General discussion

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  • #2257241

    I’ll have an Office-On-A-Stick, please….. ;)


    by gadgetgirl ·

    I know you lot out there all have brains, so get ’em out, polish them up, because GG needs input!!

    Explanation: For numerous reasons, my job is changing, and there is the possibility that my responsibilites regarding number of personnel and geographical coverage will double. (Yes, I’m getting all the good jobs again – no change there!)

    What I think I’m going to need to do is to have my own “office on a stick” – i.e. everything to hand on a flash memory stick loaded with portable apps. I’m in the unenviable position of perhaps having to work from any one of 192 locations, on anything from ancient to modern kit, including laptops, so I think the USB memory stick is the way to go.

    What I need is some input/feedback on the portable apps you’ve been using – which are the most reliable, which integrate with others most seamlessly, etc.

    The only thing I’ve come up with as a definitive must have program so far is the portable firefox – that will be ideal, as I will always have to have my bookmarked/favourite sites with me for research. Other than that, I’m quite open to suggestions (down, jd, down :p !!!) Obviously, because of the job I do, I need things like file shredders, zips, pdf readers etc. but which ones? I’ve done research on this, and up to now I’ve found about 3000 items out there – it’s mind numbing to a non-techie like me!

    Oh, there’s another thing – ease of use. Has to be simple to set up and run…… I’m NOT technically minded!

    Obviously I need this to be something akin to a laptop, without the hardware, hence the “office on a stick” title. In answer to any questions about to be asked, no, I cannot use a laptop with regular apps for a variety of security reasons.

    If you hadn’t gathered, portable apps are something new to me, so I really do need some help……. so I thought I’d ask all you lovely TR mates….

    Any input, as you well know, will be much appreciated.

    Cheers m’dears!



    Edit: if anyone can point me to a “how-to”, I also need to be able to download webmail (i.e. gmail, hotmail, yahoomail)by folder, if at all possible…..
    I wish they’d stop asking me to do things I don’t know how to do!

All Comments

  • Author
    • #3276948


      by ontheropes ·

      In reply to I’ll have an Office-On-A-Stick, please….. ;)


      • #3276943

        Thanks, NB, you’re a star!

        by gadgetgirl ·

        In reply to .

        My main problem is that I’m going to be able to have to do everything I would normally do in the office, so I need an Office type program, zip prog, security file, file shredder, basically anything that will help me investigate a security incident, and report back, eventually in hard copy, to my PTB.

        This is another reason for wanting to know how to save folders in a webmail account……I just had a close one where I thought I was going to have to do that, and I haven’t got a clue how (I’m not alone, the available engineers dunno, either!)

        What I really need to do is to have everything that would normally be on a pc, on a memory stick, so that I have all I need with me at all times. So, any suggestions would be good – at the moment I’m not nailed down to only what is used on the network, so it’s pretty much a free for all. Any hints/tips/advice/suggestions more than gratefully received!

        thanks again! 😀


        • #3231712

          Minimal Requirements?

          by thenose ·

          In reply to Thanks, NB, you’re a star!

          I’m going to assume (that’s a bad thing) that you’re going to have access to the net in all cases. IF that’s the case, then think you can do everything that you need, from the sounds of it, via yahoo’s mail and brief case. Yahoo and Google (and I’m sure other online packages do also) will allow you to create bookmarks for your own personalized web page. Learn how to use the local machines. But for a quickie recomendations, I suggest RoboForm, it will also save bookmarks, email, address info, and it has a portable USB version. For a simple Quick word editor, I might suggest NotPro. But these are just personal favorites. Make use of the local machines as much as you can. If you have to bounce between machines that are running XP and Win 98, you will need to learn more. As far as saving a whole folder to web mail, you would have to zip the folder into one file, you can’t just drop a (dir) folder into mail. Size will matter.

          But nothing would beat having your own laptop to use.

      • #3276942

        NICE Avatar!!!!!

        by tig2 ·

        In reply to .

        NeverBusted, you are just SO cool! 😀

        • #3276909


          by ontheropes ·

          In reply to NICE Avatar!!!!!


        • #3276898

          Bless you, NB!

          by gadgetgirl ·

          In reply to .

          but this isn’t too urgent, if you need to get back to your avatar, and the 3 day support, that’s fine by me!

          Oh, you’ve just given me an idea….

          need to PM Tig….


          ta muchly, NB, I do appreciate you! 😡


        • #3276809


          by ontheropes ·

          In reply to Bless you, NB!


        • #3276800

          Starving, now! :p

          by gadgetgirl ·

          In reply to .

          NB, you’re an absolute [B] DIAMOND [/B]

          Never mind the chicken sandwich, the steak is on me! Brilliant, NB, you are an absolute star, thank you very, very much – I appreciate the effort, and the time you took to do that.

          Keep on like this and I may even make you an Honorary Geordie….!! 😀 !!

          Y’areet marra? [are you alright, my friend?]

          or in this case – ok? !!!

          I promise I’ll keep it to English English not Geordie English….if I can…!!

          Thanks again, NB – you are very much appreciated.



        • #3276774


          by ontheropes ·

          In reply to Starving, now! :p


      • #3276931


        by dmambo ·

        In reply to .

