This week's release of the Fedora 9 Linux distribution makes putting a full-fledged desktop on a portable USB thumb drive a three-click affair. Even better, you don't need Linux installed to create it, you can leave the data on your thumb drive untouched, and any files you create or settings you tweak remain in place the next time you boot up. After the jump, let's create a fully-functional desktop-to-go using a simple Windows program and a 1GB or larger thumb drive.
Tagged With thumb drive
Windows only: Freeware application USB AutoRunner automatically launches documents or applications when you plug in your USB thumb drive. We've explained in the past how to auto-run apps or documents when you insert your thumb drive by making your own autorun.inf file—a Windows default convention for automatically launching files. USB AutoRunner creates this file for you, so setting up a working autorun.inf file is as simple as telling USB AutoRunner what you want to launch when you plug in. USB AutoRunner is freeware, Windows only. While you're at it, find out how to quick-launch your USB workspace. USB AutoRunner
Following up on last week's guide to creating a shortcut to Windows' Safely Remove Hardware dialog, the How-To Geek weblog details how to set up a shortcut or hotkey to immediately eject a specific USB drive, particularly handy if you typically only use one USB drive on your computer. The guide uses previously mentioned app USB Disk Ejector in conjunction with its command line options to create simple shortcuts for specific drive ejection. When you're finished, you should be able to instantly eject any drive with a couple of quick keystrokes without clicking through menus. These shortcuts would be perfect to index with Launchy for quick access. Create a Shortcut or Hotkey to Immediately Eject a Specific USB Drive
You don't have to lease server space or keep your home computer always on to access a personal web server—you can run a web, FTP, and database server straight from a USB drive. A slim web server package called XAMPP fits on a USB stick and can run database-driven webapps like the software that powers Wikipedia, MediaWiki. Almost two years ago you learned how to set up your "personal Wikipedia" on your home web server to capture ideas and track document revisions in a central knowledge repository. Today we'll set up MediaWiki on your flash drive for access on any Windows PC on the go.
Still looking for the perfect gift for your office gift exchange? Web site LinuxInsider suggests giving the gift of free software this Christmas. Just grab a cheap USB thumb drive (you can find a 1GB drive for as little as 10 bucks these days), head somewhere like PortableApps, and grab some free portable software. Alternately, if you really wanted to go above and beyond, you could build a full PC on a stick. Not only might it make the perfect gift for a friend in need of some portable storage, but it could also be the perfect opportunity to introduce your loved ones to great open source apps like Firefox.
Windows only: Carry any application with you on your thumb drive with freeware virtual PC software MojoPac Freedom. Back when we showed you how to build your own PC-on-a-stick with MojoPac, the application had a $30 price tag, but it has since launched several versions, and MojoPac Freedom is the freeware version. Even better, MojoPac Freedom supports all the data and application support of the rest, lacking really only customer support (aside from other premium features most regular users will never need). It still supports taking Microsoft Office, iTunes, video games, and virtually any other app portable. MojoPac Freedom is freeware, Windows only.