Home > Equipment > CRU DataPort (Wiebetech) USB Writeblocker Quick Review

CRU DataPort (Wiebetech) USB Writeblocker Quick Review

I bought this months ago as it seemed like something that would be really useful to own. Then I got busy and it sat until someone asked me about doing a review. I pulled the unit out and immediately attached it to a WD 320GB Passport. No go, not enough power. Wiebetech very promptly sent me a very well constructed dual USB cable to provide power and connectivity. Good to go, or so I thought.

I really want this thing to work, and it just doesn’t.

  1. It doesn’t work at all with OS X. (Correction: It works once, but subsequent drives are not recognized.)
  2. The drivers failed to install on Windows 7. It looks like this can be addressed with a certain amount of “reset and reboot”. (Rebooting and reinstalling cleared the problem. It works with Windows 7 32bit and 64bit.)
  3. It requires a lot of “fiddling” to get it working on XP. Sometimes you need to hit the reset button, sometimes the order that you plug things in matters, and all too often you need to reboot your system.
  4. It doesn’t work with EnCase at all. EnCase locks up trying to read the first two sectors of the device. If you hit the reset button, EnCase returns an error and drops back to the GUI so it isn’t completely locked up, but you cannot add any evidence attached to the write blocker. X-Ways, FTK Imager, and FTK all work, taking the “fiddling” into account. (This is an EnCase v6.15 problem. If you turn off “Detect FastBloc”, EnCase v6.14 and .15 recognize the device.)

I tried it with FAT and NTFS formatted thumb drives as well as the WD 320GB Passport – same results.

The packaging is great and the concept is good but it simply doesn’t work consistently enough or with enough operating systems to make it worth adding to my kit.

Since posting this, I’ve spoken with several other users. Some have experiences very similar to mine, some haven’t had any issues at all. I’m also talking with CRU-DataPort and they’re actively working through identifying and fixing the problems. I’ll hang on to my unit and hope they get these problems sorted out soon.

Updates:

  1. The USBWB apparently works with versions of EnCase prior to V6.14.
  2. Disabling “Detect FastBloc” in the later versions of EnCase allows. EnCase to successfully recognize the USBWB attached drive.
  3. USBWB doesn’t work on OS X 10.4, does work on 10.5, and hasn’t been tested on 10.6. It seems to work once on 10.6 but not with subsequent drives, at least not without a reboot.
  4. USBWB works on Windows 7 64bit after a reboot. Drivers fail to install, reboot, drivers install.
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Categories: Equipment
  1. Stuart
    August 17, 2010 at 1:13 pm | #1

    A very good review. I had considered buying one of these devices, but I think I am going to go with the Tableau after reading this review, since Tableau does state in clear terms they support MacOS X. Moreover, with Windows 7 being the default OS on PCs it is amazing that this device fumbles in that environment.

    A long time ago I spoke with the former President of Tableau and he personally owns a Mac, and told me all his products get tested on Macs cause he owns one!

    The difference in price is not that much, and I already use other Tableau gear. Given the capability to use this absent lugging a big power supply and its portability, I was interested in it, but not with all these bugs and issues.

    Stuart

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