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Thin Client and Virtual Machines Thread, USB data pens? in Technical; We currently have three suites of thin clients which, in my mind, perform quite well (although our staff beg to ...
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    Ravening_Wolf's Avatar
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    USB data pens?

    We currently have three suites of thin clients which, in my mind, perform quite well (although our staff beg to differ).

    I am aware that there are often issues with access to USB drives but our setup appears to be fortunate in that we can read from and write said devices. Unfortunately though, not all USB pen drives work. Some do and some don't without any common linking factor.

    Does anyone know if there are any undocumented compatibility issues with Wyse 9150 terminals and USB drives? I'm getting lots of grief from staff on this one.

    All help gratefully received.

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    Ric_'s Avatar
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    Re: USB data pens?

    IIRC some USB drives (usually the cheaper ones) do not conform to the removable storage standards. As a consequence they do not appear as a 'proper' drive to the client OS and they will not work correctly in a terminal session.

    The best thing to do is to tell your staff to stop buying USB drives containing calculator memory! Another trickis to log on with a USB drive that does work so that the drive gets mapped and then swap it whilst logged into the terminal session... this sometimes tricks it.

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    ninjabeaver's Avatar
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    Re: USB data pens?

    Also beware of the new Disgo U3 drives (I think its U3). They wish to install two drives. One as a USB Drive CD-ROM with the software on, then a second with the actuall USB Drive on it. Utter pain, and I've banned them.

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    Irazmus's Avatar
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    Re: USB data pens?

    Is it possible to convert these 'smart' U3 drives to normal flash drives so they work as expected (or at all). I'd rather not have to ban them outright as half the staff have them, but they keep asking for admin access in order to run >_<

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    mark's Avatar
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    Re: USB data pens?

    Yes - it destroys the U3 functionality tho'

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    Irazmus's Avatar
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    Re: USB data pens?

    What useful functionality does the U3 actually add? The only possible benefit I see is the encryption, but since they're only used as dumb devices, that really won't make much difference here.

    Or am I again missing the blindingly obvious?

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    Re: USB data pens?

    hmm. I think it adds a start menu for portable applications, other than that portable apps seem to work anyway.
    http://portableapps.com/apps

    wikipedia gives these pros/cons

    Benefits

    * Software can be taken with all its personalised settings to any computer running a compatible version of Microsoft Windows, with no need to install the software if not already there, or to use different settings and options, and no need for administrator access privileges.
    * Software is available from the U3 site, including amongst others Trillian, OpenOffice.org, Filezilla (FTP app), Firefox (Internet Browser), Sudoku (Game), Skype (Phone calls from your computer).
    * Programs are run from the Launchpad, functionally similar to the Windows Start menu familiar to most users of Windows XP.
    * New software can be downloaded to a U3 flash drive without the requirement for administrative privileges on the host computer.
    * Many U3 drives come with virus protection software which gives protection against being infected by or spreading computer viruses.
    * Some popular free portable application programs available at PortableApps.com for non-U3 flash drives have been adapted for use with U3 drives. They are available at the web sites of U3 and PortableApps.com.

    Criticisms

    Several criticisms have been made of the U3 platform. These criticisms are:

    * Closed Platform - The U3 platform is closed and only open to vendors that U3 chooses to admit.
    * Lack of Reliability - On some systems, U3 attempting to start up will cause the computer to freeze.
    * Stress on drives - USB flash drive technology was not originally designed to handle the large number of write operations associated with running software
    * Not Uninstallable - The U3 Launchpad cannot easily be uninstalled by an end-user. However, U3 has responded to this criticism as they have recently made available an uninstall feature on their website.[6] This is thanks to Best Buy's Geek Squad who in early 2006 raised the issue of not being able to uninstall with U3 and got them to write a uninstaller for first the Geek Squad branded drives and then all the U3 drives. Unfortunately, the uninstaller doesn't work in all cases. As of November 2006, U3 drives now come with an uninstaller on the USB drive itself.
    * Leaves Traces on Host PC - The U3 platform sometimes leaves behind files on a user's PC. This mainly occurs when the drive is improperly removed.
    * Data Security - Most U3 drives on the market feature a security lock within the U3 Launchpad. This loads the CD partition first and requires a password to be entered, otherwise the data partition will not load. The drive is supposed to seal itself after a certain number of invalid password entries, requiring a reformat.[7] Additionally, since the data partition is not encrypted, an end-user's data may not actually be secure as the U3 CD-ROM partition can be easily be used to store any program.[8]
    * Latest versions of Nero's InCD tend to be incompatible with U3. Since u3 mimics a CD drive, InCD tries to operate on it and freezes the system. The only solution is to uninstall InCD or get an older version of InCD. InCD is used for adding drag and drop functionality to CD-RWs and DVD-RWs.1
    * Compatibility - Some non-Windows users and users of older versions of Windows (pre-Windows 2000) experience problems using U3 drives, apparently because the emulation of a "vanilla" USB drive is imperfect.
    * Viruses - Some users may be uncomfortable with the automatic installation of the Launchpad software that arrives on each U3 drive, since this would make a terrific virus vector.
    * Problems - Where a user has insufficient privileges he may run into problems getting the launcher to work. In such a case the launcher might actually prove a hinderance to using the device

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    I was having the same problem with the WYSE Terminals we have here. The problem was that as WYSE don't have Hard Disks, the USB drives were mounting to drive letters that users are not allowed access to. This was really annoying as i was getting constant agro from the staff and students alike.

    After ages looking around on the net for a solution, i found a service you can download and install (free for educational establishments) that make it so you can specify what drive letter to mount the drive to. This solved my problem, and works so well i've started installing it on all the computers i install. I've not had a single problem since installing this 6 months ago.

    You can download it from the following site:


    http://www.uwe-sieber.de/usbdlm_e.html

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