Portable does not necessarily mean USB sticks...

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Spiceskull
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Portable does not necessarily mean USB sticks...

#1 Post by Spiceskull » Wed Feb 08, 2006 7:06 am

Hi,

Further to my earlier post on a different thread, there is so much portable stuff out there that it would be impossible to run it all on a USB stick.

I have an external USB hard drive which I use for all my portable stuff (I also use a USB key for work). This means that I have everything that I need, apart from an OS, in one place, and as nothing is installed, my system stays clean and healthy for as long as I wish it to be.

Additionally, the disc is partitioned so that my kids all have their own drive, with their own settings and applications. This prevents all the "waaahh! he wrote over my favourite saved game...the cheeky little monkey..." scenarios...

Does anyone else use this sort of set-up?

Regards,
Adam.

Darkbee
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#2 Post by Darkbee » Wed Feb 08, 2006 7:34 am

I can't proclaim to have absolutely nothing installed on my primary partition except the OS. I guess there are some programs that I can't seem to do without and have no possible portable alternative (or I don't like the portable alternatives).

I have however, started to remove a lot of software that can be portable from my machine and put it onto portable media. I too use a portable hard drive. It's essentially a 2.5" Toshiba laptop hard drive in an enclosure and the solution works well for me. Programs like Irfan View and Filezilla, I have typically installed in the past but I can now see the benefits of not installing, but using them from a portable drive instead. This is especially true if Windows crashes beyond repair and I have to re-install the OS, at least I will have applications ready to use as soon as the OS is up and running.

I'm also toying with the idea of using an Linux based distribution as a secondary OS, probably Ubuntu, on a separate partition naturally. Theoretically, given a big enough portable hard disk drive I could install this secondary OS to the portable drive and would have a whole OS on the go. This becomes even more of a possibility when looking at some of the LiveCD/mini distributions of Linux that are available today such as Damn Small Linux and Puppy Linux.

As for the separate partition per user, I can see the logic behind this but it seems a bit overkill to me. Most modern games support the "Documents & Settings" user folder found on Win2K and XP, which should keep all users' individual documents and other files separate and distinct. On the bright side, disk space is cheap these days and I suppose it is better to maximize your usage, rather than leave half the drive empty. However, if I understand you correctly, I'm assuming that each user only has access to his or her partition and so if each user wants to play the same game then you have to install it n times, for each user that wants to play it? It's certainly an interesting idea and anyone interested in partitioning strategies should check out Radified for an excellent article on how and why partitioning can be useful.

Spiceskull
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#3 Post by Spiceskull » Wed Feb 08, 2006 7:47 am

Some good points, and will look at Radified in a moment.

As most of the apps tend to be small, usually <1Mb, the space issue is meaningless, and worth the effort of copying to each users drive (don't forget, this is stuff that does not need to be installed...) Honestly, kids moaning about losing their PacMan/Happy Land hi-scores is more painful than a few minutes copying files over...

Regarding Linux - I agree to an extent, but am keeping my eyes on the portable distros that are being developed. This has got to be a better option than the live discs, as these latter eat into RAM like there's no tomorrow (if you are using 256Mb RAM like me...)

Now...all I am waiting for is a portable hard drive that has no operating system...but all the apps work perfectly...

Adam.

XPect
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#4 Post by XPect » Wed Feb 08, 2006 9:45 am

I use a mix of both.

My primary usb key is a 8Gb USB disk from Lacie that have the external volume of 3 credit cards. The cost is quite low (about 130€) regarding the storage capacity for the volume (can fit in a pocket without problem).
With a capacity of 8Gb I can store a whole bunch of apps + a lot of data without capacity problem.

I also use external 2"1/2 hard drive, but it's more for the transport of large data files and backups.

Darkbee
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#5 Post by Darkbee » Wed Feb 08, 2006 10:25 am

Spiceskull wrote:Regarding Linux - I agree to an extent, but am keeping my eyes on the portable distros that are being developed. This has got to be a better option than the live discs, as these latter eat into RAM like there's no tomorrow (if you are using 256Mb RAM like me...)
Most LiveCDs usually have an option to perform some sort of install, be it on a fixed or portable drive. DamnSmallLinux for example supports installs to Hard Drives, Zip Drives and even an embedded install so that you can run it from within Windows. These can all be initiated from the LiveCD. If you haven't tried them then LiveCDs can be a good way to see if:

a) You are actually going to get along using Linux
b) You like the particular distribution before commiting any kind of semi-permanent media space

I don't plan on using LiveCDs as a permanent solution either but with so many distros out there it's a pretty bewildering place to be right now. LiveCDs give me the opportunity to "try before I buy" metaphorically speaking of course.

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Andrew Lee
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#6 Post by Andrew Lee » Wed Feb 08, 2006 5:34 pm

I use an external USB HDD too, because I find USB sticks too small and slow. The $/GB is way too high compared to a USB hard drive too. With an external 80GB USB HDD, I can carry everything: apps, photos and music with me whenever I go!

Darkbee
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#7 Post by Darkbee » Wed Feb 08, 2006 7:35 pm

Andrew Lee wrote:I use an external USB HDD too, because I find USB sticks too small and slow. The $/GB is way too high compared to a USB hard drive too. With an external 80GB USB HDD, I can carry everything: apps, photos and music with me whenever I go!
Totally agree, and that is probably why I convinced my Dad to let me put him together a portable hard drive because, at this moment in time, the cost vs capacity ratio is still way too high when comparing Hard Drives with Flash Media. I'm sure this will change in time but for the moment, flash media are simply too darned expensive for the capacity (or lack thereof) that you get for your money.

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