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What's On Your Thumbdrive?

Cliff posted about 8 years ago | from the portable-software dept.

314

Broue Master asks: "Nowadays, we need to support not only people at the office, but friends, family, friends of the family, family of the friends... you name it! They all run Windows to a degree and there are many tools to help you when assisting. Personally, I have a thumb-drive with removable memory cards. One of them has a small bootable Linux, the other one is filled with ready to use Windows utilities (CPU-Z, Ultra-Edit32), DOS utilities I've been collecting over the years, and Unix-style utilities (ps.exe, kill.exe, and others) ported to Windows, without the need for a layer like Cygwin. I also have a copy of the install files for AVG, Spybot, Sygate and the likes. But, even though I think I have many great tools, I'm sure I do not know about a lot of great others to help diagnose and solve problem. So I ask you, what's on your thumb-drive?"

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For those who know what I'm talking about... (3, Interesting)

ModernGeek (601932) | about 8 years ago | (#15987684)

....we need an open source equivalent to the GeekSquad MRI :)

Re:For those who know what I'm talking about... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15987739)

The Geek Squad utility cd with the scripted runs of spybot and the like? I have one - one of my customers brought in a machine with a copy of it forgotten in the ODD.

Re:For those who know what I'm talking about... (2, Informative)

b0r1s (170449) | about 8 years ago | (#15987950)

Whip up your own using the BartPE live XP cd [nu2.nu] . I have two copies at work, one with RecoverMyFiles, Scandisk, and RAID repair utilities and another with Spyware and virus scanner apps.

Personal Wiki (4, Informative)

Lord Prox (521892) | about 8 years ago | (#15988024)

How about this... TiddlyWiki [tiddlywiki.com] a personal wiki for notes. views in a web browser, pure javascript love, as handy as a PDA, and only 300kb of HTML.



Place a curse on Spammers [i-curse.com]

Re:Personal Wiki (3, Funny)

Lord Prox (521892) | about 8 years ago | (#15988044)

Oops, forgot to note the license. BSD - OSI approved.

This is /. and I forgot the license. Sorry all.



Bless TiddlyWiki [i-bless.com]

Re:For those who know what I'm talking about... (1)

hk999 (998095) | about 8 years ago | (#15988025)

I agree with the open source, good idea!

Oh, you mean Knoppix? :-) (or BBC) (4, Insightful)

billstewart (78916) | about 8 years ago | (#15988109)

Knoppix on a CDROM is a really convenient solution to a lot of Windows problems.
Boot it up, check the hardware, check the partitions, replace broken files,
and of course copy the important data off to a USB shoebox drive
(or to a CD/DVD if there's a second drive in the machine)
before doing any more serious maintenance. I've had to do that routine a few times.

The old "Linux Bootable Business Card" was a much smaller distro
that fit onto one of those 50MB truncated-small-CD formats,
and had a bunch of repair tools.


And of course thumbdrives can do the same thing,
but you need to be Really Really careful about viruses,
not only because we're reinventing the floppy disk virus vector,
but because one of the times you really need this sort of tool
is when a machine might be infected - CDROMs are really safe.

Top secret military information (2, Funny)

BobSixtyFour (967533) | about 8 years ago | (#15987702)

I have about 6 of em too, got em real cheap from those iraq street shops :) [the above is ment to be a joke. Don't take it seriously big brother]

Porn.. (3, Funny)

talkingpaperclip (952112) | about 8 years ago | (#15987715)

And I think I represent most of /. here.

Re:Porn.. (0, Troll)

grammar fascist (239789) | about 8 years ago | (#15988166)

And to think he got modded funny, when it's really just sad.

Re:Porn.. (5, Funny)

talkingpaperclip (952112) | about 8 years ago | (#15988185)

Obviously it was a joke... a thumbdrive has nowhere near the storage capacity necessary for the average /.er's porn collection.

terrist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15987716)

My thumb drive has al-Zarqawi's life works on it.

Here are two excellent resources... (5, Informative)

jbarr (2233) | about 8 years ago | (#15987723)

For me, the key is to load "portable" versions of apps instead of "installable" versions. The point is not only to eliminate the need to install, but more importantly, not to leave traces of your apps behind. It's security and a courtesy. Two excellent sources are:

PortableApps.com [portableapps.com]
PortableFreeware.com [portablefreeware.com]

-Jim Barr
http://jimstips.com/ [jimstips.com]

Re:Here are two excellent resources... (5, Interesting)

Mooga (789849) | about 8 years ago | (#15987944)

PortableApps.com has tons of great stuff. I use Portable Firefox all the time when I'm on the run and can't use my own laptop.

