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Carry your computer in your pocketFind out how to take all your applications and settings in a USB thumbdrive and leave your laptop at home.
[ music ] ^M00:00:12 >> It's fun to travel, but it's not fun to lug your laptop with you everywhere. These things are so heavy. What if you could take all your software and settings with you in a portable device this big? I'm Tom Merritt, editor from CNET.com. On this edition of Insider Secrets I'll show you how to save your back with portable applications. ^M00:00:28 [ music ] ^M00:00:31 If you travel for business, a lot of times there is a computer for you everywhere you go. But you still need to carry your laptop so you have all the things you need, like programs and preferences. Here's the solution. Put all those things on a USB thumb drive, like this one. You can be on any computer, and open all your email, open your word and Excel documents, even watch any kind of video without installing anything on the PC you're using. You just need a big enough USB drive to hold all the apps and data. So where do you get the apps? Well you can't just install anything on here, a regular Windows program gets tied to something called the registry. So if you installed it on here, it might not work on every computer. Portableapps.com and portablefreeware.com are two websites that provide special software, built to run specifically off external storage. You download the application, and install it on the USB drive. Then you can use that app on any computer. If you want to keep your bookmarks up to date though, you'll want to use the browser that's in here all the time, otherwise you have to update your bookmarks manually, and that can be a pain. There are also two products that make the management of portable apps a little more streamline. They're called U3 and Cedo [assumed spelling]. They're platforms for USB drives that make the whole portable app process a little easier, more newbie friendly. They can read your Outlook mail, they also open Word and Excel documents, and give you access to a store full of other portable apps. The U3 apps cost money. Cedo makes you pay for some installation software, and then promises to make any application portable. So you can see I have my browser here with my bookmarks for the Saint Louis Cardinals, Ice Weasel, and CNET TV. And I can take this browser with me anywhere I go. So I'm gonna close down, eject my USB drive, and let's go see how this works. I am now at Veronica Belmont's computer. I simply plug in my USB drive, unplug her phone, there. Voila, I have my Firefox with my bookmarks on Veronica's computer. >> Uh, what are you doing on my computer? >> Sorry. >> Did you unplug my phone? >> Let's go back to my office. Okay, so one last thing to note. These things are really small, they're easy to lose. So keep track of them. In fact, if you keep any sensitive data on here, like your bank records, and even your surfing history, you probably want to encrypt it. True Crypt from TrueCrypt.org is one free program that lets you do on the fly encryption for your USB drive. Finally, I want to point out that a USB drive is not the only device that can do all this. In fact, you got an iPod? Or maybe another music device that can be read as a hard drive? You can store portable apps there as well, in fact anything external that can store data can store portable apps. That's it for this edition of Insider Secrets. I'm Tom Merritt for CNET.com. Enjoy your new, more portable life. ^M00:03:16 [ music ]