        If you need to remote into other machines, VNC is great. It’s free and works pretty well. It can be a bit of a pain through firewalls, but on the same subnet, it’s easy.

        If you’re not familiar with it (which I doubt. You are GG after all!) check out the wiki article:

        Hey everyone, since this is a serious question, let’s stick to topic for once to keep it lean for GG. Violators will be prosecuted. 😉

        • #3276892

          stick to the topic? change the habits of a lifetime??

          by gadgetgirl ·

          In reply to VNC

          no, don’t change for me! (any of you! wouldn’t change you for quids!)

          DM, I’d love to VNC, but my problem is that I can’t for security reasons. If I get a nasty investigation, I have to prove chain of evidence and event logs and can only do that if I keep the evidence and logs with me. This is quite hard to explain without telling you exactly how I work, and the things I do (or get up to, or dig around in….you get the idea!)

          I need to update my incident log as things are happening, and I could do that with an office type program on a memory stick…..but I’m not allowed to send that anywhere – anything I send MUST come from my own machine, which is traceable to a specific point (can’t say how/where/what)

          I’ve got a week or two to puddle this one together, I was just trying to get a jump start on it, seeing as how the brain is just not working to capacity at the moment….. think I must have wiped my brain drive in the heat the other week!



      • #3231755

        Open Office

        by dbj ·

        In reply to .

        There is a portable version of Open Office- we use this all the time and have dropped MS Office from our machines. It is very compatible with WOrd,Excel and most POwerpoint files- and it is free
        I think it can handle Access files but have not tried that out.
        I do not think it has an Outlook eqivalent.
        We use Eudora that also has a “to go” version.We like Eudora becasue t only needs a designated personal mail folder- if you point Eudora at that folder all your settings for email are automatically set on any machine.

        Highly recommended

      • #3231754

        Open Office

        by dbj ·

        In reply to .

        There is a portable version of Open Office- we use this all the time and have dropped MS Office from our machines. It is very compatible with WOrd,Excel and most POwerpoint files- and it is free
        I think it can handle Access files but have not tried that out.
        I do not think it has an Outlook eqivalent.
        We use Eudora that also has a “to go” version.We like Eudora becasue t only needs a designated personal mail folder- if you point Eudora at that folder all your settings for email are automatically set on any machine.

        Highly recommended

    • #3276944

      Stop GG. now DEEP breath. Good.

      by tig2 ·

      In reply to I’ll have an Office-On-A-Stick, please….. ;)

      First- check security. Are you even going to be permitted to USE a stick? They are a security hole.

      In order to get around that, we need to find you a password access that will help you validate to the PTB that your files are secure.

      Can you assume a baseline load on the box? You said “ancient to modern kit”. If that “ancient” is too ancient, your stick won’t work. USB and NT 4 won’t play together. This is something that you will have to consider.

      The next problem may be space. The biggest stick I can put hands on is a 4G. Sounds like a lot but it really isn’t so much. You will be running about with the BARE necessities. Can you use Internet storage?

      The link for portable Open Office is posted in a thread somewhere. I’d not think that you would require an Office Suite if you can count on a standard load. That said, start thinking about your file structure and find out if there is a standard.

      I will do some research and see if I can find you some “cheat sheet” training- something on one or two pages that you can print and put into a book that is easy to carry. You’ll not need it long if you are working in this manner for awhile but you will want it.

      Incidentally- and totally off subject- Congratulations and good job to the British police and investigators for foiling another terrorist plan!

      Stay safe!

      • #3276930

        I’m breathing! I’m breathing!

        by gadgetgirl ·

        In reply to Stop GG. now DEEP breath. Good.

        it’s just that I’ve turned into an intermittent muttersaurus this week….!!

        Permission to use a USB has already been given; in fact I’ll have two – one purely for evidence, one as a “portable office”. The idea is to get me around where the pc’s don’t have CD drives and/or writers (our standard build). The ancient to modern bit means that while all of the kit runs Windoze X.X they aren’t all the same. Some stand-alones are real dinosaurs, but I wouldn’t be expecting to have to use one of those to update investigation paperwork…..thankfully, we’re off NT4 now…..

        I’m trying to get a list of apps together so I can make a better guesstimate as to which size memory stick I will need, plus leave a little space for later. I’m only looking for basics, but any extras I can bookmark and send home for my own (BIOMETRIC) flash, which I actually got working last night (woohoo! perserverance pays!)

        My basic list is wot I wrote to NB – office program, security file, file shredder, zip and pdf. I shouldn’t need much more than that, but even in compression programs alone, I’ve found six portable ones!

        Off subject – considering the queues which had already built up by 9am in the London area today, I’m surprised at the calmness….

        But yes, thanks a-plenty to the Boys in Blue, anyways.

        but, having said that, it’s not as bad as this…..


        • #3276920

          I have your encryption right here

          by tig2 ·

          In reply to I’m breathing! I’m breathing!

          But only for you.

          Partner wrote a 128 bit dual pass encryption program that is EXTREMELY lightweight and portable. I use it on my own machine and to pass files via email. I will get the exe from him when he gets home and peer it to you. Primary advantage is that it is not a commercial product so the code hasn’t been exposed to hack.

          Regarding size- yes, boys, size DOES matter!- get the biggest capacity that you can get your paws on. You will use it all. Starting with that assumption is your best plan- you won’t REALLY know what your actual needs are untill you are in the field.

