Time to Go Portable
As many of you know I work as an IT support tech for a charity. One of the many perks you get working in IT is that you have full admin privileges where ever you go but more specifically on the machine you use. This is useful for two reasons:
- You can install apps that you need for work to convert documents or whatever.
- You can install anything you want
However the downside, in some ways, is that when you’re out and about visiting sites you either cart your laptop round with you or, as I’ve done, find another way. At first I started off using remote desktop to connect to the servers I needed or my laptop back at work. This was fine but at times it was a bit annoying and then I found PortableApps. Here was a very neat solution to my problem.
Essentially PortableApps are applications that requires no install on the machine being used running solely off an external disk be it a USB stick or external drive. In my case I bought a 16GB SanDisk Cruzer Blade as it had plenty of space to store documents and installs as well as the applications themselves. And so for the past 3 months I’ve moved almost solely to using PortableApps at work removing pretty much any personal installations off my work machine (excluding Spotify). It’s been an interesting experiment to see precisely how much of my work I could do solely using PortableApps but in the end it was easier than I thought. It took a little hunting to find one particular application in portable format (KeePass) but aside from that it was plain sailing. What’s more I’ve expanded it to include personal stuff like my email so when I’m visiting family or whatever I don’t need to take my laptop with me. Here are a few of my favourite PortableApps:
- Notepad++ – Really useful and lightweight editor
- GIMP – A powerful image editor
- Firefox – Mozilla’s great web-browser
- Thunderbird – Mozilla’s useful e-mail program
- FileZilla – Always useful to have a FTP program
- OpenOffice – An entire office suite, works with Microsoft documents
- Spybot – Useful tool for discovering Malware, Adware, Spyware infections on machines
There are plenty of other applications though there are some things that you can’t make portable like Spotify but if you’re often traveling or, like me, work in IT, a stick with some useful apps is fantastic. They’re convenient and leave no leftovers on the machine you’ve just used. What’s more, from an IT perspective, it allows you to work with infected machines off the network but with very powerful applications. All-in-all I’d go so far as to say if you work in IT support which requires site visits a stick with some PortableApps on should be on your key-ring.