3! There is no reason to buy one if you do not want it!
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 6/8/06 1:18 PM

 
So what if one wanted to re-install all the original U3 stuff the Sandisk Cruisewr mirco came with, huh? Thats the launcher too.
And linkd out there to show how that is done?
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 6/11/06 4:15 PM

 
They should have charged for the uninstaller.

1) Sell expensive hardware with shitty unstoppable software.
2) Make uninstaller hard to find
3) ???
4) Profit!!!
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 6/13/06 2:21 AM

 
Ignore the unenlightened. Thanks bunches for tracking down the U3 uninstaller. Ah, freedom. Tabula Rasa.
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 6/14/06 4:19 PM

 
Thank you so much for the program that removes U3. I got 2 thumb drive with it on and I don't need it so I was happy that you posted it and I tried it and it works great. Thanks again
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 6/18/06 9:49 PM

 
I was pretty excited to get such a cheap 'memory stick,' but was grinding my teeth with regard to the U3 stuff.

It's seems to be a good idea (U3), but I had no need for it -- since I foolishly made the purchase without fully realizing what I'd be getting.

It's also changed a few of my shortcut icons somehow...

Anyhow, I just wanted to say thanks for the Uninstaller as it has just made my day!

-- Joe Shmoe
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 6/21/06 11:14 AM

 
The uninstaller is also available from U3: http://www.u3.com/uninstall/
then you can use the drive like a traditional data storage device (but the removal is permenant).
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 6/22/06 11:26 AM

 
THANKS for solving my problem!
I bought a ScanDisk 2GB Cruzer stick that had U3 on it and it was causing TREMENDOUS grief at work (a major aerospace company).
TWO things worth noting:
1) you must have Admin privileges to run the Uninstall program (which meant I could not do it at work), and
2) if the U3 software "deleted" your IExplorer Favorites like it did for me, it actually just re-directed my IExplorer to the C drive for Favorites (where I work, Favorites are stored on the D drive). You may see no affect.

In the future, I'll be coming to this site FIRST for help!

Tim Schauf
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 6/27/06 12:39 PM

 
It's a stupid annoying senseless (ad nauseum) marketing ploy for "U3 Subscriptions". I bought a SanDisk Cruzer Micro WITH (unfortunately) U3. I was able to MOVE all the files to a hard drive archive, but when I installed the 'purged' FlashDrive onto a different machine, it STILL loaded the virtual CD drive crap.

Evidently, there is NO Win98-SE driver for the Cruzer U3. If I clean everything off, does anyone know of a driver source for Win98-SE ???
posted by Anonymous webtest : 6/29/06 5:16 PM

 
"There is no reason to buy one if you do not want it"

Well I bought it because it was on sale with a nice rebate and I didn't know what u3 was at the time. Now I know and I didn't want it. Thanks for the uninstaller. It worked great!!
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 7/4/06 10:13 PM

 
To the WIDJIT (spelling intentional) who said "There are still plenty of USB drives that do not come with U3! There is no reason to buy one if you do not want it!":

Sure -- if'n ya don' mind spendin' mo' moneh! (Sorry, I often seem to regress to the level of speaking of those I'm talk to.)

The USB drive makers are selling these things *noticably* cheaper WITH the U3 crap so it'll look like it's a big success and everyone wants it - welcome to Marketing 101.
posted by Anonymous CaptainBrowncoat : 7/30/06 1:16 PM

 
Thanks for providing this download!

I considered nuking U3 to remove it from my USB drive (a 2GB Kingston Data Traveler), but after thinking about it, it would be nice to keep and use with WinPE as a bootable device, e.g. for running with offline spyware removal tools.

In the mean time, the compatibility check Microsoft runs is pretty stringent, so here's a method to disable it (this worked on the Kingston drive mentioned above, which previously wasn't recognised as ReadyBoost compatible):

- launch regedit and navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\EMDMgmt

- create a new key as a DWORD (32)Value called SkipBusCheck

- edit this new key to change the value from 0 (its default) to 1

Vista should now be more lenient and if you safely remove and reinsert a USB drive that previously wasn't recognised, it should now work.
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 9/5/06 3:34 PM

 
This is great, it was such a pain to close all of the U3 software out everytime. Love the fact that I can insert my drive and not have to go through minutes worth of closing before I can actually pull something from the drive.
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 10/30/06 10:30 AM

 
I had to yell at a guy in India too. U3 sucks and they are trying to force use. Thanks for providing the link for th removal software.
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 11/9/06 7:35 PM

 
Why not just rename the autorun file so it won't run? I haven't tried it but it seems to me that would disable the U3 software.

