I’ve been consistently upgrading my SanDisk Cruzers every couple of years as flash memory gets cheaper. I just received my 32GB model. I still have my 16 of course, but also my 8. These guys last forever!
But my interest in a solid, hardworking flash drive goes beyond mere portable gigabytes, especially in the era of cloud storage. My Cruzer is loaded with the PortableApps.com suite – a pocket toolbox of apps. PortableApps acts like your second “Start Menu” loaded with your favorite apps.
Why run software off of a flash drive? Maybe you can’t install something on your work computer because it’s locked down. Or perhaps you just want to keep your settings in one place rather than maintaining them on different computers. All software available on the PortableApps site is open source and free. There are dozens of apps in the categories of Accessibility, Development, Education, Games, Graphics & Pictures, Internet, Music & Video, Office, Security, and Utilities.
Here’s a list of what I use everyday from my Cruzer:
This multi-account IM client lets me stay connected on any machine without remembering my login credentials for my Yahoo!, Google (x2), AIM, and MSN chat accounts. It’s the open source Trillian and it works GREAT!
Take your bookmarks with you. There are several browsers available like Firefox and Opera.
The best open source FTP client out there. Again, I have so many FTP accounts for work and personal projects. I could export that manifest of login credentials and send them around to my various machines, but why? Take that stuff with you!
Another great open source package, this one for audio editing. I LOVE Audacity.
There are quite a few password management apps out there and at least one that’s very popular. I’ve used PasswordSafe for many years now and having it with me all the time, AND not installed on any computer, is the handiest thing I can think of.
Here’s a cool little detail – PasswordSafe is not available on the PortableApps website. The developer shared a version of PasswordSafe for portable useage. The PA suite allows you to add that app (or any other stored on the drive) to the launcher. Seamless!
PasswordSafe has an Android app as well.
The PA Suite
The Suite itself has a lot of great features including:
- App updater
- Onboard app installer
- One-click access to document folders