Portable, External Home Folders.



Portable, External Home Folders.


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If you have more than one computer, or share your computer with other people, you need a Portable, External Home Folder.


Portable, external drives have come a long way in the past few years. A $25 flash drive can can store hundreds of times more information than the best home PC could store just a few years ago, but most people consider them nothing more than a simple backup device.

Right now they are completely underutilized by today's desktop operating systems. When you insert one into a typical computer, there isn't an option to use the device for anything more than a place to store a backup.

I used to think of USB devices that way, but about 8 years ago, I made the switch. I decided that my USB devices were now large enough to store most of my day to day documents, so I started using my devices as my the primary place I store my files. So instead of backing up my computer to the USB drive every day, I now back up my USB drive onto my computer.

This means that my flash drive is my main drive for storing most of my documents. I can take it everywhere and know that I always have the latest version of whatever I'm working on, so I can literally work from any computer and my files are always with me.

Why would I want to store my main documents on a portable, external drive?


One advantage for me is that I can access my latest documents, no matter what computer I sit in front of. In addition to being able to move from computer to computer in my home and office, it also means that I no longer have to lug around my laptop when I travel to clients. My files are in my pocket everywhere I go.

Another benefit is that my computer is now expendable. If it completely crashes, I know that the latest versions of my important files are still safely in my pocket.

Naturally, I make it a point to make daily backups, so I can easily re-create my drives in the event of a lost or damaged USB drive.

The biggest hurdle is that the portable drive isn't the default location for loading or saving documents, so you have to remember to select that drive whenever you want to load or save a file.

Taking external drives to the next level... Portable Home Folders


Unfortunately, this feature does not exist on either Mac or Windows computers, but this is how I envision it.

As long as the flash drive is large enough, instead of asking you if you want to use a new USB drive as a backup, the Operating System should ask you if you would like to make it your "Home Folder". By answering yes, the system should then create a series of folders and settings files that are similar to the Home Folders stored on the boot drive.

This folder would then become the active "Home Folder", allowing the Operating System to automatically use that device as the default location for your main documents and settings. Then as you moved from computer to computer, your settings and documents would always go to the Portable Home Folder by default, so you wouldn't even need to think about where you load or save files.

As a bonus, this also means that if multiple people use the same computer, they each have their own secure place to store their files, and settings.
, Founder

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