SanDisk Cruzer Pro, Enterprise secure USB Flash drives

Pay a premium, get password protection

So if we 'borrow' your drive, we can clear its contents, and you won't know until you come to type in your password and find it's no longer accepted. Of course, you too can reformat and assign a new password, and copy over data afresh. Just don't keep anything on your Cruzer Pro you can't afford to lose, OK?

SanDisk Cruzer Pro software
SanDisk's CruzerPro software

There is an advantage to this: if you forget your password, at least you can reclaim the lost space, just not any data that may be stored on it. Incidentally, formatting the drive to remove the private space altogether doesn't clear the CruzerPro app.

The CruzerPro software's login window allows you to mark a computer as a trusted machine, saving you from having to re-key your password whenever you're working on that machine.

The Cruzer Enterprise is an altogether more rigorously secure animal. Unlike the Pro, this drive mandates password protection and doesn't provide any room for a publicly accessible partition. From the start, you're presented with two partitions: a read-only one labelled 'Launcher' and the other appearing to Windows as an unloaded removable drive. Double-clicking the 'Launcher' icon invokes SanDisk's control software, which asks for a password of 6-16 characters, a restriction the CruzerPro doesn't impose. We say six characters, but you actually need nine: three each of upper-case letters, lower-case letters, numbers or special characters. Until we entered a password containing three of the above, the software wouldn't let us proceed.

When it did, we were allowed access to the drive's entire storage capacity, give or take a little - the software and configuration files take some of it. A Cruzer icon appears in the System Tray to provide options to let you open the drive, format it - an all or nothing affair - or close down and eject the drive.

Re-inserting the drive puts the same two icons in 'My Computer', but this time double-clicking on 'Launcher' simply prompts you for a password. The panel has a link marked 'Forgot Password', which, if you agree to proceed, formats the drive and gets you to enter a new password. So as per the Pro, your data is protected but your ability to use the drive - or for someone else to - isn't.

The set-up process asks you for your contact details, presumably so that anyone who finds the drive and takes a peek inside can find out who to send it back to - there's a link to display this information in the login screen. If they do, applaud their honesty, as it's so easy for them to format the drive and use it as their own.

Next page: Verdict

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