What programs should I keep on my USB flash drive?

I’ve recently ordered a 8gb USB flash drive. I’d like to have a folder of basic installers and diagnostic programs for use at work, my parents house, etc. What are some basic software installers and programs that I should have? Are there any games that will run off a flash drive without too much trouble?
So far I’ve got:
Firefox portable
Glary Utilities
Winamp classic
Media Player Classic with a large codec pack
Spybot S&D

It is good to have a nice text editor, and something like the Norton Utilities of about 20 years ago, that can run without Windows (though you may need some intermediary to get them from a USB drive to a PC running DOS). Even a boot disk - though I confess I don’t know how to make a boot disk from the files that belong on it, meaning how to put them into the boot sector.

Might I suggest the persistent pendrive flavour of Ubuntu or some other Linux variant? Why carry just some programs on your USB when you can carry a whole OS…

-openoffice -
-xnview for editing picture

I still have a copy of Norton Textra from college. amazingly powerful word processor considering it fits on a 3 1/2 inch disk.

I keep these on mine:

malwaybytes +manual update
open office

I pretty much install these on everything I work on.




256GB Flash Drive.

Now you can carry your whole computer on one. No special small programs needed.

I have VLC. Good media player, and I always keep a couple movies and some comedy/music on my flash drive.

A couple games wouldn’t hurt either. Bridge Builder is a good one.

As an old fart I have lots off luddite friends who hate changes moving from machine to machine. I give them a pile of Portable Apps on a thumb drive and tell them to not bother with the stuff on the PC they are using. Everyone seems to like the idea.

Woo, great website. That made my searching quite a bit easier.

Yeah another thanks for that Portable Apps link. Will definitely install it on my thumbdrive and should come in very handy in a variety of situations.

I’ve got a boot disk at work which allows you to recover passwords. It boots into Ubuntu (I think) and there is a utility to grab any Windows passwords on the box. It comes in quite handy. It is also handy for virus removal as it mounts FAT/NTFS volumes so you can go in and nuke any viri files that you can’t get out any other way*.

When I get to work I’ll post the name of the thing, I forgot what it is called though I am pretty sure it is from the Lophtcrack folks.


*This thing came in really handy this week. I had a user that got a virus I couldn’t get out. The virus rewrote the hosts file and redirected Google, Bing, Yahoo and some other sites to some Ukrainian site. It also locked the hosts file and you couldn’t edit it in Windows, safe mode or from a Windows boot disk. Finally I nuked the drive from space, it was the only way to be sure. I gave her back her PC and she managed to get the virus back within a day. The second time around I just booted off the disk, hunted down the viri and removed it and fixed the hosts file. Saved a bunch of time.