-Jeff
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 11/14/06 11:57 AM

 
Thanks tons for this program. I was NOT a happy camper when I stuck it into my puter and discovered that it read "disk full". It took me a couple of days to figure it out, but I did and now I have 1G of usable thumb drive. I can't even begin to imagine how many people have $60 worth of fancy plastic purchased at Walmart and have NOT a clue in the world what to do with it! What a sales gimmick!

grace
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 11/14/06 7:59 PM

 
I am unable to use the installer as the program gives an error message saying that it can only remove one u3 program at a time. It says to close one of the programs and try again. Since it opens 2 separate drives I can't remove one of the drives. Any help on this one???
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 12/22/06 10:27 AM

 
Thanks a TON! Boy that U3 is annoying. If that is value added then I need value removed.
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 12/28/06 8:19 AM

 
U3 has embarassed me many times when I present on a PC in front of a class. Thanks, geekyjock! You saved the day once again :)
posted by Anonymous April : 1/1/07 4:17 PM

 
i believe you just solved the 3rd world county problems with this uninstaller. I don't know how you did it, but you did. Thank you!
posted by Anonymous April Baird : 2/15/07 11:36 AM

 
the u3 website has a direct uninstaller:

http://www.u3.com/uninstall/
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 2/15/07 9:26 PM

 
The Sandisk U3 cruzer comes with it's own unistaller which in the launchpad. Select Status and Settings options and then the Remove option it takes less than a minute and is a lot easier for searching the web for unistallers of which there are several including the one on Sandisk's site. U3 is not a ploy to sell you unistallers it is a ploy to to sell you the mini applications to load on your U3 launchpad which will never work because of the restrictions most system's admin put on networked PCs because of licencing laws.
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 2/18/07 8:40 PM

 
Tried to use the uninstaller that comes integrated as part of U3. It froze, so I used task manager to stop it. Now the flash drive is not recognized by the computer or any programs running (including the uninstaller that is linked from this site). Any ideas?
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 2/27/07 2:17 AM

 
Thanks for this much needed uninstaller!! This $!@#$% u3 software that I never asked for was driving me up the wall.
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 3/7/07 1:37 PM

 
you are my hero - the last straw came when that u3 software froze/crashed my boss's computer. Thanks for this.
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 3/7/07 5:31 PM

 
Should you ever want U3 back you can get a little application from portableapps.com that does almost everything the U3 does!

I reccomend it over U3.
posted by Anonymous Oliver : 4/3/07 2:27 PM

 
I can't say thanks enough for providing this uninstaller. I just got a 1 Gb flash drive from Staples, and it came with this U3 stuff. It might be good if you need it, but all I need is all the room on the drive I can extract. The uninstaller worked beautifully in about 2 minutes.
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 4/14/07 12:34 PM

 
U3 is great, it offers password protection of your whole drive, and also creates a nice way for you to use all your programs(supported by U3 which is beyond enough, portable apps does work on U3 also.) But these drives are cheaper than the non-U3 ones at this point. My second drive is an attache and contained an outdated version that was un-upgradeable, so I tossed U3 on that drive(attache doesn't support any upgrade at this point in time). U3 is great. Give it time eventually you will come to the point where you want to be able to have your own fully customizable Firefox browser and not touch a single file on the host computer.(or other program)
The Sandisk U3's are bearable, most of the annoyances voiced here are not an issue on Sandisk(newest update) U3 drives anymore.
posted by Anonymous Saik0 : 4/15/07 1:12 AM

 
Thanks for the link. I cc the comments that I made when downloading the removal tool form U3 below:

it is crap, restrictive (user free will, non user customizable), with a unacceptable performance overhead. Also out of principle, you did not even give users the choice not to accept it or a warning as to the significant detracting factor of this software product. Some users are not idiots and to stop them from using there hardware how and when they like is insulting. I like the concept that you have but the way you do it is in appropriate and in my mind underhanded. If and when you get some ethics I may consider your software. At the moment I am a staunch avicout against it even to those that I know would benefit.

I hope you understand the level of disgust that I have for any company that sells you something in the (oh and by the way this product has U3) when it is a forced integrated tool that is not able to be removed from the physical package for those that do not want it.
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 5/6/07 8:59 PM

 
I wanted to say thank you very much for posting this as well. This annoying and cheesy software was driving me nuts.
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 7/10/07 2:09 PM

 
U3 software is annoying to say the least.
Check out snapfiles.com for some alternative, non-invasive software to load onto your USB drive
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 7/19/07 5:00 PM

 
Thank you for the uninstaller. I always buy drives without U3, but couldn't pass a deal on a Toshiba 4GB for $29. The annoying U3 actually made me put away this 4GB and continue using my other Toshiba 1GB (didn't came with U3)instead. Then came when I needed about 2GB worth of space to carry my work around and suffered each time I plugged in and plugged out. I am just used to plug open and work. My work computer need admin privileges and it would take time to verify. U3 is very annoying. The uninstaller worked as stated and now I have work to do. Thanks alot!!
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 7/23/07 12:45 PM

 
Thx man really helped me out = )
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 8/7/07 8:36 AM

 
Uhr... guys... i suppose it works great, and i really want to get rid of that u3 mess, but is it normal that it's taking so long? it's been about 15 minutes now on a 2 GB scandisk cruzer...