          Start a list and keep it updated for us. That way we know what we are looking for next.

          Browser- Portable Firefox is your best choice
          File Encryption- Check your peer mail.
          Shredder- I have a couple, I will do some looking to determine which is the most dependable. The two that I am thinking of pass HIPPA standard here.

          I’m not surprised that things are calm. After everything we have all been through in the past 5 years, I think that we are just damned grateful that it was stopped before it could cause loss of life.

        • #3231624

          Alternate to Flash Drive

          by tmsassoc ·

          In reply to I’m breathing! I’m breathing!

          Given the pricing that I have been seeing (at least here in the States) have you considered a portable hard drive. Office Depot shows a 40 Gig portable (usb connector) for $99.99.

        • #3231456

          USB & Security?

          by pmshah9 ·

          In reply to Alternate to Flash Drive

          How can you have security with access to USB available? The 2 are incompatible.

          Anyway I use multisession live Puppy Linux on a 8 cm CD-RW which is a full system on 60 mb. It can save anything & everything on the CD it booted from, even changed settings, documetns & added software. All standard sofware like pdf reader, web browser, email client & fully compatible excel & word document editors are included. I also have a live XP cd which allows me to boot xp from cd & remove the cd. It runs entirely from ram & requires only 128 mb ram. It includes file manager & cd writing software. I carry 5-6 8cm CDs with different boot options & special software for specific jobs. I can comfortably carry these in my shirt pocket.

          BTW make sure your USB stick can be write protected. Otherwise carry write protectable media with reader.

    • #3276932

      Sounds like you need a technical assistant

      by jck ·

      In reply to I’ll have an Office-On-A-Stick, please….. ;)

      For the right price, I’m up for hire 😀

      1) If you can’t have a laptop and don’t need something with blazing speed (and I’m assuming you want Windows), look into the iPaq Pocket PC 5550. Even has a fingerprint reader for added security.

      2) Has a USB port so you can connect up a memory stick (warning…probably mini-USB, so you’d need an adapter which is probably a bit of added cost unless it comes with the unit). Plus it has a SD Memory Card slot, so that you can store your files on SD Memory Card and store your apps on SD if you wanted.

      One thing I must say…I don’t know a lot about Windows Pocket OS and its addressable memory capability. You can get USB sticks and SD cards with 1GB of storage easily now. But, I don’t know if the OS will address that much. You would want to check and make sure.

      If you would like any further assistance, please send the job offer to my email 😉

      • #3276914

        Hello, Technical Assistant!!! :D

        by gadgetgirl ·

        In reply to Sounds like you need a technical assistant

        wot’s the payscale – coupla bottles of Dog next time you’re in the area? That okay?! (hoo ye gannin’ marra? – yareet?….. shouldn’t pose any problems with your dictionary….!!! 😉 )

        Unfortunatley, an iPaq is off the list – I’ve only got permission for the USB’s after pointing out that I can’t do my job effectively without SOME-BLOODY-THING!!!

        I keep getting asked for secure USB memory, so I have two ranges in my options vision at the moment; both are available up to 4GIG, but I really don’t expect to go that far. What I need is to take “my” programs with me – secure folders, shredders, zip et al aren’t standard, and this is the only way we can think of to get me around this, other than traipsing back to my own office every hour or two.

        That’s totally out of the window – the area of possible coverage is now something like a couple of hundred square miles, some rural, some urban……

        As I posted to Tig, I’ll end up with two of these; one as a “portable office”, the other as a form of secure transport for evidence. I’m not too bothered about the second one just yet, I can use my own biometric one for that (again, permission already given) if anything looks like going remotely legal.

        As for a portable OS, as long as whatever I’m using deletes itself off the machine when I eject it, I’m game to try anything (DE!!)


        oh, and I will get to reply to your pm sometime soon – just been one of those sessions, lately! :p

        • #3276889

          no problem

          by jck ·

          In reply to Hello, Technical Assistant!!! :D

          Hehehe…actually as for the pay…you know I’m looking to move overseas…got a floor needs mopping? could I throw rose petals at your feet? Can I wash your car? 😀

          Um…if you’re looking for portable data security, try a removable drive…you can get em in a box that are very small…

          And, you can put data encryption software on the drive that will require a password to get into it.

          That would let you attach via USB…and use the existing computer available (whether in your office or on site) as long as it has USB.

          You can get portable hard drives I’ve seen up to 120GB or something. All you’d need to do is format it to a particular disk format readable by all computers to which you will attach it.

          And no problem on getting back to me. I know you’re busy. 🙂

          Let me know if you’re hiring an tech assistant…if it pays good enough and I’m qualified…I’ll consider moving there…well…so long as you can guarantee me I’ll have most weekends so I can go to NUFC fixtures 😀

          I’ll translate the Geordie in a bit…boss just showed. Have to go appease him for an hour. 😀

          Let me know if you need anything else 🙂

        • #3276869


          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Hello, Technical Assistant!!! :D

          if you look at my solution posted, you run your OS and everything else right off the flash, so NO traces are left on the system after you reboot.

          As long as the data on the hard drive isn’t encrypted, you will still have full access to all the data booting from your flash.

