How to Make a Regular USB Drive into a U3 Smart Drive

By Gregory Thompson

Flash drives are wonderful devices that have a number of uses. Some USB drives include U3 software that makes running software, backing up files, and storing media easy. For the rest of the jump drives that are void of the U3 software, you can follow simple instructions to make a regular USB drive into a U3 Smart Drive. The software is free to download and can be used on just about any flash drive, though it's recommended that you use it on a flash drive with 512 MB or more of storage.

Things You'll Need

  • Flash drive (at least 512 MB of storage)
  • Internet connection
  • Computer

Step 1

Go to the U3 website (see Resources) and click on the tab at the top that reads "Download U3 Smart Software." Click on "Enter U3 Software Central" to get to the download page.

Step 2

On the right side of the page, you'll see a box that says "U3 Launchpad Version x.x Released." The x.x will list the latest version. Click on "Update your drive today" and save the file to your computer.

Step 3

Insert the flash drive on which you want to install the U3 Smart Software into a USB port.

Step 4

Find the program you just saved on your computer and run it. Go through the appropriate prompts until the program begins to install itself on your flash drive. Depending on the speed of your computer and transfer rate of the flash drive, this may take a few minutes.

Step 5

After the U3 software is installed, remove the flash drive and reinsert it into the computer. The U3 software will take over and place an icon on the desktop or in the application tray that you can click. When you click the U3 icon, a window pops up (like the Start button in Windows) with the programs that are installed and other tasks you can perform, such as "Explore the Drive," "Format the Drive," and "Eject the Drive."

Step 6

The U3 website has additional software to install on the flash drive. Some applications are free, but most are trial versions or limited-use programs.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use a 2GB or higher flash drive so that you can still have room to save other files.Many portable applications are available that are not associated with U3, such as OpenOffice.org Portable and a variety of portable web browsers. Go to the developers' websites to see if there are portable applications available.
  • Ensure you have a portable antivirus program on the flash drive, especially if you want to use the flash drive in a computer you aren't familiar with. The U3 software comes with McAfee Portable Scanner installed.