I've also been crazy enought to run Steam on one of my 1 gig thumb drives. Simply install Steam and the games of your choice localy (I did it with Half-Life and TFC). Then copy the whole Steam folder to your thumb drive. While updates take a long time, booting the game and downloading new maps isn't nearly as bad as you would think. Lag was minimal when I tested.

Re:Here are two excellent resources... (1)

Gravemind123 (981612) | about 8 years ago | (#15988161)

That is also what I have on mine, the Portable Windows Task Manager is useful for me, since my school won't give me access to it on my limited account, and their computers have spontaneous program crashes and I have to log in and out to kill them!

Re:Here are two excellent resources... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15988168)

Hey fuckwad, I have sigs off because I don't want to see your fucking sig.

Everything (5, Funny)

oskard (715652) | about 8 years ago | (#15987729)

My girlfriend bought me a laptop hard drive in an enclosure. Its 100 GB with a 5400 RPM disc, and supports USB 2.0. I literally store everything on it, from schoolwork to movies to backups of video games. I take it everywhere with me just incase I find some software (say on my school's network) that I'd really like to take home. Or if I need to access my schedule or project documents, or maybe my voice communication client.

So, technically its not a thumbdrive, but it fits in my pocket.
EVERYTHING.

Re:Everything (2, Insightful)

NMThor (949485) | about 8 years ago | (#15987776)

Make sure you have a backup! :)

Re:Everything (3, Insightful)

Heembo (916647) | about 8 years ago | (#15988094)

And make sure to both backup your backup, and then VERIFY THAT YOU CAN RECOVER YOU DATA. Backup alone is not enough - it's all about redundant backup and verification of you backups!

Re:Everything (0, Flamebait)

masterzora (871343) | about 8 years ago | (#15987916)

In what way is this insightful? It doesn't usefully answer the question and it basically looks like your post's entire purpose is to say "look at the shiny I have."

Re:Everything (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15987927)

You obviously missed the real "shiney". Grandfather starts by saying My girlfriend...

Re:Everything (5, Funny)

masterzora (871343) | about 8 years ago | (#15987972)

Good point. In that case, it should be modded +5, Funny.

Re:Everything (2, Funny)

MrAnnoyanceToYou (654053) | about 8 years ago | (#15988050)

I have mod points at the moment, but there's no, "Incoherent Ramblings of a Hallucinatory Madman" ranking. Guess I'll just have to take a pass.

Re:Everything (1)

oskard (715652) | about 8 years ago | (#15988115)

Hey I didn't mod it, don't blame me. And you're right, I was saying 'Look what I have', because its useful and I feel everyone would benefit over this rather than a thumb drive.

The most important (1, Redundant)

electronmaster (926497) | about 8 years ago | (#15987737)

Firefox- the latest and greatest version. Everyone needs this. Make sure you take it

Re:The most important (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15987833)

karma whore

Re:The most important (2, Interesting)

Mostly a lurker (634878) | about 8 years ago | (#15987923)

Funnily enough, while I use Firefox myself for the extensions, when switching standard users I am now giving them Opera 9. Firefox is getting targeted by malware, and I think Opera 9 is actually intrinsically more secure also.

Re:The most important (1)

mikeisme77 (938209) | about 8 years ago | (#15988147)

Opera 9 also gets fewer pop-ups then any browser I've used. I run into issues with sites (including GMail and Google Calender) not supporting Opera but other than those minor annoyances its my browser of choice for my Windows machine. My OS X machine just has Safari--Opera didn't seem to perform quite as well on OS X as it does in Windows. I still have Firefox as my default browser at work and in Linux though.
That said, I think the average user may still be better off with Firefox (despite it being targeted by malware and such now) simply because once the user browses to one of their web sites that doesn't work in Opera they'll stop using Opera for any web browsing and return to IE. Unless, you give them both Firefox and Opera (and hide all links to IE) then that might work--as I use Firefox as my backup browser when Opera can't handle a site (I even occasionally have to use IE--or the IE tabs in Firefox--because there's a survey site that pays $5 per survey that on rare occasions will require IE and since it's $5 for a less than 30 minute survey, and only the one web site I'm accessing I'm willing to do it with minimal kicking and screaming).

At last reckoning... (1)

Sorthum (123064) | about 8 years ago | (#15987738)

CCleaner, a Panda Titanium installer (does a nice job of removing stuff), XP's SP2, HijackThis, Macecraft's A Squared, and a variety of drivers and such.