        • #3209664

          Good Idea

          by w2ktechman ·

          In reply to ANYTHING?

          I am downloading it now. Its like a knoppix cd, that runs off a USB flash drive.

          Also, if you use a USB reader for an SD card, you can lock the writing to the card, and upgrade cards as needed. I use 3 1GB cards in 1 reader. Flip between needs. Looks like I need another one for featherlinux now

    • #3276899

      This is your lucky day my sweet! :x

      by jdclyde ·

      In reply to I’ll have an Office-On-A-Stick, please….. ;)

      Feather linux is exactly what you need. I JUST downloaded this and am about to try it out myself.

      An entire OS with all the apps you would need, and it takes up about 128M of memory. Fully graphical. Has FF and openoffice.

      If you go to an older system that won’t boot to a flash stick, they have a boot floppy that handles that for you.

      Don’t be scared by the “linux” part! Penguins are good! Go to the light! 😀

      I can assure you that there are MANY here that would be tripping all over themselves to help you get this going! Jaqui would probably cut to the front of the line as well! ;\ I am just getting ready to test it, and that is one of the projects I mentioned for the new blogfest that Jay is talking about. Told him it would cost him my dangnabit shirt! 😀

      (doing new stuff all the time is what makes IT so fun!)

      good luck dearest! 😡

      • #3276883


        by gadgetgirl ·

        In reply to This is your lucky day my sweet! :x

        – for once, my sense of timing has let me get this right!

        Thanks, sweetie 😡 !

        Let me know how you get on, obviously!

        Don’t bank on Jay with the shirts…… still waiting……!!!

        Back soon, yet another security session to do….grief, I’m getting sick of doing presentations!!!



        • #3276862

          Another option for storing your data

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Wonderful!


          A 6gig portable hard drive that will fit in a shirt pocket, that you can pick up for as low as $70.

          Seagate, so it has a big name behind it. I have used one a few times for data recovery when systems have died. I can get into a limp mode and dump everything to the USB drive and sort it out later. Really made me a hero when one of the top Execs laptop puked, and there were NO backups of his data. (he was more concerned about the pictures of his kids than the data, and I saved it ALL. B-) )

          Flash for the OS and apps, this for your data that you collect.

          Will keep you posted how this works out for me. Will self-blog in to a word processor to document the progress, just in case I get my shirt! 😀

      • #3276848


        by jellimonsta ·

        In reply to This is your lucky day my sweet! :x

        Let us know how this setup works out JD?!?! 😀

        • #3276820

          Jelli, mate….

          by gadgetgirl ·

          In reply to Feather

          he needs to let us know if he’s tickled with it…..!!!




        • #3276794

          Well GG

          by jellimonsta ·

          In reply to Jelli, mate….

          He can let you know those details. Some things I just don’t want to know!! :p

        • #3276790

          but of course

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Feather

          There are actually a few ways I need this to work, and it says it will do them all.

          First, is the flash drive boot option.

          Second is off of a CD.

          Third is to load this compact OS on the hard drive and run it that way. I am suppose to setup some web consoles that the shop rats can use to get information from our intranet, but can’t buy computers for it. Every system will be a 300 or slower, so this sounds right up the alley! Some are p150’s with the old 500MB hard drives. This would let me use that old equipment, get the project done, and look like a computer GOD! 😀

          The second option would be PERFECT for when my boys want to go out and find game cheat codes. Between being linux AND being on a CD, should be pretty hard to pick up any nasties from those sites! B-)

          The first option would be for me doing recovery to dead systems.

        • #3276765


          by jellimonsta ·

          In reply to but of course

          May as well find a use for those old P150 machines… besides linking a ton of them together for a HUGE Linux cluster! 🙂

        • #3276752

          Huge linux cluster

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Nice

          yeah, cluster 20 of them together and have almost a gigahertz? ;\

        • #3276723


          by jellimonsta ·

          In reply to Huge linux cluster

          I was thinking more along the lines of 100-200? :p
          Talk about total waste of power consumption!! 😀

    • #3276866

      Easy Portability

      by bigchip ·

      In reply to I’ll have an Office-On-A-Stick, please….. ;)

      GG –

      I have a blog entry on this subject at .

      If you can back everything on you system to a FTP server and you use windows, you will be all set with this approach.

      Just follow the links for the cownloads on the site.


      • #3276818

        Thanks, BC!

        by gadgetgirl ·

        In reply to Easy Portability

        Grief, I’m going to be an exceptionally busy person over the next few days….

        keep the ideas comin’ folks!

        Thanks muchly!


    • #3276861

      OK GG, here’s some ideas

      by deadly ernest ·

      In reply to I’ll have an Office-On-A-Stick, please….. ;)

      instead of a USB memory stick, try a USB external drive I’ve a 250GB Buffalo that works great. Make sure to get one that is thick with plenty of room for heat loss and good fans, and has external power.

      Many can be set to be boot devices, if the PC you’re running off will boot from USB. That way you can build your system onto the drive, if you want.

      But I would recommend you just place all your apps etc on the drive and have it set so you can run them from the drive, say a special home page on it with all the links, go to the drive home page and then click on what app you want.

