Most computer users these days use laptops as their portable computing solution and take them almost everywhere they go. There are those situations, however, when you need access to your programs and your files, but of course, you forgot your laptop when you needed it most. Fortunately there’s easy access to a computer nearby, but it doesn’t have anything you need on it. What to do?
Enter your USB flash drive. While flash drives are used mainly to transport files from one computer to others, they can also be used to carry your favorite computer programs for use on any modern Windows computer. It doesn't even matter if you don't have the necessary administrative rights to install new programs on the computer you want to use; all the program files are stored on the flash drive and can be run anywhere without installing anything locally to the computer.
One of the best and most popular such flash drive utilities is Portable Apps (http://portableapps.com/
), a start menu-like program launcher which has a wide range of free, open source programs available to use. These programs can be downloaded and installed individually or a core set of the applications can be downloaded and installed all-at-once. You will find programs available for every need you could possibly have, from web browsing, to graphics editing, and even antiviral solutions.
Also consider checking out PendriveApps.com (http://www.pendriveapps.com/
). Software on this site can usually be downloaded and installed independently of any suite utilities like the two listed above.
Of course, keeping track of files can sometimes be a challenge as well. Editing a single document across multiple computers can create confusion as to which version of said document you're working on. Document synchronization and backup software such as Dropbox (https://www.dropbox.com/
) will automatically update files you're editing among all the computers with the Dropbox software installed. Dropbox even has a portable version of its software available to run from your USB drive (http://wiki.dropbox.com/DropboxAddons/DropboxPortable
Whether you're tethered to your laptop, desktop or public computers, there is no reason you can't enjoy a customized computer experience no matter where you go.