Re:At last reckoning... (2, Informative)

Mostly a lurker (634878) | about 8 years ago | (#15987957)

Whenever including tools designed to try to clean infected systems, always include the important warning:
Do not clean infected systems. You can never be sure you have caught everything. Almost always, infected systems should be formatted and replaced by a clean install. Only under exceptional circumstances should the attempt to disinfect systems be made, and the user must be told that it is possible his system is still infected and that he should proceed accordingly.

mozilla? (4, Informative)

qortra (591818) | about 8 years ago | (#15987740)

You missed firefox/thunderbird. It's shocking how many people don't have them, and how much grief they put themselves through because they don't.

Re:mozilla? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15988142)

Yeah, I want to spend hours fielding support questions after installing Thunderbird or Firefox. Tell them about it let them install it. They will be less likely to blame you when something doesn't work just like it did in Outlook Express.

If they use email and browser programs regularly they are going to notice a difference, especialy if the icons are different.

If they don't use it enough to notice, they probably don't use it enough to bother changing it.

Book 'em. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15987741)

"So I ask you, what's on your thumb-drive?"

Fingerprints.

--
"Slashdot requires you to wait between each successful posting of a comment to allow everyone a fair chance at posting a comment...that says the same thing you're going to post, and you get a redundent. HA! HA!"

Re:Book 'em. (1)

honkycat (249849) | about 8 years ago | (#15987995)

I actually do keep fingerprints on my thumb drive. RSA fingerprints for the servers I ssh to so I can verify them when I connect from a new ssh installation.

Don't People Bother to "Search" Before Posting? (5, Informative)

AnswerIs42 (622520) | about 8 years ago | (#15987744)

Could do a long post... but easier just to point to this /. post [slashdot.org] that was already up with MANY MANY good links.

Re:Don't People Bother to "Search" Before Posting? (2, Insightful)

hackstraw (262471) | about 8 years ago | (#15987939)

Could do a long post... but easier just to point to this /. post that was already up with MANY MANY good links.

This could be the best post from that article: http://ask.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=120583&cid =10155070 [slashdot.org]

This is probably the only time I would defend the slashdot editors about a dupe.

Pixels (1, Offtopic)

Konster (252488) | about 8 years ago | (#15987753)

Digitial still pictures in color of Linus Torvalds, Kevin Mitnick and Bill Gates.

Re:Pixels (2, Funny)

Larry Lightbulb (781175) | about 8 years ago | (#15987786)

At Yalta?

Re:Pixels (1)

Konster (252488) | about 8 years ago | (#15987802)

OMG! Good guess!

Re:Pixels (1)

CodeMasterPhilzar (978639) | about 8 years ago | (#15987861)

Thanks for the laugh! And BTW, you should seek therapy...

Re:Pixels (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15988129)

wHAT? nO sTEVE wOZ?? WHAt aBOUT JoBs?

Re:Pixels (2, Funny)

kfg (145172) | about 8 years ago | (#15988148)

. . . pictures in color of Linus Torvalds, Kevin Mitnick and Bill Gates.

Oooooooooooooooo, geek porn!

KFG

Nothing too tricky (1)

statikuz (523906) | about 8 years ago | (#15987754)

I don't have much on there... installers for Spyboy and AVG/Avast, CPU-Z, Firefox, Flash player, an Undelete software, FileMon, ProcessExplorer, and the WCG agent that I install when no one's looking. ;)

My Thumbdrive = digital backpack. (1)

MobiusRenoire (931476) | about 8 years ago | (#15988027)

I have a Sony thumbdrive and I keep similar stuff on it.
AVG, Spybot, Windows Updates, an installer for the mail client we use at work, device drivers, and the like. I'll keep temporary backups of local files for whatever computer I'm working on as well, which has proven a wise choice in the past. I also back up whatever projects I may be working on to the drive in addition to normal server/CD back ups.

More out of the ordinary, I keep a debugger (Olly debugger) that has helped my recover forgotten passwords and such as well as Netcat.

The thumbdrive will also boot a computer with network drivers in DOS so I can Ghost to/from network drives.

I don't have a thumb drive, you insensitive clod $ (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15987757)


A little of Everything (1)

rob_squared (821479) | about 8 years ago | (#15987758)

I've got a 1GB PNY [misco.ch] attache and the first thing I put is of course a linux distro (DSL [damnsmalllinux.org] ). And some windows utilities, things that can handle ISO images, writing floppy images. But the other half of that is personal stuff. I keep resumes of myself and some family members, my favorite wallpapers, some emulators (Nester, Dgen, KGB, Snes9x) and so on. And of course, a certain video file, with the name and extension obfuscated.

Sneaker net (4, Funny)

PIPBoy3000 (619296) | about 8 years ago | (#15987764)

I use it to transport data from high-bandwidth to low-bandwidth areas, not much more. If my family has computer problems, they typically drop off the entire thing on my doorstep. Making housecalls is annoying because there's always that one little utility or piece of hardware I forgot to bring. My nerd cave is full of wonders, and is appropriately treated with awe.