      For your OS, there are plenty of good Linux live distros that run from disk, put the disk in and the system is up and running. I’ve found SimplyMEPIS 6 to be the best at the moment (

      Sure this will take a bit of time to build properly, but after that, it’s dead easy and plenty of space for your data as well.

      • #3276827

        Works very well

        by maevinn ·

        In reply to OK GG, here’s some ideas

        I was going to suggest this exact thing. I’ve set them up for military who are deploying and need to have ready access to specific files without knowing what systems will be available. Gives you the flexibility to tote everything, including the kitchen sink.

    • #3276838

      Another apps possibility.

      by fionncreagh9 ·

      In reply to I’ll have an Office-On-A-Stick, please….. ;)


      You mentioned security reasons for some of the limitations on your solution. If for some arcane reason you end up NOT using a memory stick, you might look into “GoToMyPC” (from It allows you to access your own computer from anywhere (that has an Internet connection. This will let you use the apps on YOUR pc and save information to said pc rather than carrying something.

      • #3276812


        by gadgetgirl ·

        In reply to Another apps possibility.

        Can’t do that, that particular program contravenes our security policy.

        I also need to ensure that anything “sent” is from my own allocated PC here, for legal reasons.

        Thank for the thought, though!


        • #3231436

          Security Policy

          by pmshah9 ·

          In reply to Ah.

          If you have such security policy how do you send out your security breech logs with proof of origin? You would have to seal the pc after investigation along with the media to which you sent the data. A functional USB port is your 1st & most susceptible security hole.

    • #3276813

      Are we assuming web access is always present?

      by now left tr ·

      In reply to I’ll have an Office-On-A-Stick, please….. ;)

      If so (and I may be wrong) then surely a good remote desktop style of application using say VPN or SSLVPN is all that is really needed. Are we not just complicating the matter slightly?

      This way you always connect to the same desktop / systems and enjoy the ‘as if you were there’ experience.


      • #3276806

        No, not always, unfortunately

        by gadgetgirl ·

        In reply to Are we assuming web access is always present?

        we have a number of modes of connection, not all dependable, but I could end up in a location where only say one out of every four has internet connection. In that particular case, the resident staff MUST take priority (protocol)

        or I would have gone the SSVPN route….

        if only they’d let me!

        Thanks anyway


        • #3276801

          What about…

          by now left tr ·

          In reply to No, not always, unfortunately

          Depending on the budget there are always the 3G style cards for laptops. Assuming you want to carry a laptop around that is.

          As you say if you can’t always get access to the web so what use is the memory stick for a portable system / applications. Where will the files come from?

          Ok, the files could be on the stick but that space would soon run out and backup would not exist unless you made one!

          There are some really small & light laptops around these days. I can see where the whole office on a stick idea comes from, it is a good one but I currently feel it needs so many prerequisites.

        • #3276798

          Ah. Budget.

          by gadgetgirl ·

          In reply to What about…

          Not a lot! (whoosh! Paul Daniels…..)

          I don’t want to carry a laptop around (arthritis) and in some cases, this could be used in covert operational circumstances, so I need something small that I can keep with me at all times.

          That’s two of the main reasons I wanted the Office on a Stick. It would only be used for one investigation at a time, then wiped and reloaded, so space may not be a problem.

          You know, if people were born with computer skills and lots more common sense, including the ability to know right from wrong, I wouldn’t need to be doing all this…….

          Thanks TM


    • #3276785

      Here you go GG

      by faradhi ·

      In reply to I’ll have an Office-On-A-Stick, please….. ;)

      This is an article I found a while ago concerning portable apps.

      I use a lot of them including OpenOffice and Firefox.

      I hope this helps.

    • #3276782

      GG, What about

      by old guy ·

      In reply to I’ll have an Office-On-A-Stick, please….. ;)

      (perish the thought, but…) a Blackberry. I’m not sure what kind of apps are on there but as far as storage you would have access to your email and could store the emails in folders on your server? Also, you would have wireless access to whoever you need to contact. Just a thought.

    • #3209599

      I think ” even though it hurts to do so”

      by zlitocook ·

      In reply to I’ll have an Office-On-A-Stick, please….. ;)

      That you will need a laptop, because if you are supporting older systems and the O/S’s. They are problematic to say the least with USB any thing. And if the will not see a USB drive or is having booting problems a USB device will not be usable.
      You need a good laptop that has XP with SP2, encrypted and ether USB protected or with a key that you have on your person. These will keep most people out of your computer
      There is allot of software that you need to do what you need but it’s great to try to do it with one device.
      With a laptop you can have a wireless cell phone access so you can login check email, surf the web and have access to your servers. It no longer cost’s a lot of money to do this and it is vary reliable now.
      I did that for over a year as a contractor with an external USB drive and with the older computers. I could not use the drive and the one’s that I could I had to load drivers. And even then I had to flash the Bios and hope it did not do any thing to the O/S or the software they used.
      Do your self a favor and
      1. Get a good laptop with a cell phone type access
      2. Get reinstall CD’s for what ever you are supporting and if possible O/S CD’s to reload the O/S.
      3. Have a CD and DVD both IDE just in case the ones you will be working on are bad or if there is none.
      4. Carry CD’s with anti virus, malware and spy ware removers on it.

