Most helpful positive review
44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
If you want a secure drive, then get a very secure drive
on June 18, 2010
== Update Dec. 3, 2010 ==
After updating the firmware to 220.127.116.11 (released in Oct. 2010), it looks like the software issues a & b that I listed below are improved or fixed.
With that said, I still give it 4 stars, but it's more like 4.5.
I wanted a drive to store sensitive information as well as function as an "everything I need to use on any computer" drive. I've known of the IronKey drives for a few years and I finally decided that it would be worth the money to get one. I've had this drive for about 5 months now and have used it heavily.
- Fast performance for an encrypted drive. Noticeably faster than an a secured Cruzer mini/micro.
- Very useful security features. It has it's own version of Firefox with Tor proxy built-in. The Identity Management application is an all-around handy utility. It can store passwords as well as auto-fill on websites. If you have multiple accounts for the same website, you even get a drop-down to select the one that you want. Forgot your password? You can temporarily view it in clear text. The on-screen keyboard can come in handy if you are on a public computer or elsewhere where you might be concerned about keystroke loggers.
- Quality construction. The best durability I've seen without getting incredibly large. Metal casing. Epoxy-filled to make it solid (and harder to hardware-hack). The cap is rubberized to prevent water from seeping into the tip.
- A few software quirks that are unpleasant.
a) While the drive as a whole is fast, its version of Firefox, which is one of the features that I use the most, takes upwards of 30 seconds to load.
EDIT: There is marked improvement in Firefox startup time. It now takes around 10 seconds for the initial load.
b) I also have issues with the proxy settings. There is a proxy setting under the network settings tab in the IronKey menu. This will configure your Firefox proxy as well. I switch between proxy'd and direct internet access quite frequently. There are two problems here. First, the "Use System Settings" option doesn't work. Second, unlike the proxy settings in standard Firefox or IE, when you disable the proxy, it doesn't save the hostname/port. So, every time I enable the proxy after disabling it and locking the drive, I have to add those settings back. I found a workaround for Firefox. More on that in a bit.
EDIT: I no longer have to hack around with the proxy settings. While it still clears out the proxy hostname when disabled, I am now able to use the "Use System Settings" option and it uses the same settings as Windows' Internet Options -> Lan Settings menu. Below, I mention using FoxyProxy. When using the built-in proxy configuration, do NOT use FoxyProxy. It will override your other proxy settings when using Firefox.
c) Another issue is locking/unlocking flakiness. I've used this drive on both Windows 7 (x64) and Windows XP. I tend to use it with XP, and when I do, locking and unlocking the drive occasionally just doesn't work. When unlocking, it will sometimes go off into space, with IronKey.exe using processor real estate, but getting nowhere. Locking is about as stable as the Windows "Safely remove drive" feature-- it will tell you that it can't be locked because something is in use, but you've closed all files/apps/explorer windows tied to the drive, so short of going through your process list to determine what might be holding it "in use," you either just unplug the drive or shut down your computer.
- Questionable customer service. I opened a support ticket for the proxy setting issue. They first emailed me back to tell me that it sounded like a known issue involving x64-based systems and it had already been fixed. I verified that I was already running the latest firmware and I was still having the problem. A few days later, they responded and said they had just released a new firmware version and to install it. They closed the ticket. I updated the firmware. Problem not fixed. Oh well. I installed the FoxyProxy add-on so I now use that to toggle the proxy in Firefox.
- Expensive. A relative term, I know, but to think that this drive was almost as much as my netbook...hmm. I can say that I've gotten good use out of the drive and am confident that the data it holds is secure and won't be lost due to failure. It means that I have high hopes that it last me for years and the company sticks around so they can continue to make updates.
- No place to put the cap when the drive is in use. It would be nice to have it connected to the lanyard or store on the end like a pen cap.
- [I'm being nit-picky here] The "included lanyard" is a keychain lanyard, not a neck lanyard. It's covered with braided fabric which frays very quickly from the rough edges of the lanyard holes on the drive.
The cons that I listed are, in my opinion, more annoyances than unresolvable problems. I would recommend IronKeys to anyone just for the security features. If the encrypted space is not needed, a smaller-capacity model will work just fine. If you do need the encrypted space and you can get past the sticker shock, then I would recommend this drive. If you don't need the performance but still need the space, get the D200 model instead. It's twice the capacity for roughly the same price, just lower throughput.