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The Cruzer is a what floppy disks will evolve into
One end of the Cruzer plugs in to a USB port. The other end accepts Secure Digital (SD) cards and it is sold with SD cards of various capacities. The documentation says it also can accept Multi Media Cards (MMC). It is about the size of a cigarette lighter. The end part that plugs in to the USB port is retractable. These gripes are for Model SDCZ1 with 64 meg of storage.
| <== The Cruzer with the USB connection extended
The Cruzer with the USB connection retracted and
October 11, 2002. It is flimsy. It seems to be made of cheap, light plastic.
A carrying case is supplied, however, it does not fully cover the Cruzer, one end is left exposed.
The Cruzer is too wide to fit in many USB ports directly, so a USB extension cord is provided. The cable however is only 2 inches. When I plugged the Cruzer into a mini-tower computer, it dangled in mid-air. Two inches was not long enough for the Cruzer to either rest on the floor or on the top of the computer.
It did not fit securely in at least one USB port, it wobbled a bit left and right.
The Cruzer was not recognized by Partition Magic version 6. The same version of Partition Magic does recognize an external USB based Maxtor hard disk but does not recognize another USB flash ram storage device (USB Drive).
October 19,2002. It does not fit well into the USB port of an ultra-light laptop. Specifically, when inserted into a Sharp PC-UM10 laptop computer the Cruzer is thicker than the computer. As a result it does not lie flat on the desktop, instead it is pushed up possibly damaging the Cruzer and/or the USB port. The provided cable would solve this problem, but part of the appeal of the Cruzer is ease of use and having to carry around a cable all the time is not ease of use. The 3 inch extension cable solved the problem, but when used on a tabletop, the Cruzer fit into the cable in such as way that it lies upside down on the table. As a result, you can't see the green activity light.
The Cruzer uses the FAT12 file system. When most people use the term FAT to represent a file system (as opposed to FAT32 or NTFS), they are actually referring to the FAT16 file system. FAT12 is used only on floppy disks. Under Windows 2000 (SP3) defrag would not run on the Cruzer 12 bit FAT file systems are not supported (defrag ran under Windows 98). There is no mention in the documentation about using other file systems on the Cruzer.
The Cruzer uses 16K clusters which can result in a brutal waste of storage space. For example, a small text file of 2,000 bytes will occupy 16,384 bytes on the Cruzer, wasting 14,334 bytes of space.
There were 3,805 clusters, for a total storage of 62,341,120 bytes (59.45 megabytes). Windows 98 agreed with this and reported a capacity of 59.4 megabytes. Windows 2000 SP3 also reported a capacity of 59.4 megabytes. The Cruzer is advertised as 64 meg.
The Cruzer was not recognized by Karen Kenworthy's Profiler program version 1.9 which said the type of file system was unknown.
This story ends happily however.
I asked Sandisk a question about the supported file systems on the Cruzer on October
13, 2002. They replied five days later that it does support the FAT16 and FAT32
file systems. Then when I asked them how to convert from FAT12 to FAT16,
they offered this suggestion:
My Computer -> Disk Drive Letter -> Right Click -> Format
I did this under Windows 2000 SP3 (Sandisk tech support said it would also work under Windows 98 and XP). For the file system, I took the default of FAT and for the Allocation Unit Size, I also took the default value of "Default allocation size". It ran fine and converted the Cruzer to the FAT16 file system with a much better cluster size of 1K (1,024 bytes). Windows 2000 will now defrag the Cruzer.
Interestingly, the reported total capacity of the device fell from 59.4 megabytes to 59.2 megabytes. A reader of this web page suggested this was because the FAT has more entries with FAT16 than with FAT12, because there are more clusters.
A Windows 98 computer that had already used another USB based flash memory device still required the driver for the Cruzer.
When using the Cruzer with Windows 98 there is no icon in the system tray indicating the device is installed. The documentation fails to mention this. This icon is used in other supported flavors of Windows to stop the device before removing it from the computer.
Defrag would not run on the Cruzer because it does not support a 12 bit FAT file system (defrag ran under Windows 98).
On both SP2 and SP3 the Cruzer generates errors on the Windows 2000 System Log. The source of the error is listed as the "removable storage service". The error number is 17. The error text is:
"RSM cannot manage library PhysicalDrive2. It encountered an unspecified error. This can be caused by a number of problems including, but not limited to, database corruption, failure communicating with the library, or insufficient system resources."
On another machine the physical drive that it complained about was 1, rather than 2.
October 13, 2002. I went to do some research into the file systems and cluster sizes that are allowed/supported on the Cruzer.
The tech support section of Sandisk's web site has FAQs for all their products, except for the Cruzer.
They have a web page where you can type in a tech support question. The list of the "primary products" that you can ask questions about does not include the Cruzer. The list of "platforms" also does not include the Cruzer. This is disgraceful.
FYI: Technical support and drivers are supposed to be available at www.sandisk.com/cruzer. It only has a link to a driver, nothing about technical support.
There is no printed documentation on this, just a PDF file on the included CD-ROM.
It only runs under Windows (no Macs) and only in English.
|Page last updated: October 31, 2002|