Unspeakable (2, Funny)

hoshino (790390) | about 8 years ago | (#15987779)

So I ask you, what's on your thumb-drive?

You don't want to know.

Re:Unspeakable (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15987919)

how come you can't tell us what's on it? you got kiddie pr0n on it or something?

the usual stuff (1)

vincpa (646684) | about 8 years ago | (#15987782)

At most, all ive ever needed is spybot with updated defs, the latest def files for norton anti-virus, and a copy of hijack this. Booting from a USB drive is nice in thoery but not every pc supports it so to me its a waist of time. A bootable CD with bartPE works on the old and new and should be all you'll ever need.

grammar police (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15987980)

"waste", not "waist". You fail at life, "looser".

Re:grammar police (3, Funny)

shreevatsa (845645) | about 8 years ago | (#15988175)

Dude, you're behind the times. Saying "waist of time" is obviously the new hipster lingo. Get it? Ha ha...

*ducks and runs away* (So no, I won't be here all week.)

Beats me. (4, Funny)

MarkusQ (450076) | about 8 years ago | (#15987785)

Beats me. You'll have to ask the guy who swiped it.

--MarkusQ

A few win32 apps on my drive (4, Interesting)

(H)elix1 (231155) | about 8 years ago | (#15987793)

are Putty (ssh client and proxy pipe), PSCP (secure copy of files from *nix to/from win), PSFTP (secure ftp), tail, and scite (a nice text editor).

Re:A few win32 apps on my drive (5, Informative)

enrgeeman (867240) | about 8 years ago | (#15988000)

you may want to switch to portaputty, it keeps stuff out of the registry, and in a neat little folder, same directory as the exe

Sysinernals (3, Insightful)

rmull (26174) | about 8 years ago | (#15987809)

Process Explorer, Filemon, Autoruns. Some other windows debugging tools too, since I do development on that platform. But those three are generally useful.

Re:Sysinernals (1)

EvilIdler (21087) | about 8 years ago | (#15987988)

I use all these tools, too, plus a few spyware removal tools.
More importantly, my USB stick is an MP3 player - which is
write-protectable.

Nethack (3, Funny)

10Neon (932006) | about 8 years ago | (#15987813)

This way, I can satisfy any passing desire to experience Yet Another Stupid Death.

Sysinternals (5, Informative)

nmb3000 (741169) | about 8 years ago | (#15987818)

There are a myriad of great tools out there, but personally I have a copy of almost everything from Sysinternals [sysinternals.com] on my thumbdrive. Top of the list are Process Explorer [sysinternals.com] a (overclocked, suped-up, uber, and simply amazing) version of TaskManager. It shows everything you've ever wanted to know about a process but didn't know you could know. In addition, FileMon [sysinternals.com] and RegMon [sysinternals.com] are very helpful for troubleshooting permission problems, and the PSTools kit [sysinternals.com] (psexec, pskill, etc) are also great. They also have a free read-only version of NTFSDOS [sysinternals.com] (and even an NTFS filesystem driver for 95/98. The TCP/IP tools [sysinternals.com] are also very good to have on hand. Best part is of course that they are free, and many have source available.

If you do any Windows troubleshooting, this website is a must-have. No joke.

Re:Sysinternals (2, Informative)

jarom (899827) | about 8 years ago | (#15987925)

Yeah, I find that the tools at sysinternals.com are among the best for figuring out what is going on on your system. My favorites are Process Explorer and AutoRuns (how to figure out *everything* that runs when you start up and log into Windows).

My malware cleaning stuff... (4, Informative)

zerocool^ (112121) | about 8 years ago | (#15987839)


Trend Microsystems "Sysclean" package. It's just an exe file with the scanning engine, and you download the latest virus def patternfile, and it scans your computer. Very nice; TM I think is the best commercial AV product available.
Sysclean executable:
http://www.trendmicro.com/download/dcs.asp [trendmicro.com] (under "Not a Trend Micro Customer")
Pattern files:
http://www.trendmicro.com/download/pattern.asp [trendmicro.com]

I also carry, in the "Antivirus" folder:
Various utilities I've collected for removing Symantec AV
AVG Free installer (I tried to talk people into TrendMicro, because I honestly think it's better, but if they flat out refused, I'd install AVG for them - less virusy computers on teh intarwebs is a good thing)
vcleaner - avg's somewhat less capable version of TM's sysclean package.

