Carry a PC in Your Pocket

Do Right by Your Data

Whether you carry your work files with you on your flash drive or store them online, you'll still need to take some precautions to protect those files, your privacy, and your computers from harm, whether accidental or malicious. Here are some steps to consider.

Scan for safety. Since using your USB drive on an unknown computer exposes the drive to additional risks, be sure to install antispyware and antivirus software as part of your set of portable applications. As an additional precaution, scan the flash drive itself from your regular computer the next time you return home to make sure it didn't pick up any bugs.

Use common sense. Because a host computer like one in a hotel business center or an Internet cafe may have keyloggers that record your passwords, portable computing can never be 100 percent safe. But you can limit the risk by avoiding credit-card transactions when using your portable system on another machine. And it goes without saying that you should avoid online banking in these situations.

Shred it; don't sweat it. If you're working on sensitive documents, you should keep them encrypted while stored on your flash drive. For example, the open-source program or the freeware archiving program both offer encryption features that run on a flash drive.

 Shred it; don't sweat it

In most cases, you'll have to copy documents out of the encrypted folder or container before working on them, and then copy them back when you're done. For added security, use a shredding application to destroy the work copies (after you've put a copy back in the encrypted folder of course). and are two free portable utilities that do the job.

Back up your portable, too. Because these devices are small and easily misplaced, backing up your portable USB "computer" is arguably even more important than the backups you do for your main system. The applications are much smaller, so backing up is faster, and the resulting files take less room on your backup drive. All of the suites mentioned above include backup utilities.

Of course, you don't really need such a utility; you can always just use Explorer to drag and drop the contents of your flash drive to a backup disk. The important thing is to do it regularly.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Scott Dunn

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?