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Kingston Data Traveler Workspace: Thumb-sized office on-the-go

 This USB stick is pre-installed with a  portable version of Windows    

Bangalore August 14  2014: It looks like any USB  data storage stick, albeit a little chunkier -- but looks can be deceptive. This one includes  what Microsoft calls "Windows To Go", a portable, bootable version of Windows 8,  which you can set up on any laptop or PC anywhere and convert it into a secure platform for doing your own work.   You can   use the Kingston Data Traveler Workspace, with your own   laptop -- or with  any public PC --  and it boots the system with Windows 8 and creates  your own corporate workspace: files are stored and retrieved only in the drive and not on the attached PC.

The advantages are  obvious, if you  travel a lot  and  need to work  in full security on  public PCs, hotel PCs and the like, or even if your employer encourages you to "Bring Your Own Device" -- the new trend  where  you have the freedom to carry your personal PC or tablet to your workplace.

You need to boot up a PC or laptop where ever you find one -- and stick the Data Traveler Workspace  into it. You then boot  the  PC from   the Workspace stick, overriding its installed  operating system. Of course,  there are some minimum requirements:  the platform must have a processor that is 1 GHz or faster,  come with 2 GB of RAM for a 64 bit system or 1 GB for a 32 bit system  and must  support DirectX 9 graphics -- this means pretty much any PC that already runs Windows 7 or 8 is fine.   The beauty is, that the USB stick even works on a Linux PC so long as the hardware requirements are met.

One nice touch is that It  freezes the data safely if you happen to accidentally disconnect the drive from the system, giving your 60 seconds to  plug it back again!

This is a USB 3.0 drive and obviously it works best if connected to  platform that has  a USB 3 port. But t will work even with USB 2.0 devices, though a bit slower than its rated  250 MBPS read/ write speed.  

The Data Traveler comes in three sizes: It comes in  three  sizes  --   32 GB,  64GB, and 128 GB. The  best  prices I could find online were : Rs 5800, Rs 9000 and Rs 15000 respectively.

I must warn you that there is a small price to pay for carrying your office OS with you: the  Windows To Go version of Windows 8  occupies about 20 GB -- so if you go in for the  32 GB version, you will have hardly  10 GB  of free space left in which to  carry  and save all your files.  If I were to  use one of these sticks, I would go for a higher capacity and  also store  my preferred  Office  suite on the stick -- so that I can open all my files -- word, spreadsheet or presentation --  even if my 'guest' PC doesn't  have these tools installed.

Gigabyte for gigabyte, this Kingston device  will seem  pricey compared to   plain USB  thumb drives of similar capacity -- but that is not a fair comparison:  The Data Traveler Workspace, is  your own   home-office  on the hoof, which just  happens to look and feel like a vanilla USB stick. Don't be fooled by  the  camouflage, there's a cool  tool inside!

Anand Parthasarathy  


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