How To Go Portable - Part 3 of 3

Part three of our 3-part series on going portable. This last segment talks about USB drives.
Published: Mar 10, 2008
Author: Michael E, Callahan
Related OS: Windows

Go Portable - Part 3 of 3

by Michael E. Callahan aka Dr. File Finder

In parts 1 and 2 of this editorial series I talked about some of the program options available for going portable. You can obtain lots of cool applications from PortableApps.Com. These programs run on USB drives and leave no trace on the host computer. We also looked at the U3 Smart Technology and the many programs that support this standard. You can download those from U3 Download Central. I also talked briefly about the ability to put a virtual machine on a USB drive. Today, in part 3, I'm going to take a look at USB drives.

USB Variety

There are a huge number of USB drives available and they vary as to features. You can find drives that have 128 or 256-bit encryption for the security conscious or others that have built-in fingerprint identification so only authorized people can get at the data. Still others go for durability by offering drives that are waterproof, have metal cases, and more. I think you have to pick a USB drive based on your own personal preferences based on your needs. For example, I don't carry any sensitive data or documents that need to be encrypted or protected by my thumbprint. So, to me, durability is the top priority. USB drives in this category include the Sandisk Cruzer Titanium and the Corsair Flash Survivor GT 8GB , which are shown in the screen shots. Drives that are really secure include the Kingston Data Traveler Secure 4GB and the Ironkey 4 GB. A couple that provide biometric capability include Sony Micro Vault and Lexar JumpDrive TouchGuard.

Things To Consider

There are a number of things you should consider before you run out to buy a USB drive so you can go portable. Things to consider include:

  • Type of data to be carried
  • Amount of data to be carried
  • Amount of travel
  • Cost
  • Warranty

If you're going to be carrying sensitive data or documents you might want to consider a drive that supports strong encryption. If you're really serious about security you may want to get a drive with biometric support so your data will be protected by your fingerprint. Try to determine how much data and/or programs you want to carry. I've found the 4 GB is more than enough for carrying quite a few program and documents with room to spare. If, however, you plan to put a virtual machine on a USB drive, you might want to opt for a larger size. The level of durability needed is another consideration. If the drive is going to be traveling a lot in your pocket you might want to opt for one that's a little tougher. I've found that the cost of the better USB drives tends to be relatively similar between brands. In other words, the cost of a 4 GB drive is roughly the same among the top manufacturers. Another consideration is the warranty. Some drives I looked at had a one year warranty and others had warranties that ranged for two years to ten years.

Summing It Up

Over the last 3 weeks we've looked at the concept of going portable. The technology is to the point where taking applications and data with you is extremely doable. Portable applications are special in that they don't leave any trace on the host computer there were used on. You can find a good variety of portable software at PortableApps.Com.

During this series we've also looked at the U3 Smart Technology and the growing number of applications that support this technology. U3 makes a USB drive smart so you can backup data, synchronize it, and take it with you.

Lastly, there are a large number of USB devices available to meet your needs. If you need security, privacy, durability, or all of the above, there is a USB drive for you. Going portable gives you a lot of flexibility and allows you to work from any number of computers without missing a beat. If you have questions send me an email and I'll be happy to help you out. If you missed parts 1 or 2 I've put links below for your convenience.

How To Go Portable - Part 1 of 3

How To Go Portable - Part 2 of 3

If you have a question on how to do something on the computer you can submit it via email by clicking HERE You will not receive a reply, but all topics will be considered.

About Michael E, Callahan

Michael E. Callahan, known around the world by the trademarked name Dr. File Finder, is regarded as the world's leading expert on shareware. Dr. File Finder works with software programs and developers full-time, and in the average year he evaluates 10,000 programs. Since 1982 he has evaluated over 250,000 software and hardware products. Mr. Callahan began evaluating software online in 1982 and no one has been at it longer. He currently works doing online PR and marketing for software companies, and is the Senior Content Producer for Butterscotch.Com.

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