      In a dream world a single USB device would work on all computers. But with MS and its problems just plugging in a USB could cause a stop screen and could be a fatal one.
      This is just an idea of what you need, with out knowing what you will be supporting and the systems that are in area. I have supported every thing from Windows for work groups 3.11 to Aix and have never been completely ready for any of them.

      • #3231731

        The best advice so far

        by foringmar ·

        In reply to I think ” even though it hurts to do so”

        I think Zlito has given the best advice I’ve read so far. You are never completely ready for what one might encounter. Every computer has it’s own peculiarities.

    • #3231743

      Really Ancient

      by foringmar ·

      In reply to I’ll have an Office-On-A-Stick, please….. ;)


      I just read Your first message.

      It struck me that really ancient harware does
      not necessary have an USB port. Other than that
      I will read what others has to say.

    • #3231740

      Office on a stick

      by gwhitc ·

      In reply to I’ll have an Office-On-A-Stick, please….. ;)

      GG – funnily enough I started looking at something similar a couple of weeks ago… Found an environment called U3 which works with U3-compliant USB memory sticks. A range of good mini-apps that are compatible with other, more traditional (Office, etc.) ones that enable you to operate off your USB stick wherever you are. Many of the apps are open source, and free or pretty inexpensive.

      Have a look at Lots of info, downloads, etc.

      Good luck…

    • #3231739

      Portable Apps

      by amir farhan ·

      In reply to I’ll have an Office-On-A-Stick, please….. ;)

      Hi Gadgetgirl,

      Have you tried this site, “”. A lot of portable apps, no installation necessary. Just unzip and load into USB sticks. Thanks.

    • #3231738

      These might help

      by seanchk ·

      In reply to I’ll have an Office-On-A-Stick, please….. ;)

      Hi GadgetGirl,

      You might want to take a look at these

      You might also want to check out for their portable roboform password utility for usb devices


    • #3231730

      Geil – Dual Channel USB Pen Drive

      by willi_h2o ·

      In reply to I’ll have an Office-On-A-Stick, please….. ;)

      Usable from Win98 platform to latest platforms

      Extreme Performance Dual Channel USB Pen Drive. Clocking at 198X (30Mb/sec Read & 20Mb/sec Write speed), it is one of the world’s fastest flash USB drives available.


      The ingenious implementation of adopting Dual Channel technology into flash USB drive allows one channel of the flash to be dedicated to read and the other dedicated to write. Squeezing out maximum performance and enhanced stability while transferring data at instance speed.

    • #3231725

      USB Drive

      by geordifc ·

      In reply to I’ll have an Office-On-A-Stick, please….. ;)

      A USB Drive I use a lot if I have to travel between systems is the Lexar Jump Drive Traveller
      It is mainly for browsing and email as it will take a copy of your email profile and you can use it anywhere with out it leaving a trace on the host pc you are using at the time. It is handy for web cafes or anywhere you think the system might have had the possibilty of being compromised. But the other apps will owrk just as normal from this item. I included the link above so you could have a look.
      Cheerz canny lass.

    • #3231720

      This site is a good starting point

      by tlchost ·

      In reply to I’ll have an Office-On-A-Stick, please….. ;)

      You might want to visit this site,

      The site offers a “suite” of applications, but some of them are not the most current versions. I’d download the individual versions.

      There is a very nice collection of downloads and a forum that has a bunch of folks who seem to be helpful.

      You’ll also fund information on work arounds to use some windows applications that normally write to the registry on a USB drive.

      Good luck!


      • #3231707

        Help for GadgetGirl

        by bobf4 ·

        In reply to This site is a good starting point


        I would definitely consider OpenOffice in your quest.

        I would try one other program for your situation, though. It’s called Ceedo. I use it currently to go between my computer at work & home. It gives you a mini working environment on your flash drive. Best of all, you can install most programs to it, without having to worry about making them “portable,” like Portable OpenOffice. It only works, I believe, with Windows 2000 and Windows XP, for now. There is a 30 day trial you can download at, and afterwards, it costs $40 to register. You can install antivirus programs like ClamWin, anti-spyware programs such as Ad-aware & Spybot, and a host of other applications, too. Check it out!!

    • #3231714

      opinion & a couple of warnings

      by adealey ·

      In reply to I’ll have an Office-On-A-Stick, please….. ;)

      I’d opt for the OS-on-a-stick approach. There are a bunch of them, most variants of Knoppix. Just make sure the one you go with also has an option to boot via floppy because most of the old kit you speak of won’t boot to a USB device.

      If, however, you decide to stay with a file system device…

      I’d avoid the whole U3 boondoggle. More marketing than technology. More complex than necessary. Just use apps w/o install packages (there are tons of them) and load-and-go. Simple, clean, easy.

      HOWEVER, be VERY wary of anti-malware software running on the boxes you plug your device into. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen anti-virus clean all the forensics software off a UFD as soon as it is plugged in, considering it to be hacker-friendly stuff.

    • #3231710

      PQI 4G USB Drive

      by hkay ·

      In reply to I’ll have an Office-On-A-Stick, please….. ;)

      I recommend the PQI U339 4G USB Drive. I have one and I really like it. One of the fastest read and write speeds available and I only paid about $100. Do beware of anything that isn’t name brand and stay away from eBay crap.

      You might need to carry the driver CD around. This sticks work with Win98SE but you will need drivers installed to make them work.

