What useful programs/utilities can I put on a thumbdrive?
November 14, 2005 9:15 AM   Subscribe

What useful programs/utilities can I put on a thumbdrive?

I was recently given a 1GB thumbdrive for my birthday. I've transfered all my documents and other important backups to the drive, and I'm left with about 850MBs of free space. Are there any useful programs or utilities I can put on it? Ideally, I'd love to keep this thumbdrive on my keychain and use it to help friends with computer problems. (Yes, I'm the resident "computer guy" in my neck of the woods!) TIA for any information you can provide.
posted by EmuBite to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Try the Portable Apps Suite.

From the link:
Portable Apps Suite Contains: Portable Firefox, Portable Thunderbird, Portable OpenOffice.org, Portable AbiWord, Portable NVU, Portable Sunbird, Portable FileZilla, Portable Gaim and will fit on a 256Mb USB thumbdrive.

For helping out those in need, there is Spybot - for spyware and avast! - for antivirus (free for home use).
posted by purephase at 9:31 AM on November 14, 2005

Oh, and if you do not want the whole suite, each of the portable applications are available separately.
posted by purephase at 9:31 AM on November 14, 2005

You'll find the answers to this previous question useful. I would also suggest visiting the following websites:

USBApps.com, Portable USB Apps and an excellent site for small apps (although maybe not all suitable for a USB drive) is TinyApps.Org.
posted by wannalol at 9:47 AM on November 14, 2005

I like having putty and sciTE on a thumbdrive, cause lots of people wont have ssh or a decent text editor on their machine.

I found tinyapps.org a great resource for other cool stuff for thumbdrives, cause ideally all the programs you use will 1) run as an executable without installation and 2) not write any changes to the computer you are plugging into, like the registry.
posted by 31d1 at 9:49 AM on November 14, 2005

On mine, I have:

Everything from Sysinternals
Unix Utilities
Ad Aware

and an antivirus program. I also have some common drivers that will get most of the computers I work with up and running (i.e. Network drivers that some of my machines use that dont come inbox in Windows, etc).

The Portable Apps Suite that purephase mentions above looks really awesome too, I will probably add that
posted by stupidcomputernickname at 10:11 AM on November 14, 2005

You can run Linux (eg. Damn Small Linux) off a thumbdrive.
posted by 6550 at 10:18 AM on November 14, 2005

You can run Linux (eg. Damn Small Linux) off a thumbdrive.

And you'd still have 800MB free for all that other stuff!
posted by SuperNova at 10:34 AM on November 14, 2005

For what it's worth, you can run Windows XP off of a USB drive.
posted by probablysteve at 10:47 AM on November 14, 2005

Tiddliwiki or a similar platform-agnostic notes tool might be nice.
posted by forrest at 11:13 AM on November 14, 2005

If you find yourself fixing your friends computers, then you are really saying you will be cleaning up spyware and updating windows almost every time. So, ad-aware is good and a free antivirus that is excellent is AVG and top it all off with November 2005 version of Autopatcher, the only way to patch a windows XP pc quickly.

I have a 1GB thumbdrive and the largest files on it are the SP2 updater (266MB), Autopatcher (233MB), Ontracks Easy Recovery, Adobe PDF reader 7 (20mb), winamp, real alternative, quicktime alternative, Matroska Pack, WinRAR 3.50 corporate edition... the list goes on.
posted by Dean Keaton at 11:13 AM on November 14, 2005

The Portable Freeware Collection has some nice stuff. And I'll second 31d1's mention of tinyapps.
posted by phrits at 11:20 AM on November 14, 2005

For anti-spyware, put on Hitman Pro. It's not really well-known, but it's an automated macro of sorts that automatically downloads all the popular free spyware apps, updates and optimizes the settings, and then scans your machine. It has it's own heuristic analysis built in too.

The only issue in terms of it being on a thumbdrive is that it's not "portable" (has to be installed) and it does require an internet connection.
posted by Ekim Neems at 12:42 PM on November 14, 2005

I'd always leave 800Mb free so that you can transfer a full CD-ROM's worth of data via the drive. That's a useful function in a lot of circumstances, since a lot of sets of data of all types are arranged with the size of a CD in mind, even if they're not on a CD.
posted by -harlequin- at 1:40 PM on November 14, 2005

I've got a tonne of abandonwarez on mine and dosbox - perfect for playing games on other peoples/your employers computers whilst leaving nary a trace... You never know when the urge to play UFO or Civ1 might strike!
posted by prentiz at 3:22 PM on November 14, 2005

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