Microsoft preps StartKey: A 'Windows companion' on USB stick

It looks like Microsoft are getting closer to putting Windows onto a portable USB Flash drive.

The All About Microsoft blog has news an an upcoming Microsoft Start Key. It is the same kind of thing as U3 but more windows-centric. The idea being that you could plug it in to a computer at home/school/work or even a public kiosk and have all of your settings, wallpaper, windows Live Contacts, favorites etc. with you.

Microsoft's goal is to build an end-to-end StartKey environment — comprised of everything from system software on the flash devices, a software development kit to enable third-party developers to create products that can leverage StartKey, and accompany Microsoft applications and services, sources said.

View: Full Article @ All About Microsoft Blog

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13 Comments

Somewhat like what Apple planned for OS X a few years back and dropped. I think that was the whole profile stored on the key though, rather than just a copy of the data from it (which I think this is)... I'd guess a copy is safer and easier to manage.

An idea like this, like an idea like Windows CardSpace and undoubtedly countless others, would be nice if it ever caught on.

U3 really is useful. I use it for launching my freeware every now and then. I made installers for many freeware utilities that i have with PackageFactory which is free.

U3 is annoying and it stops my BIOS from booting up for one reason or another. I used to have to unplug my U3 USB every time I started up my computer (if it was already plugged in) until I just finally deleted it. It's slow, gets in your way, and just plain bloatware. I can do everything U3 does without U3 and just as easily.

I think the major downside to this would be speed. You will feel a performace hit loading a profile through a usb device, and especially applications. Which do you want SATA speed or USB 2.0 speed? Other than that, it does have some benefits for the average user.

Well, if it's working as well as Ceedo or PortableApps, but with Windows integration and password on load, then I'll use it. The only nice thing about U3 is that you can set a password to get into the key. Wish the other two could use this feature.

(ThePitt said @ #8)
yet another way to track ppl... And any linux portable is and will be always better than any payed OS.

Saying this without even seen or tried the product... please, your just paranoid:p

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