Make the most of your USB drive
Get e-mail on your USB drive
If you just can't stand to distance yourself from your Outlook e-mail messages, ImagineLAN's P.I. Protector (PIP) Mobility Suite 4.0
lets you check your messages from any computer, public or private. It also includes trace-free Internet Explorer Web surfing and two-way file synchronization. The app restricts itself to your flash drive, but the computer you're using must have Outlook or Outlook Express for you to access your messages.
For this job, we used the most pocket-friendly drive we could find: the light, compact 512MB Crucial Gizmo
. PIP installs and runs from your flash drive, so you'll have to connect it to your system before you begin. The suite is available directly from the developer's Web site
. (No trial version is available.) Start the download and save the file to your desktop or another location where it'll be easy to find.
Once the download is complete, double-click the file. It's a ZIP file, so Windows will ask where you'd like to extract its contents. Create a folder on your desktop, select it as the extraction destination, and click Unzip. An installation wizard should automatically launch. If it doesn't, go to the folder you extracted to, find the install file (its icon says Install), and double-click it. A wizard will walk you through the setup.
Again, you need to install PIP directly onto the flash drive, so when you select the portable-storage-device path, be sure to pick your drive. Click Finish to start the program for the first time. On PIP's main interface, click Settings, then select the E-mail Settings tab. Here you can choose whether to use Outlook or Outlook Express. (Outlook is the default.) Make your selection, hit Apply, click Modify E-mail Settings, and hit the "Copy to portable device" button on the next screen. Finally, select the folders you'd like to store on the drive and click Proceed. When it finishes, you're ready to read, send, and receive e-mail on any PC with Outlook or Outlook Express installed on it.
A word about Outlook Exchange Server accounts: PIP will save e-mail from a server in a temporary PST file. If you're away from the server, you'll be able to read e-mail, but not send and receive it.
Non-Outlook users with POP or IMAP e-mail accounts should check out the free portable version of Mozilla's Thunderbird e-mail app
. Just download it to your flash drive, then launch it. A wizard guides you through the setup process.