How to install a program on your thumb drive
Today I will answer a very good question submitted by a reader.
Q: How do I install a program on my thumb-drive so I can run it from there?
A: One of the handier uses for thumb-drives is to load them with programs and use them as sort of a ‘computer-on-a-stick’. As I mentioned in a prior article, I have a bootable thumb-drive loaded with troubleshooting programs which I use as a portable repair kit. But you don’t need to make a thumb-drive bootable to run programs from it.
The most popular way to put programs on your thumb-drive is to either purchase a (pre-configured) U3 drive, or download and install the suite of portable programs called Portable Apps. Both of these methods will give you a portable word processor, web browser, and other useful tools — and offer other “portable” programs for downloading. (These, btw, are an excellent resource for individual “portable” downloads. Another resource is the collection of portable freeware programs)
But let’s say you want to install the very useful troubleshooting tool Process Explorer or some other program that is not specifically a “portable”, or part of the suites mentioned above. If the program is not larger than the available space on your thumb drive — Office 2007 will not fit on a 512MB drive, for example — use the following method to install it. (I am going to install the popular free anti-spyware program AdAware as my demonstration.)
1) download the setup.exe to your computer’s desktop, using the “Save” option (not “Run”).
2) Insert the thumb-drive.
3) Open My Computer, and locate the “Removable Storage” drive letter that is the thumb-drive. In my case, that is “Removable Disk (D:)”, but yours may differ.
4) Double-click on the downloaded installation setup.exe (on your Desktop), and start the Install process. Here you will agree to the EULA, click Next a few times, and go through an install wizard. Do this process as you normally would except you need to change the install’s Destination.
5) Change the Install Destination Folder to the thumb drive’s drive letter (in my example, that’s D:\) At some point, the Install wizard will ask you to choose a destination or accept the default (the default destination is C:\Program Files\) and here is where we need to make the change. If you go through the wizard without being asked for a Destination, use the the “<Back” button and change the Install Type from “Typical” to “Custom”.
That’s it. You’re done.
When you “Explore”, or “Open Folder for Viewing”, or otherwise look at your thumb drive’s directory, you will see the AdAware.exe icon. That means the program is available to be run.. just as if you were running it from your computer. Literally, a program-on-a-stick!
Remember, I used AdAware as an example, but you can pretty much do this with any application (“executable”), though — since a thumb drive’s size is somewhat small — I recommend you seek out a “portable” version of your program if one is available.
Today’s free link(s): Well,.. let’s see.. I count four sprinkled through the article..
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