Tresken
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 8/8/07 7:04 AM

 
Holy hell! Thank you thank you thank you! I just picked up a 1GB stick for $20AU (pretty cheap I must say) but it came with this U3 crap. After wrestling with it for an hour or so I found your page with the uninstaller. All fixed up now.

I only bought the thing to boot MicroXP off it, I don't need all this U3 shit telling me what I can supposedly do with -MY- stick.
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 8/11/07 12:44 AM

 
you could be intelligent, and... you know... hit the big UNINSTALL U3 in the U3 start menu. (it's under settings)
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 9/10/07 4:26 PM

 
I've got a Sandisk with the U3 Software on it. Fortuneately, Sandisk has their U3 uninstaller on their downloads page.
posted by Blogger Michael : 9/10/07 11:01 PM

 
I used to like U3 but now I've realized that PortableApps is much better. It has accomplished the same thing without having to install ANYTHING on the PC.
posted by Blogger Carson : 9/11/07 6:03 PM

 
The removal isn't permanent, as you can reinstall the U3 software again if you want to give the drive away or something. The previous uninstaller was made by Geek Squad because all of their data drives had U3 on them so they needed to get it off. (p.s. I work for Best Buy ^_^)
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 9/12/07 1:10 AM

 
Gracias, usted es una buena persona.
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 11/11/07 5:23 PM

 
Love it! Thanks Geeky!
posted by Anonymous Alnasi : 12/17/07 4:01 PM

 
Thank you for helping me get rid of U3!
posted by Anonymous Catharina : 12/18/07 8:14 AM

 
Thanks for the info! I've now got exactly what I intended on paying for!
posted by Anonymous CrazyWolves : 1/3/08 3:08 AM

 
I bought the 4 GB Micro Cruzer at Staples with U3 last night. I knew I had to disable it and for the $35 price tag, it was worth my time. I did it before on a $29 1 GB cruzer by deleting the autorun files.

This one, however, is a pain because it lauches first an embedded CD emulation and makes the computer think that you can't change the read-only condition of a CD. You can't rename files or extensions, either.

I tried to use the uninstaller that came with the 4 GB cruzer, but it has a bug that says you can't uninstall more than one U3 device at a time. On my computer the unit launches a small "L" partition with all of the files, as well as a wide open 3.8 GB "M" partition. MMmmmm....

So, to get around this, I merely went into control panel-system CD-DVD devices, and DISABLED the San Disk CD.

I lost about 6 MBs of space, and the drive letter is still skipped, but at least it doesn't keep launching the U3 software.

Windows XP, MEDIA EDITION Sony Vaio Desktop
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 1/12/08 9:42 AM

 
UPDATE TO MY PREVIOUS ANONYMOUS COMMENT:
I went to the U3.com site and used the NON-SanDisk utility to clear my Cruzer. I did not get the silly "only one U3 device" comment that I got when using the SanDisk
U3 removal utility. However, I am still skipping a drive letter. I can live with it!
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 1/12/08 10:16 AM

 
Thank you very much, U3 if really annoying becuase it means I cant use my drive at school/college becuase the computers are set not to let you add system tray icons or something stupid like that.

Thanks,
Jules.
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 1/15/08 2:24 PM

 
I got a 2GB SanDisk Cruzer on sale for $15 and knew that there was a way of getting U3 off... thanks so much!
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 2/18/08 1:34 PM

 
I wanted to still run Windows apps using U3, so, I did the one-click solution to disable U3 Launchpad security.

--Monte
posted by Blogger Monte Hayward : 3/2/08 10:54 AM

 
Thanks so much for this.

