So the other day I went over to Staples and bought a 2GB SanDisk Cruzer Micro USB Flash Drive, for the pretty low price of $24.98 (including rebate, which Staples makes ridiculously easy). Really nice price, considering I once bought a 256 MB drive for $60.
I have no complaints with the drive. I deleted the junk software that SanDisk put on the drive, and it works just fine under Linux, and on the Mac. I love it. It fits on my keychain, has a retractable USB plug, and looks cute. It'll carry around just about anything I want.
On the Mac, though, two partitions show up. The first is just the partition I see in Linux. The second, however, is labeled U3 and contains the software I deleted off the main partition: the windows only U3 Launchpad and application software. In a partition that Linux doesn't see and Mac OS X won't touch.
Plug this into a Windows XP box and it autolaunches. OK, you can remove the software, but only under windows, and only if Launchpad is running. I'm scared to death to stick it into our one and only XP box to see if I can do it. Apparently one can reformat the drive under Linux, but if I screw it up, I've got a $25 bit of plastic and silicon that's not heavy enough to make a good paperweight.
So what's the problem? Leave it alone, right? But big pendrives are great for Sneakernet applications. Suppose I want to carry a big file to a friend's Windows box? Up pops Launchpad, which should at least freak him out, if it doesn't cause any other problems. I know U3 vets all the software it allows on the drive, but it's still running programs on a friend's computer that he didn't give me permission to run. And then there is our own XP box, Hal's evil twin, which has the nice printer attached to it. I'd really like to Sneaker my files onto it, but not with this drive as long as it has U3 on it.
So I ask my small community of readers: Anyone successfully reformat a 2GB Cruzer, removed the U3 stuff, and still have a drive that can be read under Linux, OS X, and Windows? Leave details in the comments.