Posted by: JungleGeorge | October 22, 2009

Flash Drive Alternative for Portable Applications

Flash drives are the most popular media for hosting portable applications because they are small, portable, and usable by most PCs. The negative part is you need to remember to bring it with you and not run it through the washing machine.

Shared server drives work great as central source for portable applications but do not provide easy access when outside of the network.

CDs are best used as a backup device for portable applications because many portable applications cannot be used directly from a CD because they require write access to their folder.

Online Storage is used for backups of portable application. They are accessible from any PC with Internet access but require you to download the file to execute them. Many free sites suffer from file size limits, slow connections, and trouble maintaining backups from multiple sources.

Replication of folders between PCs provides copies of the files on all your PCs. Some include online access to your files as well. Servers without the replication software can map to network PCs with the replicated data. On negative side, software is installed on each PC that you want an up to date copy of the files.

Summary

I have tried Flash Drives, CDs, Online storage online, and shared drives. Replication with online backup offers me the best of all worlds. Flash drive is still the best solution for PCs without internet access.

Software Suggestion

DropBox is a file replication provider with online backup access for use on Windows, Linux, Mac OS, and Mobile Devices. The online backup provides 30 days backup of all file changes. The free version has 2 GB storage with limit no limit on the number of PCs being replicated. Registration requires an e-mail address, which become your account id.

Installation is easy with no noticeable performance impact. You can put your DropBox folder on any drive including a Flash Drive. If you want to stop it or start it up manually, you can when you want 100% of your CPU and Internet connection dedicated to something else. Now when I update or add a new portable application to this dedicated folder it is automatically copied to my other PCs when I logon to them. Now

There are other alternatives to DropBox but it is the first one I decided to try and have been happy with it.

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