Solid-state drives

Recently, I was doing a bit of research on solid-state drives, which are like hard drives except they use solid-state technology. This would make it a lot faster, and as there’s no moving parts, more reliable (although I imagine if you hurled it to the floor or ran it over with a garbage truck it would shatter.)

USB drives are solid-state too, but a lot slower.

However, currently it’s expensive, can’t hold much information (On Newegg.com, they’re up to 160 gigs), have limited write cycles (this may be exaggerated though), and no disk cache.  However, if more interest is shown, maybe they’ll be developed more and the price will drop.

More information:

Solid-state drives on Wikipedia

Solid State Drives on About.com

Solid-state drives on Newegg

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Backup Solution (for personal files)

Here’s my backup solution. Note that I have a computer for personal use, and there’s no sensitive files. If you adapt it, may be useful. As my USB port is broken and I haven’t gotten around to fixing it, I use rewritable DVD’s. You can substitute CD-RWs or USB drives.

Documents — Google Documents, although sometimes I use a DVD-RW.

Pictures — DVD-RW. I also have a bunch on ImageShack, but as I have several thousand (don’t even ask) it takes a while to upload.

Music and Videos — DVD-RW, as usual. Sometimes if I’m sharing them, I keep them on MediaFire.

Installers — I always keep backups of freeware installers — the websites often go down. I put them onto a DVD-RW. (You’re probably wondering why I’m not running out of them by now. I have about 10, and each of them holds almost 5 gigabytes. Currently, only 3 or 4 are in use, and none of them are completely full.)

Bookmarks & Firefox Addons — Here’s the neat part. I use Firefox, so I use Foxmarks to backup my bookmarks. Within my bookmarks, I have a folder called “Addons,” where I keep all the addons I use (or interested in). So if I have to format my HDD, at least I can reinstall the addons!

Other — Either DVD-RW or MediaFire. Depends on if I’m gonna share it or not.

Boot Windows from a USB drive

To do this, you need a Windows installation CD, a USB drive at least 256 MB (more if you want to include some programs), and the instructions.

And hopefully your computer’s BIOS will support booting from a USB. If not, it won’t work.  It also won’t work in a smashed up USB drive (and don’t try — you can short things out!)

Internet Bookmarks

Here are a few options, for when you want non-social (anti-social sounded awful) bookmarks.
Foxmarks: Actually a Firefox addon for syncing bookmarks, it lets you access and edit your bookmarks online.

Google Bookmarks: Probably one of the better-known ones. I used to use it before switching to Foxmarks.

MyBookmarks: Although I haven’t tested this, it seems like a good option.  (However, at the moment, new signups are disabled.)

Also, although it’s not online, here are a few options for USB drive users:

http://www.portablefreeware.com/?sc=170

Carry Firefox on a USB drive

Recently, for school, I have been using the Portable Edition of Firefox. It works with most addons, and you can carry your bookmarks and settings around with you. (On my version, I have Foxmarks installed, so my bookmarks will sync with my home computer.)

PortableApps

If you have a USB drive and use several computers, you may be interested in PortableApps.

As the site says,

Now you can carry your favorite computer programs along with all of your bookmarks, settings, email and more with you. Use them on any Windows computer. All without leaving any personal data behind.

As well, it is open-source.

Have a USB drive? Portable Freeware for you!

If you use multiple computers, you most likely have a USB drive. However, you may want to use the same software on each one. If so, check out The Portable Freeware Collection.

What is portable freeware?

In simplest terms, it’s freeware you can run off a USB memory stick, and hop from computer to computer with. Usually, all the settings are stored in the folder the application is in. Most of them don’t require installation.

You don’t even need to use a USB stick. Some people just like to know where their settings are kept. And of course, if you need to format your computer, you can just put it on a floppy or USB drive and it’ll be ready and waiting for you when you’re ready. No re-installing, no re-configuring.