Also:
A series of handy apps, including:
7zip - v313 (the older one seems to have less bloat)
adobe acrobat
Divx codec
VLC Media Player
Firefox
Winamp 2.92
IttyBittyProcessManager
Angry IP scanner
Killbox
MSRDPCLI.exe (MS Remote Desktop Client - for 2000/98 machines)
vbrun60 files

and a folder called "Computer Cleanup", containing:
ad aware personal (plus the latest defs.ref file, available form lavasoftusa.com)
CWShredder (remove cool web search spyware)
Hijack this
ewido setup
LSP Fix (for sneaky spywares that replace something with dns)
WinsockXPFix
BugOff
RegVac
Spybot S&D (plus latest update packs)

Yep.

Re:My malware cleaning stuff... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15988084)

Wow. So much crap on one drive.

Ghetto old 7zip - I see no bloat at all in the latest one, but if you want to see REAL bloat, just look at the next item on your list: acrobat reader (ditch that POS and use Foxit Reader instead).

DivX Codec? EEEWWW! You Carry spyware to load on PCs too? And Real Player? Geez man. One word: ffdshow!

All kinds of junk there, and none of what matters seemingly...

USB Thumb Drives Spreading Viruses? (1)

billstewart (78916) | about 8 years ago | (#15988169)

Sure, they're great for hauling around your *anti* virus software, but thumb drives are also great for propagating viruses, at least if any of today's malware-kiddies decide to go old school and modernize the old floppy-disk sneakernet viruses. I work with a bunch of sales people, and when they're going out to do a presentation to a customer, many of them will put it on a USB thumb drive so they can give it to the customer or play it on a customer's video-projector PC in case that's easier than getting their laptop to talk to the projector. And it's always the PC in the conference rooms where all the other visiting sales people bring *their* USB drives and viruses...

So far I'm not aware of any of my folks having problems, but it's only a matter of time, and it only takes *one* person whose kid is a gamer or warez kiddie for the virus to get going.

Nothing. (1)

Urza9814 (883915) | about 8 years ago | (#15987848)

I don't have one. I see no need for one. They're very expensive and very small capacity. I'll stick with my case of CDs.

"We" don't "need" to "support" anyone (0, Flamebait)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 8 years ago | (#15987852)

Who died and made you everyone's Windows support bitch? I can imagine how there's a perceived coolness factor of being able to whip out a copy of AVG or Firefox and install it on someone's PC for them, but ... why?

Re:"We" don't "need" to "support" anyone (1)

AusIV (950840) | about 8 years ago | (#15987965)

Uh... The point in this was what do you carry on your thumb drive for you to use when you're at another computer. The idea is that you don't go around installing things on people's computers.

Personally I keep a bunch of stuff on my iPod for whenever I may need it. I have a portable version of Firefox, and I keep PuTTy and WinSCP to get to my Linux server from any computer that's available. I was intrigued to see that there's a portable OpenOffice.org as well. That might be worth downloading if I ever find my iPod's USB cable.

No Hassle Rewards. (5, Funny)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 8 years ago | (#15987853)

What's On Your Thumbdrive?

My Capital One card.

Re:No Hassle Rewards. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15988019)

What's On Your Thumbdrive?

Your Capital One card.

Re:No Hassle Rewards. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15988082)

Oh, ya I have your Capital One card on mine as well.

Re:No Hassle Rewards. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15988150)

What's on my thumbdrive?

Your Capital One card.

Easy to bring it all.... (2, Interesting)

McShaken (986580) | about 8 years ago | (#15987859)

With the 2GB drives costing so little, it's easy to bring all the tools you need anywhere you go. Some of the basics - All the tools from SysInternals - About 27MB (including RegMon, FileMon, etc...) File Recovery software like Restore File shredding utility SpyBot/Adaware TweakUI SynchBack (Synch and file backup program) AVG - AntiVirus Folder with key XP system files CCleaner Opera/Firefox/Thunderbird

Quick list (5, Interesting)

Denyer (717613) | about 8 years ago | (#15987875)

Some of this is a bit redundant, but it is all only 19Mb using UPX.