I found U3 extremely annoying and unnecessary!
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 3/31/08 8:51 PM

 
Thanks for the link to the U3 uninstall prrogram. It worked great for me. But I have an additional question.
The Best Buy Geek Squad 4Gb drive still only shows as 3.75 Gb. I imagine that's because the partition is still there, even though the G3 software has been removed. Re-formatting the "F" drive doesn't help.
How can I get rid of the partition ?
Thanks,
Tom
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 4/18/08 10:56 PM

 
Whoever is interested:
The uninstaller from u3.com comes in version 1.031 while the hosted version here is 1.0
posted by Anonymous Update-Notifier : 4/19/08 6:02 PM

 
Thnaks for posting the uninstaller. What a bunch of aholes that sell the U3 nonesense in order to get you to buy more sogtware, and then make it next to impossible to remove.

The packaging clearly indicated the product was a flash drive storage device, with nothing indicating you were locked into all of this other nonsense.

I spent too much time on their website trying to locate the uninstall - thanks again for saving me additional time with your post.
posted by Anonymous Greg : 4/26/08 4:27 PM

 
I'm another satisfied customer. THANKS!!
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 5/12/08 1:23 AM

 
YES! finally!
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 6/14/08 9:57 PM

 
Thank you very much! I wanted to personally thank you because the software was really bugging me as I had no idea my new Geek Squad flash drive would come with this pesky U3 software. Thanks!!!
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 6/16/08 2:05 PM

 
Thanks!

When I bought the drive I assumed that the U3 system was just another pointless and easily-deleted bit of compression software so it didn't worry me.

I don't use a Windows machine at home or in my office, so the first time I even realised that the software was still there after formatting the disk was when I plugged it into the Windows computer we use to run a £50,000 piece of equipment. Which promptly crashed.

All I need to do now is find someone who has a standalone Windows box I can use to run the uninstall program...
posted by Blogger Bugs : 6/17/08 6:39 AM

 
Finally the nightmare is over. Thank you!
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 7/6/08 9:52 PM

 
Thank you for the U3 uninstall program. Worked great!
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 8/29/08 1:33 PM

 
Brilliant.
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 9/29/08 6:45 AM

 
great link. the removal tool was excellent. To all the folks who said to use the U3 uninstall menu option... you're all not very helpful. The menu option didn't work for me and probably many others. Why else would we searching for a cure to this new type of virus. Thanks again for the great link!! Herb K.
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 12/18/08 4:35 AM

 
OMG> thank you sooo much. i had been downloading a bunch of these uninstallers(including the one from the U3 website) and none of them were working. THen i found yours and BAM. worked like a charm. Remeber to back up your files somewhere on your computer cause it erases EVERYTHING.
posted by OpenID musicasaweaponfl : 2/18/09 8:08 PM

 
Thanks for this page - great.

A tip which might be useful to some - if you buy a drive with U3 on it and don't want it to interfere with your system before you remove it, disable autorun for removable drives before you plug it in for the first time. For Windows XP, the instructions are here: http://antivirus.about.com/od/securitytips/ht/autorun.htm - follow steps 11 to 15.
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 2/22/09 5:55 AM

 
Thanks a bunch
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 3/8/09 12:21 AM

 
webtest...

Google "nusb3.3" for your Win98SE box (or "ppak", which also has it). It provides a usb_stor driver for flash drives, as well as usb2 support. Follow directions exactly, and even then, you may need to run regedit to delete all previous references to your flash drives that have already had drivers loaded (then they'll be re-scanned and set up with nusb). Until this U3 crap, it's read every drive I've thrown at it, including an external Acomdata 60GB HD!

Now to get rid of U3 - thanks, Chris!
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 3/19/09 7:49 AM

 
The U3 software comes with it's own uninstaller. I clicked on Settings>U3 Launchpad Settings>Uninstall and there it was. It completely removes the U3 partition and software for you without having to download or run any software at all.
This may be a recent addition by the fine folks at U3, I don't know, but it was there, and I used it to my great satisfaction.

Thanks for posting this anyway, I was on the verge of downloading and using it until I found the U3 Settings.
posted by Anonymous Roger : 5/4/09 1:46 PM

 
Thank you SO much. I was just about to lose my mind, and you prevented that for happening.
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 5/11/09 2:23 AM

 
Thank you for posting this. I could not see any use for the U3 software and it was starting to get on my nerves.
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 5/30/09 6:14 PM

 
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU
THE U3 FILES ON MY USB HAVE BEEN
DRIVING ME NUTS FOR A LONG TIME
AND NOW THEY ARE GONE!
YIPPEE!
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 7/29/09 1:01 PM

 
Thx a million bro!
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 7/31/09 11:41 AM

 
Thank you so much for this, I'd been trying to find a way to get rid of U3 for ages.
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 8/17/09 9:15 AM

 
Thanks a lot for spending ur valuable time in posting the U3 uninstaller link. It worked for me.
Once again Thanks a lot..
posted by Blogger Ravi Kiran Derisala : 10/4/09 4:53 PM

 
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