If you are part of the geek-set, you probably already know about U3 format USB keys. These are USB drives with a special partition that has an auto-run tool used to enable specially written programs which run entirely off the USB key. This means they don’t store information in your registry. It’s handy, because you can just carry your U3 drive and have all your applications and data available on pretty much any modern Windows system. Sadly, the U3 format doesn’t work with Windows Vista for most hardware versions of these drives. So much for any modern Windows system, then (well, Vista kinda sucks and doesn’t seem so modern from what I hear, but it’s still going to infest most of the home computing market).
To rectify this, Microsoft and Sandisk are working together on new technology to let you do pretty much the same thing while still giving manufacturers more of your money to let you do what you are already doing with XP.
Microsoft is teaming up with peripherals manufacturer SanDisk in an effort to develop smart USB devices that will allow users to carry their complete personal computing environment on a device as small as a thumb drive, Microsoft announced Friday.
Under the plan, Microsoft will develop software that will let users store their applications and data on small, Flash memory-based devices that connect to their computers’ Universal Serial Bus. SanDisk will design and manufacture compatible hardware.
The first products from the collaboration will be available in mid-2008, Microsoft said.
Oh, by the way, we won’t actually have this option any time near the launch of the latest Microsoft infestation system, what with Vista already launching and the technology being nearly a year away. Still, it won’t be too long before you can pay your fees to Microsoft and others to keep doing what you just paid companies for a year or two ago when you got your U3 drive.
Might I take this opportunity to point out that you would probably be better off just buying an inexpensive USB drive and loading it with portable open source applications that usually do all the same things for far less. If you don’t like that site, well, you can choose any of numerous other such sites for your legally free portable software and not continue to pay unneeded fees every time Microsoft and others decide they need a new way to get your money.
[tags]Portable applications, Portable freeware, Windows wants more of your money, U3 format dead, New portable software pen drives next year[/tags]