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How to remove U3 from Sandisk jump/flash drives on GNU/Linux

How to remove U3 from Sandisk jump/flash drives on GNU/Linux

For a long time, the U3 technology on sandisk cruzer devices has been annoying Windows and Linux users alike. The issue is that there is some hardware built into the device that maps part of the drive as a hardware CD-rom drive and performs some “big-brother” style property storage. The idea, in theory, is that using a sandisk cruzer would allow the device to store properties of applications you use commonly, all without your intervention. It also allows the drive to more easily be used as a boot device, as it pretends to be a USB CD-rom drive. And by the way, it also takes up extra storage on the device, so your 16gb flash drive is only usable at the ~14gb level with U3 installed. The icing on the cake is that until recently, there was no way, using open source software, to remove this “feature”. The only thing you could do is download the binary blob and find a windows pc and run the application on the device that flashes the firmware to remove the logic that sets up the CD-rom portion.

Not any more.

Doing “sudo apt-get install u3-tool” on debian based distros, or the like on most other distros, will give you a tool that allows you to manipulate the hardware controlling u3, all from the comfort of the linux command line.

To remove u3, first make a backup of your files on the device, if any. This is mainly a precaution, as some of the operations using u3-tool do retain data. For the sake of this article, it is wise to assume all your data will be irrecoverably destroyed. Just make a backup…

Then, execute the following steps:

  1. Do “sudo apt-get install u3-tool”, or the equivalent in your distribution.
  2. Plug in the flash drive.
  3. Observe that it mounts 2 different points by using the “df -h” command:

    /dev/sr1 6828 6828 0 100% /media/U3 System
    /dev/sdc1 15640000 108416 15531584 1% /media/A3CC-70F0

    apparently sr1 seems to be common to most cruzers, but sdc1 will likely be slightly different for you, as it depends on how many drives you have installed. In this case, /dev/sdc1 is the drive with U3 on it.

  4. We want to hit the main device mount with the remove command, so I target sdc1 in this case. Your target may be slightly different, but you should be able to identify it by choosing the drive that is closest to the size of the flash drive. If you have more than one of the same size, just unplug the flash drive and see which one sticks around. then plug it back in.
  5. Execute “sudo u3-tool -p 0 /dev/sdc1”, where /dev/sdc1 is your actual device you found in step 3 and 4
  6. cd back to the device root mounted at something like /media/A3CC-70F0 and “rm -rf /media/A3CC-70F0/System” and “rm LaunchU3.exe”
  7. you now should have a clean device

How to remove a broken exhaust manifold stud

How to remove a broken exhaust manifold stud

I recently had the distinct pleasure of needing to remove a broken exhaust manifold stud from an aluminum cylinder head on my drag racing car, even when using a torque wrench graduated in inch/lbs. As you may well know, there are only 3 types of people in this world. Ones that have not yet broken a stud, those that have already, and those that never will.

Well, congratulations are in order, because I graduated from class 1 into class 2 in a flurry of expletives. I had just completed a porting job on my exhaust manifold, and in the process of bolting it back up, the last stud (always) decided to break on me. Now, this isn’t one of those “easy break” deals, either. The remainder of the stud was recessed with respect to the plane of the head. So, it is with much reluctance, I now had a research project on my hands.

After searching the web for a while, the conclusion I came to is that the “easy way” is to take it to a machine shop. Well, that just isn’t good enough for me. I figured the machine shop might only charge $40 or $60 bucks for it, but then there are all the gaskets to buy and the downtime to deal with and on and on. There has to be a better way.

Well, there is. And I documented it for all of my readers. Here it is.. enjoy!