How to Run Your Own Secure, Portable PC From a USB Stick

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for the spectators For the ultimate in portability and security in their computing, there’s the option of running a system directly from a USB drive that you can carry in your pocket.

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Plug it into a spare USB port on a Windows or macOS computer, and the flash drive serves as the system’s storage and software, while borrowing everything else—the display, keyboard, processor, graphics—from the machine it’s connected to. Is.

Shut down the computer, take out the USB drive, and it’s like you never were. This is an attractive option for those who value their privacy, as well as for those who spend a lot of time between offices.


For the purposes of this guide, we’re going to take a look at tail, It was developed as a way to avoid surveillance, censorship, advertising, and viruses, and it comes with a plethora of useful, privacy-focused software applications. It’s also free to use, and you only need to provide a USB stick.

We’ll show you how to set up Tails in its default configuration, which gives you maximum anonymity and security; Every time you start it, it’s like you’re starting a new computer for the first time. If you want Tails to remember your activity and hold saved files on a USB stick, that’s also possible—there are instructions Here,

tail setting
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Etcher will help you install Tails.

Photograph: Etcher via David Nieldo

TELES stands for Amnesic Incognito Live System, a reference to how your movements go smoothly as soon as you unplug the USB drive from the computer and move on. It is based on the Debian Linux distribution, and should work fine with most computers from the last decade.

To get it up and running, you will need a USB stick of at least 8 GB capacity. in that hand, head tales download page And select the operating system you are using to set it up. Follow the on-screen instructions and you’ll get a USB image file of about 1 GB in size, which you will need to transfer to the flash drive itself.

Next, you need a little utility called etch (You will be guided to this by a step-by-step installation guide on the Tels website). It takes care of inserting the USB image file onto the USB drive, a process that should only take a few minutes—you’ll receive a notification when the transfer is complete. Then you are ready to start using your portable PC.

When setup is complete, you can plug your Tels USB stick into almost any 64-bit PC with an additional port. It will also work on Mac computers, but not with the latest M1 series of chips (at least not yet, anyway). The computer you are connecting to must have at least 2 GB of RAM, and you should definitely make sure that it is not already infected with a virus or malware.

run and tail

Settings dialog for Tails.

Photograph: Tail via David Nieldo

Perhaps the hardest part of the process we’re outlining here is getting the computer you’re plugging a USB stick into to boot from that USB drive (instead of the operating system on the hard drive, which would be the default behavior ). But it’s not all that difficult when you know how, and Tails has full instructions Here And Here,

On Windows, open the Start Menu, hold down ShiftClick Power, and then click restart, Windows shuts down, and you will see a new screen. to select use a tool, then select the tail running USB drive that is plugged into the computer. On Mac, press and hold the option When the computer is booting up, select the USB drive with Tails on it when the list of options appears on the screen.

If everything is fine then make a tail. It may seem a little sparse compared to what you’re used to with Windows or macOS, but that’s part of its appeal. Click the drop-down menu in the upper right corner to connect to a Wi-Fi network, if you need to, and you’ll be able to get online through the Tor browser. In the same menu is the System Settings shortcut (the bottom left icon on the panel).

At the top left of the interface, you will see a drop-down menu labeled Application, where you can access it on your email client, web browser, Office apps, image editor, media player, etc. is in the same corner places, which gives you quick access to all major areas of the system, including the Documents and Pictures folders.

It shouldn’t take you long to get up to speed on Tails and everything it has to offer, especially if you’ve used one of the Linux flavors before. When you’re done with your super-private, super-safe computing, reboot the computer and you should find yourself back in the default operating system. Take out your USB stick, and there will be no trace that you were ever there.

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