Branded USB Memory – Tip 2. The Hidden Dangers Of Autoruns

In the second of the series of top tips to consider when purchasing Branded USB Memory Sticks, we explore whether autorun make good business sense when set against the hidden pitfalls!

Many clients are faced with the dilemma of whether they should add an autorun facility to their Branded USB Memory Sticks.

An autorun facility allows users to insert a Branded Memory Stick and for the computer to automatically run a programme e.g. a movie file.

USB Dataload

The advantages of this facility is that it ensures the user is presented with the information the client wants them to see, without having to find the information themselves. This makes is a very intuitive process and ensures the information on the USB Memory Stick is delivered. However there are some hidden pitfalls:

  • Autoruns will not work on Win 98 or 2000 operating systems – beware there are still many users out there with these systems. You will also need to ensure that the appropriate code is written into any autorun for it to work on Mac operating systems.
  • Some corporate firewalls restrict autoruns, so the danger is that the end user will never see the data.
  • Nuisance factor. If one of the objectives is to ensure that the USB Branded Memory Stick is a keepsake that the end user will access on a regular basis then its worth bearing in mind that every time the user wants to access or save a document they will have to run through the dataload programme. Fine for the first few times, but thereafter they may find this an irritation and relegate the memory stick deep into a draw!

There is a middle way, why not consider loading the data onto the Branded USB Memory Stick with an icon labelled ‘Click Here To Start’ and allow the user to access the data when they want.  This data can be protected so it would not be deleted, but overcomes may of the issues detailed above.

If this is not an option, then it is highly recommended to produce a pre-production sample of the autorun. In this way you or your client can test the autorun in the environment it would be used. You do not need to have the final data file to complete this exercise.

Another option would be to load the same data as a non-autorun file on the unprotected part of the Branded Memory stick. In this way, if the autorun fails to work, the user still has the option to select information manually.

There is no doubt that autoruns are a great method to deliver information, but ensure you and/or your client are aware of the pitfalls and try to build in a safety net, as once produced it is extremely difficult to reload the data without returning to the manufacturing plant, which is usually based in China.

View Tip 1. Here.

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