Portable apps + WinPE = Easy Recovery OS

I've been sitting on this one for a while now, hoping that I'd have time to write a full Use Case Reference Design, but figured I'd better just put it out there. I recently ran across something called "Portable apps". Yes, I know they are not new, but they were certainly new to me. Portable apps are designed to run from USB thumb drives as stand alone applications. That way you can bring your thumb drive with you and no matter what computer you use, you have your favorite apps, settings, docs, etc.

While perusing, I noticed quite a few remediation tools. For example, ClamWin virus scanner has a portable version. So I began to wonder...these apps run stand alone. They don't mess with the registry, they don't need run time libraries, they just run. Maybe they'd work in Windows PE. So, I built a 32 bit WinPE following these instructions. Between sections 3.3.2 & 3.3.3 I copied in ClamWin and Firefox portable. I continued on and ended up with a WinPE ISO file. I then IDEr booted one of my AMT 6 systems, and what do you know, ClamWin and Firefox worked! I can scan for viruses. I can surf the Internet. All from WinPE. All remotely. This could be the beginning of a great recovery OS for help desk use.

Since then I've tried a few other portable apps. Not everything works, but so far most of them do. Eventually, I hope to post more detailed instructions and lists of the most useful portable apps for remote remediation. In the mean time, here's a few links to some portable apps. Give it a try and let me know what works, and which apps are your favorites.



PStart makes a simple, easy GUI for WinPE so you don't have to start your apps from a command line: http://www.pegtop.de/start/