Now that we're finished with the un-boxing and the close-ups, it's time to plug the Kanguru Micro Drive AES in and see how it performs.
When first plugged in (OS is Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2) the drive was recognized immediately and you can see that they've preloaded the drive with the same lock software that is on the included CD.
Running the software from the Micro Drive makes it easy to access the install program without having to play with the Mini-CD.
During the setup, you are given the choice as to whether or not you want to have password hints active. I chose yes, and it quickly finished the install.
After that was done, I was confronted with this screen. I had still not been asked to give or select a password, but since I wanted to use the drive I selected the Mount button on the bottom left.
The next window asked for a password. Since I hadn't been given the option of picking a password, there was obviously a default password set.
I was glad that I enabled password hints, as this at least gave me an idea of what they were looking for. I tried Kanguru, but that wasn't it, so instead of playing guessing games, I cancelled out and went to the help file. Kindly, the default password is included in the help documentation. After that small hurdle, I was able to mount the drive and two new menu options appeared.
Looking at the Status section first, this shows the information on drive size and available space.
The Change Password section, somewhat obviously, lets you change the password, but it also lets you write your own password hint. Typically, you have to enter the new password twice to guard against typos.
Once mounted, the drive shows a new drive in Windows Explorer, in my case this was drive letter N: and named Security.
Let's take a look at the performance of the Security partition. I used SiSoftware Sandra Lite to compare the Kanguru Micro Drive to some other USB memory sticks.
Since the drive is encrypted, a speed hit was expected, but it isn't as great as I thought it might have been. Overall, not bad at all.
Some information about the encryption is located here and the quote below is taken from their quick description of AES.
"The current Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is also called Rijndael (pronounced "Rain Doll").
AES is a block cipher designed by Joan Daemen and Vincent Rijmen. The name Rijndael is composed of two portions of the last names of the authors (RIJ plus DAE). The design of Rijndael was strongly influenced by the design of the block cipher Square. Rijndael is highly secure and has undergone extensive cryptanalysis. No weaknesses have been found as of November 2002. "
Also, AES is used with SSL connections to keep your personal information safe over the internet, in addition to a number of different security programs.
Overall, the device is small and fits well in a pocket. You can carry it around unobtrusively, and it fits nicely in a laptop bag in the area designed for pens and pencils. The extension cable is a nice inclusion as well, since you can route it so that you aren't constantly reaching over to your tower. The 128MB size of the review sample is a bit small, but for holding text or spreadsheets, which many secure documents are, it should be more than adequate. The encryption appears strong and should keep data out of the wrong hands. The manual lock is a plus too, since we've all deleted something that we shouldn't have through a botched cut and paste or the like.
What don't I like? Well, it seems an oversight that the default password is in the help file but that you are not forced to change the password when you first set up the drive. We all know how many people never change the default password on their supposedly secure routers and similar devices. Also, considering how large and light it is, it feels like there must be a good bit of empty space inside. I would personally prefer a thinner case size.