1by1 (play MP3s), AriskKey (recover passwords), AutoRuns (enumerate startup tasks), BurnCDCC (burn ISO images), CD (basic CD player), CDex (rip CDs + convert MP3/WAV), Copier (quick scan + print), CWShredder (clean spyware), DComBob (tame DCOM), Discover (force windows onscreen), DupeLocater (find and clean), FileRecovery PC Inspector (undelete), Folder2ISO (make ISO images), FoxitReader (read PDFs), GUIPDFTK (split/join PDFs), HijackThis (find spyware), HJSplit (split/join files), Identify_Boards (identify hardware), IPAgent (show IP), KatMouse installer (due to MS drivers), LCISOCreator (make ISO image from CD), Leaktest (test firewall), Microsoft keygen (people lose things), MultiRes (change res + force refresh), Multi Timer (stopwatch), NoteTab Light (text editor), NTest (test monitor setup), OnTop (pin windows to foreground), Process Explorer (task manager), ProduKey (recover passwords), Registry Commander (virus cleanup), ResHacker (examine executables), Rootkit Revealer (just in case), ShootTheMessenger (turn service off), Shred by AnalogX (simple filer shredder), TedNPad (unicode text editor), TFT (dead pixel locator), UNPnP (tame SSDP), UPX (compress executables), UnitConverter (what it says), utorrent (basic torrent app), VCdControlTool (mount ISO images), Windows 98 generic USB flash driver, WinImp (archive to ZIP, de-archives more), WinIPs (set hardware IPs), Wizmo (create force kill shortcuts), WNTIPCFG (show IP config), WS_FTP95 (basic FTP client), XnView (image browser and effects), XPDite (minor XP-SP1 fix), YACalc (evaluate expressions), XVI32 (hex editor)

A question of security (1)

CodeMasterPhilzar (978639) | about 8 years ago | (#15987884)

Can the little USB thumb drives be physically write-protected? It would seem to me that mounting them on a potentially virus-infected Windows machine. (ie. any Windows machine) is just asking for trouble. I have a couple of CD-Rs burned (and finalized) with utilities. Maybe I'm paranoid, but if they go into a potentially infected machine, and it turns out to be infected with something nasty, it's a one-way trip. CD-Rs are cheap, my time and data are not.

Can it? Yes. (1)

RootWind (993172) | about 8 years ago | (#15987953)

There are a decent number of flash drives that have a write-protect switch on the side you can switch on and off as desired. I know PNY, Imation, and Mushkin carry them. Probably others as well.

Re:A question of security (1)

mrjackson2000 (733829) | about 8 years ago | (#15987989)

yes, some of them have a write protect switch. my lexar jumpdrive has one while my pny mini attache does not.

I've got two. (1)

Anonymous Freak (16973) | about 8 years ago | (#15987894)

'Updates' which has every conceivable update file for Windows 98, Me, and XP, and 'Utilities' which has:
PortableApps.com's list of Apps. (Most notably Firefox.)
Hijack This
The installers for AVG Free, Ad-Aware, and Spybot.
The latest update files for the above three, plus Norton and McAfee. (For those without functioning internet access due to their infection.)

I also have the SP2 update CD, MS' 'February 2004 Update CD' which has updates for 98, Me, 2000, and XP as of that date (good mostly because it has IE6 installer on it that will fix just about any IE6 broken-ness.) And a CD with updates for every Mac OS 9.0 and later.

Plus an 'Ultimate Boot CD', Norton System Works' "Symantec Recovery Disc", a nice Live Windows CD that has some useful utilities on it (and has network access for which I can run Portable FIrefox off the above mentioned thumb drive, and the install folders for every version of Windows from 95 on up. (NOT including 'setup.exe', though. They are only for customers' computers that don't have an intact \Windows\Options\Cabs or \i386 folder, and can't find their original disc.)

What's in my thumbdrive??? (4, Funny)

Nick Driver (238034) | about 8 years ago | (#15987904)

... a bunch of cheesy video commercials of some viking dudes complaining about loss of their former jobs, but now glad that they won a battle-of-the-bands.

Time to Move On (3, Insightful)

value_added (719364) | about 8 years ago | (#15987922)

... DOS utilities I've been collecting over the years, and Unix-style utilities (ps.exe, kill.exe, and others) ported to Windows, without the need for a layer like Cygwin

I used to do the same. Install Windows then a metric bucketload of "utilities" (text editors, Sysinternals programs, ActiveState Perl, ActivateState Python, Resource Kits, etc.) that made using Windows bearable. Like some self-fulfilling prophecy. And back when collecting warez was regarded as fashionable and not adolescent, I'd install even more Must Have programs. Now, when possible, I simply skip the nonsense and install Cygwin.

No emulation layer needed? Maybe. In a few isolated cases, perhaps. But if you're going to run a program, you'd prefer a centralised distribution. And then you'll need a real terminal, you'll need a real shell, interpreters, centralised and consistent documentation, and you'll mostly like needed something like SSH to make it all work. Hell, a full Cygwin installation is comparable a typical Linux installation, and larger than Windows, but for an average user, the base install (coreutils, etc.) with SSH and few other packages will more than suffice. A no brainer compared to collect one-off programs from any number of sources.

