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Review: Kingston's new USB drive offers public and encrypted partitions

DataTraveler drive is fast and easy to use and allows users to safely lend them to colleagues

January 26, 2010 03:09 PM ET

Computerworld - USB sticks have offered pretty much the same functionality over the past year or so. So when Kingston announced a new DataTraveler Locker USB Flash Drive that offered partitioning capability, I took notice.

Kingston's new thumb drive offers the somewhat stand-out capability of allowing a user to set up an encrypted partition to safeguard some of that data, while allowing the remaining drive space to be open and accessible by anyone. I find this useful because I'm often lending my USB drive to friends who want a simple way to transfer files or temporarily save some data.

Sure you can trick a Windows system into creating partitions on a USB stick by flipping the Removable Media Bit, making it appear as a permanent or fixed drive, however, it's possible that solution could render your drive unusable.

So I liked that this product offers a reliable way to quickly set up a partition on a USB stick.

Kingston makes two versions of its encryptable DataTraveler, dubbed the Locker and the Locker+. The Locker+ automatically encrypts everything stored on the drive using 256-bit hardware-based AES encryption. The Locker allows a user to partition space and encrypt one of the two partitions with the AES algorithm.

Kingston's new thumb drive offers the somewhat stand-out capability of allowing a user to set up an encrypted partition to safeguard some of that data, while allowing the remaining drive space to remain open
Kingston's DataTraveler Locker+ USB flash drive

Like most other USB sticks with encryption features, the DataTraveler Locker+ drive set up is as simple as one, two, three. You type in a password and reminder; your name and company; and then select "OK". That's it. Everything you save to the drive is now automatically encrypted.

Kingston's DataTraveler Locker (sans +) setup isn't much more difficult. Once plugging it into your USB port, it will show up as a drive and you double click on "DTencryptor". Setting up the partition is intuitive and fast. Pop up boxes guide you along asking to first pick a language, then to pick whether or not you want a "privary zone" -- as it calls the encrypted partition.

The software asks you to choose a password for the encrypted partition and then allows you to choose the size of the partition with an easy-to-use sliding scale. The slide scale on my 16GB capacity drive allowed me to partition up to 13.7GB of secure space. One programming error on both evaluation drives Kingston sent me was that the partitioning tool listed the drive capacity in megabytes, not gigabytes, incorrectly identifying 16MB of available capacity, even though there was 16GB. I'm sure Kingston will get around to fixing that, but I thought it was important to give potential customers a heads up.

The DataTraveler Locker+ comes in capacities of up to 32GB, and the Locker comes with capacities of up to 16GB. The drive's size is pretty standard: 2.58-in x 0.71-in x 0.41-in.



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