Biometrics and Setup
According to Wikipedia, "biometrics is the study of automated methods for uniquely recognizing humans based upon one or more intrinsic physical or behavioral traits". In layman's terms, it is the ability to use the human body, your human body, to provide the security for your digital information.
In the case of the A-DATA thumb drive, it does so by allowing you to scan your own fingerprint into its storage area so as to secure your data. It also allows access to the data by means of a password that you can change so that others with a need to know can have access to the contents of the drive. All this is done automatically when you plug the drive into the USB port, so you might want to keep that USB extension handy to make it easier to access the scanner.
Since we now have a general idea of what this biometric security is about, let's take a closer look at what happens when we plug in the device.
Above is the first thing that pops up on the screen when you first try to access the thumb drive. Remember, everything is stored on the thumb drive itself so no programs or utilities need to be installed to make use of these security features. A total of 6 smaller processes are started when the drive is plugged in, but these are non-intrusive to the system and stop when the drive is unplugged.
The first step to setting up your protected data area is to choose which finger you would like to use. Click next and you will be taken to an input screen that allows you to scan your chosen finger until the program is satisfied that it has an accurate capture of the ridge detail. After you have input a fingerprint that is acceptable, you will be presented with the opportunity to create a password.
Like many websites, you can enter not only a password, but a hint to remind you what the password is. This block is not required, however, so you can leave it blank. The password feature is not used in conjunction with the fingerprint scan, it is used as an alternative method to gain access to your data.
After the initial setup, every time you plug in the thumb drive, you will be asked to either scan a designated finger or enter a password.
Just a small window that indicated which finger you should scan. If you choose not to use the scanner or have lent the drive to a coworker, you simply click the "Password" button to gain access. Once you have validated your authority to enter the drive you will be presented with a menu screen.
At this point you can make changes to your setup features, security features, or add things into different categories. If you prefer not to make use of the included menu utility, simply click outside the menu box and it will disappear. You can also access data from the normal Windows Explorer interface.
Above shows the explorer entries for the thumb drive. You will notice that two drive letters are associated to the removable device. The first (G:\ in this example) is the location of the setup files for the security features. The second drive letter (H:\ in this example) is the storage area. If you cancel out of the authentication screens when you plug in the drive, the only drive visible will be the setup portion. The other data will not be available.
Our test product is the 512MB version of this device. Other sizes are now available up to 8GB of capacity, so you can get whatever size best suits your needs. The properties screen above shows a slightly reduced storage capacity due to the security utilities being loaded on the thumb drive, the capacity is still near the full drive limit.
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