The consistency is especially nice in that I can go back and forth from Linux or BSD without blinking (same programs and same manpages, right?), no annoying little problems like CR/LF endings get in the way. And as a bonus, I get a perverse pleasure reading the manpages I wrote for Windows programs.

essentials (1)

DextroShadow (957200) | about 8 years ago | (#15987929)

Putty, a private/public key pair, openvpn, ultravnc, winscp, firefox, and I always have a copy of backtrack on me.

Re:essentials (1)

luther349 (645380) | about 8 years ago | (#15987943)

my mp3 player dubs as a mass storage usb thumbdrive. so mostly mp3s lol.

GPG Private Keys (1)

xrayspx (13127) | about 8 years ago | (#15987934)

Backups of GPG private key.

That thumbdrive isn't getting plugged in much.

my resume (1)

pbjones (315127) | about 8 years ago | (#15987938)

it's got my current resume, some crap photos, and a game demo. I was going to put more on but I getting paranoid about ID theft. My Next USB drive will have reasonable security built in.

The information needed to rebuild my life (5, Interesting)

Just Some Guy (3352) | about 8 years ago | (#15987942)

An Electronic Survival Kit [honeypot.net] . If there's one thing Katrina taught me, it's that losing your entire life would completely suck. Why not take a few minutes now so that you can get back to normal ASAP?

Re:The information needed to rebuild my life (1)

DuncanE (35734) | about 8 years ago | (#15988081)

I wouldn't backup any of that stuff except for photos and possible my drivers license number (but then I have that with me all the time anyway). Its all easy to get from the relevant government sources and its theres a risk of identity theft if you have it all on a USB drive or store in multiple places?

Old Games (1)

Bongo Bill (853669) | about 8 years ago | (#15987968)

Of course there's documents and the same old portable apps everyone else is listing, but those aren't much fun. I've got SimCity 2000, X-Com, and The Incredible Machine 3 on there, for starts, plus Scummvm and Frotz for my Lucasarts and Infocom adventure fix. And of course there's the basic preloaded Windows games, just in case you're going somewhere they've been removed. Throw in a couple Roguelikes, those few old Windows Entertainment Pack games that work on 32-bit systems, and finally put Cave Story in for good measure.

Only necessary utility... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15987976)

fdisk

Arsenal of Tools (5, Informative)

sixtyfivebit (884544) | about 8 years ago | (#15987979)

Funny, I also carry a thumb-drive with a removable memory card slot. It's this generic one floating around online: http://www.supermediastore.com/supermedia-handy-4i n1--usb-20-flash-memory-card-reader-yellow.html [supermediastore.com]

I think they're a great idea, because I can move with the SD card market as flash memory becomes denser and denser. Speed hasn't been a problem, either. The thumbdrives support USB 2.0 and my SD card seems to be capable of a very decent data transfer rate.

I have a collection of Windows tools on the drive. Not Linux tools, because I can usually accomplish whatever it is I'm doing in the Linux environments I encounter day to day.

Network Tools:
* Raw TCP/IP transfer -> netcat ( http://www.vulnwatch.org/netcat/ [vulnwatch.org] )
* SSH/Telnet -> putty ( http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/ [greenend.org.uk] )
* Port Scanner -> SuperScan4 ( http://www.foundstone.com/resources/proddesc/super scan.htm [foundstone.com] )
* Classic Port Scanner -> nmap ( http://insecure.org/nmap/download.html [insecure.org] )
* Packet Capture and Analysis -> WireShark setup ( http://www.wireshark.org/download.html [wireshark.org] )

Editors:
* General -> vim 7.0 ( http://www.vim.org/download.php [vim.org] )
* Hex Editor -> xvi32 ( http://www.chmaas.handshake.de/delphi/freeware/xvi 32/xvi32.htm#download [handshake.de] )

Development:
* Tiny C Compiler ( http://fabrice.bellard.free.fr/tcc/ [bellard.free.fr] )
* nasm ( http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group _id=6208 [sourceforge.net] )

Misc:
* Lightweight Windows md5sum -> md5summer ( http://www.md5summer.org/download.html [md5summer.org] )
* Process Explorer ( http://www.sysinternals.com/Utilities/ProcessExplo rer.html [sysinternals.com] )
* MP3 Encoding -> RazorLame with lame ( http://www.dors.de/razorlame/download.php [www.dors.de] )
* Terminal Emulator -> TeraTerm Pro ( http://hp.vector.co.jp/authors/VA002416/teraterm.h tml [vector.co.jp] )

The folder is 26.7MB.

just the obvious. (1, Redundant)

supabeast! (84658) | about 8 years ago | (#15987981)

porn.