      Also, I have run into some machines that freeze when I attempt to use any USB drive on them. If the machine hasn’t had a BIOS update and all the latest patches installed, you may find yourself unable to use your USB drive on it. Don’t forget to plan for this kind of disaster.

    • #3231700

      office on a stick

      by sales ·

      In reply to I’ll have an Office-On-A-Stick, please….. ;)

      The best you can have is PortableOpenOffice which takes about 175MB. So if you have a 1 or 2GB USB there is plenty of space for all your files.
      PortableOpenOffice provides you with a word processor, spreadsheet, database, presentation and drawing tool. I have tested it it works without problems and leaves no traces on the computer it uses.

    • #3231695


      by goodpurb ·

      In reply to I’ll have an Office-On-A-Stick, please….. ;)

      I have a job that requires using computers in various parts of the country. Like you. I shouldn’t leave any garbage on the host computer.
      I use OpenOffice, foxit pdf reader, freecommander and notepad++ text editor, al on a 2gb usb key.

      Portable ftp (I haven’t tried it but comes well recommended).

      File shredder (I haven’t tried it) (ultra shredder)

      Text editor. I use it and it works well editor

      A clone of Norton’s Commander- two paned file manager more usedful than windows explorer. I wouldn’t be without it. file manager

      The best portable pdf reader. I use it in two languages. pdf reader firefox portable in daily use.


    • #3231682
    • #3231679

      Take that stick &…

      by jhecht ·

      In reply to I’ll have an Office-On-A-Stick, please….. ;)

      Hi GG, et al. This thread has had some great info – like tinyurl – but flash stcks are at the most 2-4 GB – and those are costly.

      I recentlyy did a data migration where they supplied us with mini external hard drives that connect via USB. The mini drives worked perfectly. My only criticism is that the drive we used has no LED activity light, but t worked perfectly. The models we had were made by Iogear, and a fast search at their website gave me this goodie:

      It’s an 80GB combo drive, that connects via both USB 1/2 and Firewire. Don’t know the price, but if your company can pay for your travel to all those jobsites, maybe you can wangle a budget for gear as well.

      With a device like this, you can still load up on frugal apps for travel, and have so much space for storage, that you’ll never have to worry about ‘hitting the wall’. Just an option…

    • #3231651

      Portable Office

      by firewalker96 ·

      In reply to I’ll have an Office-On-A-Stick, please….. ;)

      I didn’t read all the reply’s but if you are looking for a portable office, there is a company that sells USB portable offices ( SanDisk, Kingston, etc., sell USB sticks with the software preinstalled. If you go to the website, they have a link to their Software Central that has tons of programs that can be installed and run from a USB stick

    • #3231648

      Use Trillian Wherever You Go

      by baseballannie ·

      In reply to I’ll have an Office-On-A-Stick, please….. ;)

      I’ve used Trillian Anywhere on a USB drive to get connected quickly to resources at the home office while visiting other locations. If I’m really stuck, I can fire it up, message a colleague and they can send me what I need via a file transfer in Trillian:

      Install Trillian on your zip Disk, CD, Diskonkey, or any other type of portable media. Take Trillian, your preferences, and your contact list with you wherever you go. Use a fully functional Trillian anywhere, on any computer with an internet connection instead of online clients with limited functionality such as AIM Express and ICQ Lite.

    • #3231586

      Productivity On The Go

      by too old for it ·

      In reply to I’ll have an Office-On-A-Stick, please….. ;)

      This article was a breath of fresh air for me in this reagard:

      I now have a Productivity disk and a copy of the latest iteration of Knoppix in my CD case. Covers a world of ills.


    • #3231571

      The ULTIMATE portable toolkit

      by wizardsden ·

      In reply to I’ll have an Office-On-A-Stick, please….. ;)

      Just at a starting point… Though I am very surprised it hasn’t been mentioned before…

      Go to
      and check this out… these CDs run on Bart PE which is remarkably like Windows PE (remarkably like windows!).
      With a small tool called flashboot ( you can easily convert from CD/ISO to a flash drive. since this is a fully functional Windows 32 bit environment you can install ALMOST ANY tool on it! mine lives on a 4 GB thumb drive (Corsair Flash Voyager 4GB) and has Office XP, Firefox, Partition Magic, R-Studio data recovery, Zilla Data Nuker, Paragon Disk Tools, FileZilla FTP client, McAfee Antivirus and tons more… you can download Bart PE for free ( and install your own custom apps for the PE environment. once it’s operational you should be able to install any other app you want..

      each boot it will look like a windows installation, detecting hardware, installing files and configuring devices, but then it loads networking and your GUI and you are up and running. system compatibility is very high, although I have occassionally experienced BSOD erros on odd computer systems. There is so far no WiFi support although you could probably add it, I haven’t tried. Cost should be low since most of the software is freeware or open source. for your usage I would get no smaller than a 4GB flash drive and I would recommend using a portable hard drive. these can be had for about $150 for an 80GB one.

      Hope you find this interesting!!!

