USB Flash Drives & Portable Applications
Sol Libes

1. USB Plug
2. processor & ROM
3. Test points
4. Flash memory chip
5. Crystal
6. LED
7. Write protect switch
8.Space for 2nd memory chip

What Do USB Flash Drives cost?
1GB - $4
2GB - $8
4GB - $25
8GB - $52
16GB - $136
Minimum prices for non-U3 devices from, & - 5/13/07

32GB - $1900
64GB -$4,800
Prices from 5/13/07

USB Flash Drive Buying Tips

Strengths & Weaknesses of USB flash drives

- Rugged - withstand shock, intense pressure, temperature extremes, and immersion in water.
- Do not need a power supply
- Low cost
- Carry your applications, settings, and data with you
- Avoid virus, spyware, etc. problems
- Can be made safe & secure with password protection
- Many free applications available
- Applications preloaded on many USB drives
- Works with Windows, Mac OS X, Linux & Unix

 - Easy to loose - for security encrypt files (see section below)
 - U3/Ceedo only works with Windows XP/2000 Professional (Portable Apps Suite also works with Linux)
 - May need USB2 input & possible compatibility issues with some computers
- Slower than RAM
- Large size flash drives much more expensive than USB hard drives (e.g. Western Digital Passport 80GB drive only $80).
- Drive may come formated to use FAT-16 file system which is limited to 512 filenames. Do not reformat if
drive contains preinstalled software (e.g. U3)
 - Some applications not available for portable devices (e.g. Quicken)
- If not careful, data CAN BE  left on host computer.  Save data only on flash drive!
- No history of use with infected host computers 
Search Google "U3 weaknesses"     

Backing up Your Important Folders to a Flash Drive

Follow these simple rules for backing up your files and you will be able to face any computer calamity:
* Save common folders (e.g. Documents and Settings, My Documents, My Pictures, My Music, etc.)
* Financial data-banking, tax, investments
* Make sub-folders if you have a lot of categories
* You do NOT need to back up the entire hard disk. Most of hard disk is occupied by programs not your data files.

Use Microsoft USB Flash Drive Manager (see below) - Free download - Windows XP only


1. Click Start/All Programs/Accessories/System Tools/Backup to start "Backup or Restore Wizard."
2. Click Next button and select Back up files and settings and click Next button.
3. On "What to Back Up" screen select Let me choose what to back up and click Next button.
4. On "Items to Back Up" screen select My Computer, then put a check mark next to drive, folders, and files you want to back up. Then click the Next button.
5. On "Backup Type, Destination, and Name" screen enter drive letter of USB flash drive and click Next button.
6. On "Completing the Backup" screen click Finish to start backup. Click the Advanced button to change the type of backup, if desired.


1. Open Windows Explorer (Start/Programs/Accessories/Windows Explorer)
2. RIGHT Click on the folder you want to backup.
3. Click Send To, removable disk (drive letter will vary depending on your setup)

How to Backup Critical Data Files

Favorites & Bookmarks

Outlook Express Mail, Address Book & Settings

Quicken Data

AOL Users:
Address Book & E-mail - Do not backup as they are stored on AOL computer
Settings & Favorite Places - copy "Organize" folder, and, if it exists, "Backup" folder.

Microsoft USB Flash Drive Manager (FDM)
Free download from Microsoft - works only with Windows XP
What you can do with it:
1. Give each flash drive a name.
2. Associate each flash drive with a folder on your PC's hard drive.
3. Lists flash drives plugged into your PC.
4. Select flash drive and have one-click options to swap data,either way, with its PC folder.
5. Drag files into FDM window to save on flash drive.
6. Use wizard to save network configuration on flash drive

Encryption Software|
Privacy and Security is important for portable devices, such as USB Flash drives. Many USB drive manufacturers provide built-in password protections and a few also provide file/folder encryption. Several vendors sell software for password and file encryption. Listed below are free programs for this purpose.
Portable TrueCrypt (Open Source) -
Cryptainer - cryptainer_le_download_center.htm
Folder Lock -
Wincry -

USB Smart Drives


(shown on left)

Portable Applications



 U3 Smart Drive
A Data

  Works only with Windows XP/2000

Ceedo Smart Drive


    Lexar Power-To-Go

Works only with Windows XP/2000


 Make any USB Drive a Smart Drive
Portable Apps Suite

Works with:
- Linux
- Windows XP





Smart Drive for the Mac

Creating portable apps


Works only with OS X

U3 versus Portable Apps Suite

Why Do I Use a USB Smart Drive?
    I carry my applications, settings, bookmarks, and data with me.
    I use it on any PC .
    I synchronize and organize my files between multiple computers
    I do not worry about leaving any data behind on host computer.
    I have password and security protection
    I access my important data files most anywhere
    I use it on other people's computers to fix their problems.
    I transfer video files too big to move via the Internet
    I avoid cost and hassle of CDs

Things to do with a USB Smart Drive?,123793/article.html

Portable Applications Information

U3 Portable Applications

Portable Apps Suite and Free Applications - U3 & non-U3

Directory/list of Portable Applications

Create Portable Applications

Run Outlook/Outlook Express on a USB flash drive
Make a USB memory device a portable applications host

Wikipedia Portable Applications Info

Mac Portable Applications

Your Windows XP System on a USB Drive
Tom's Hardware website outlines the steps to take to install a copy of Windows XP on a USB flash drive
Mojopac transforms a host Windows XP computer into your computer with your desktop, your applications, your settings, and your data.

Create a Computer Repair USB Flash Drive

Create a Virtual PC USB Flash Drive
moka5 creates a virtual PC when the USB drive is inserted into a host PC. Host computer is not affected by spyware or viruses, as reboot brings you back to the original state. Includes Firefox, Thunderbird, Gain (chat) and Media Player. Surf web anonymously. Works only with Windows XP. Runs slowly depending on speed of USB device.

Create a Bootable Linux USB Flash Drive
Create a Bootable USB Flash Drive
In many cases you can't upgrade a system's BIOS without booting the PC from a CD or a floppy. But there's a way around this, as well as other situations that require you to boot up a special operating system image. You can format a Flash drive and configure it to boot, as long as your BIOS supports booting from a USB device. To do so, you need specialized tools that let you format the Flash drive properly.

One tool you could use is the HP Drive Key Boot Utility, which works with many Flash drives. If it the tool does not work for you your USB drive, HP has a newer tool that you can try HP Disk Storage Format Tool v2.1.8. The link goes through Google's translator as the download page is in Chinese. If you have trouble, you can find some good step-by-step instructions, as well as a mirror download of v2.1.8 at the Bay Wolf Web site, along with some other files you might need, depending on how you want to format the Flash device

Another site with information on creating a bootable flash drive is:

Recover Erased or corrupted Data

Fix a dead flash drive (or USB key)

Security - Worm targets Portable Memory Drives,1895,2126190,00.asp