Two Essential Progs (1)

googlebear (625615) | about 8 years ago | (#15988009)

Hey everyone. Well as far as "tools" go on the "thumbdrive" I carry.... PCTOOLS' Registry mechanic and Spyware Doctor for most of my repair situations.. Other than that another MUST is an HTTP Tunnel http://www.nocrew.org/software/httptunnel.html [nocrew.org] . At my former school they had this draconian firewall that only permitted HTTP traffic through a proxy on port 80. I setup a box with a HTTP Tunnel server on port 80 that redirected the traffic to a SOCKS proxy to break out of it. The motorola phone tools suite to setup a my phone as a dialup broadband connection. Everything else I download over the internet when I need it. Best all.. Googlebear

I keep mine clean (3, Insightful)

raynet (51803) | about 8 years ago | (#15988012)

My thumbdrives are usually empty and ready for use. Mostly they are used for transferring drivers from internet enabled computer to a newly installed computer. Before thumbdrives I used CD-RW's for that purpose and managed to reach maximum write count on several discs. Too bad that I haven't yet managed to make a working bootable thumbdrive that would work on my computers so I still have to use CD-RW's for BIOS upgrades as I don't have any working floppydrives.

On my mp3 player, i've got.. (1)

XL70E3 (574496) | about 8 years ago | (#15988034)

Opera 9 (http://www.opera-usb.com/operausben.htm), Openoffice, and i carry everything projects i make with delphi. So everywhere i go, i've got my bookmarks, my .doc(s), .xls(s) and other related files. oh, and music of course.. lol i even got fallout2 on it for a quick escape into the wastelands :)

The only thing I have that's close... (1)

Zorque (894011) | about 8 years ago | (#15988036)

...is my iPod. I keep games and DVDRips on it when I go to friends' houses, other than that it's just music.

Portable Firefox ... (1)

Ristol (745640) | about 8 years ago | (#15988046)

... it's been invaluable. I take it everywhere with me.

I just burn it to a CD (2, Interesting)

toddestan (632714) | about 8 years ago | (#15988055)

Sadly, it still seems that a good portion of the time someone asks me to look at some computer, the computer is an old Windows 95 or 98 box that lacks working USB ports. Atleast it's finally gotten to the point where I can pretty much count on the computer having a CD drive (though I do have issues with slow, fussy, dust-clogged 8 year old CD readers having problems reading my burned CDs) I do have USB thumbdrives, but I mostly use those as a big floppy to move data around between computers, rather than semi-permanent storage of Linux distros and windows utilities.

Another advantage to the CD for things like Damn Small Linux is that you're much more likely to come accross a computer that can boot from CD (pretty common on anything 5-6 years old or newer) than a computer that can boot from USB (pretty much only standard new on PCs from the last 1-2 years or so, if that).

OpenOffice.org (1)

xTown (94562) | about 8 years ago | (#15988074)

A bunch of stuff from portableapps.com: Portable OpenOffice.org, for working on articles when I'm on the road; Portable NVU, Portable GIMP, and Portable FileZilla, because I got an "omfg EMERGENCY!" request to update a website once and I didn't have any of my usual tools; Portable Sunbird; ClamWin Portable, because you can't trust just any old machine; and Sudoku Portable because you need something to do besides work.

BartPE is better (1)

realmolo (574068) | about 8 years ago | (#15988095)

Seriously.

For fixing Windows machines, NOTHING is better than a BartPE CD with the right plug-ins.

Anyone who fixes Windows machines and knows what they're doing has been using BartPE for a couple of years, now.

Encryption tools (1)

mqj (949877) | about 8 years ago | (#15988119)

Truecrypt [truecrypt.org] provides on the fly encryption and plausible deniability (also open source, and can run under windows and linux). And plus I think it would be good to secure data when the device holding that data can be easily lost/stolen.

Um.....well.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15988205)

Pam and Tommy's video. Paris Hilton's video. Riley Mason videos. Bang Bus. Etc.

Oh.....you meant utilities.....lets see.....

sdelete? Yeah, there you go ;-)

What's on my thumbdrive you ask? (1)

Black-Six (989784) | about 8 years ago | (#15988216)

Portable Firefox, Portable Ai Robo Form, and school stuff.

Now for the long list of extesions for Portable Firefox that I've got:

DOM Inspector
Show IP
Distrust
AiRoboForm Toolbar
Fire Encrypter
Infocon Monitor
No Script
Foxy Proxy
ClearPrivateData
Fasterfox
DownThemAll
TabMixPlus
IE Veiw
Forecastfox
RSS Ticker

As one can tell, I don't put security at the top of my "Priorities" list.

Version numbers would've been included, but got a lameness filter applied and had to remove them, hahah!!

Tenshi and friends. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15988221)

What? Doesn't everyone keep a backup of their single-player game characters on an old 32MB thumb drive?
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