    • #3231514

      portable apps

      by jemothy ·

      In reply to I’ll have an Office-On-A-Stick, please….. ;)

      try just download to desktop and extract files to your flash pen. all the ones i have used clam filezilla openoffice work great

    • #3212719

      They type of stick matters – hardware encryption

      by johnhaverysamuel ·

      In reply to I’ll have an Office-On-A-Stick, please….. ;)

      In doing some work on sticks and security for lawyers, we found a problem with them moving between sites. If they used the software encryption that came with the sticks they often needed administration rights on the PCs. Unsurpsiingly most sites said, “no”.

      By luck we bumped into DataTraveler Elite – Privacy Edition, This is hardware encrypted, automatically – so you don’t need administration rights. Expensive, but very fast and seemingly secure.

      Knowing that this exists I now carry only this stick.

      Hope this helps.


      ps1 Now I’ll read the responses to see what apps people do suggest.
      ps2 Second the AI Roboform suggestion. I’ve over 300 passworded websites – the the RoboForm2Go is excellent. Again, you don’t need administration rights on the target PC.
      ps3 No-one seems to have suggested a U3 stick. These have been much hyped. I’ve read a few good reports (although I don’t know the recommenders). In theory, sounds ideal. In practice?

    • #3212698

      GG, this is new to me, but

      by vanessaj ·

      In reply to I’ll have an Office-On-A-Stick, please….. ;)

      I thought I’d pass it along. I just got it today from my boss and haven’t had a moment to check it out as yet. It may or may not be helpful but is apparently a simple program to use. Feel free to take a look without having to wait for me to review it first – that may take a couple of weeks. I hope it helps. As soon as I can read through the other posts, I’ll add what I can (don’t want to duplicate). Good going, starting this post. I think everyone who reads it, as well as contributors, will learn something themselves. Everyone is getting more and more mobile all the time. Thanks for starting!! 😀

      Edited to actually add the link I was referring to :8}

      • #3212627

        Check the Security Monkey

        by alangeek ·

        In reply to GG, this is new to me, but

        If you’re doing computer forensics, and it sounds like you are, you may want to check out the Security Monkey blogs at He presents case histories in humorous fashion, but also mentions many of the requirements of the job, including evidence handling, chain of custody, forensic tools, etc. He will also occasionally direct people to other sources for more in-depth information on tools, training, techniques, etc., so you can find out more of what you need.

        A couple of options might be a Black Dog USB server from Realm Systems which can run a standalone Linux server in a window from a running Windows or Mac system, or else a DSL (Damn Small Linux) bootable USB key. You would need to add your forensics tools to either, but they would not write to the hard drive.

        I suspect that the DSL key would be the better option, because if you’re running apps from a USB key on a running Windows system, it’s likely that virtual memory activity (swap partition) will be changing the drive as you work, which would be a no-no.

        There is also a DSL Damn Small Machine, a complete computer the size of a paperback book which has most of the hardware you’d need, just add keyboard, mouse, and monitor (and speakers if you want. That would be a unit you could take anywhere with you and just hook up to the existing peripherals to use. Some models even have IDE interfaces that you can hook up the other machine’s HD to for snooping around. Much lighter than your average laptop.

        Hope some of these ideas help!

    • #3212670
    • #3212456

      Ultra Edit 32 v12.1

      by brandon_forest ·

      In reply to I’ll have an Office-On-A-Stick, please….. ;)

      Great lightweight text editior, can be used in place of heavy footprint word processors.

      • #3212426

        Bootable Linux ??

        by dman11 ·

        In reply to Ultra Edit 32 v12.1

        Why not get a 4 Gb drive, maybe split half into a bootable linux drive so you can use this for thenewer BIOS systems and can boot to your own OS with all the apps you want. Puppy linux or DSL and then use the other half just for using the drive as separate when the current os is running ?
        DSL come with some or most f the apps you want and is very configureable.
        Not sure if it will fit your needs though in the role you are in..

        • #3231158

          another linux thought

          by kevin@ppp ·

          In reply to Bootable Linux ??

          A LiveCD linux like Knoppix and use your flash drive for your settings and data.

          Boot to the CD and go. Nothing installed on their PC.

    • #3231256

      Office on a stick

      by duncan ·

      In reply to I’ll have an Office-On-A-Stick, please….. ;)


      I have read your post and believe I can point you in the right direction or Check out the included software on the left hand side of the page – YOU CAN HAVE A PC ON A STICK without having to dig up your vegetable patch, and no need for a fairy godmother either.

      Good luck

    • #3202123

      Solving size problem

      by a contractor ·

      In reply to I’ll have an Office-On-A-Stick, please….. ;)

      I would highly recomend that you carry several 1G flash drives. Be careful of mini hard drives, they have more space but can crash on you (it happened to me). You might want to invest in a 3ft USB extension cable in case you have to plug in the back of the PC, a USB Hub for laptops (doesn’t need a power supply), and 4 or 5 1 ft USB extensions. While you have an octypus-looking thing, that extra hardware should allow you to conect enough storage and apps and it shouldn;t wiegh a lot or take up much room when traveling. Hope this helps

    • #3199453

      Portable Office

      by it’s just me ·

      In reply to I’ll have an Office-On-A-Stick, please….. ;)


      I’ve used a Reatogo XPE CD ( run apps (usually utilities) in a Windows environment and it works quite well. I haven’t tried but you might be able to get it to run on a memory stick.

      Another source I found whild researching your question might be helpful to you. I want to try this one myself:

      Good luck!

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