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September 25, 2012
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Jim Guffey Rising Through the Ranks
with Jim Guffey

Technology to go: Portable applications for the street

Take your reports and any other information you need with you on a single thumb drive

A while back, I talked about using free technology to create a video library for a department. Here I’m taking the entire concept of free technology to a new level. This article will deal with portable apps.

In my profession, I have to deal with police computers that have been infected, damaged or severely abused. Unfortunately, when I’m finally called in, the damage has been done.

The problem becomes particularly severe when I’m dealing with a virus infection that won’t let me download anything or blocks my access to the administrator’s account.

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In searching for a solution I found portable apps.

A Suitcase for Software
A portable app is nothing more than a small program that allows portable versions of software programs to be installed in it and then run using a computer's power source, motherboard and screen.

The beauty of it lies in the fact that the whole program can fit on a one gigabyte thumb drive and leaves virtually no footprint on the computer it is running in. I’ve used portable apps now for over a year and they have helped me clean out many a computer.

I currently use a portable app call Lupo Pen Suite. However, there are others out there. I like Lupo Pen Suite, or another called Liber Key, because they allow me to install virtually any portable app into them.

Other portable app programs only allow you to install their portable apps.

To show how versatile a portable app suite can be, I have 96 programs installed into mine, from Mozilla Firefox to a group of anti-virus programs I use on a regular basis. There are an incredible number of portable programs that can be installed in these suites, from full office suites to music players to working software.

You can tailor your own.

With your portable app, you can take your reports and any other information you need with you on a single thumb drive.

One area I did find interesting is that McAfee has a free tool section. Just type in McAfee Free Tools into your web browser and the first entry will take you to their section.

In this grouping, there are a list of forensic tools that any computer investigator could download to a thumb drive and use. I could see doing a forensic analysis of a computer right at the scene and saving the results before turning the computer off. If anything were to happen after that, you still have the initial investigation you made at the scene.

To check out any portable app program, simply type in the names I’ve mentioned above and they will take you right to the web page. Read the download instructions and send the download right to a thumb drive.

Pick what programs you want in the suite and read how to install the programs into the portable app. After that, you’re good to go.

Since there are programs from browsers to full office suites, you’ll spend some time deciding how you want to set up your suite. Once done though you’ll have a computer on a stick that you can take anywhere and use on any computer.

About the author

After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh, Jim Guffey began his Law Enforcement career in 1977 with the Pennsylvania Capitol Police. In 1980 was hired by the Ross Township Police Department. He remained there until January 1, 2002. During that time he worked as a plain-clothes detective, on the traffic division, and was promoted on 1996 to Lieutenant. He remained the Administrative Lieutenant until his retirement. Not satisfied with retirement, he became the Chief of Police in Blairsville Borough in August 2003 and remained there until July 2004.



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