By Guest Blogger Mark O'Neill
The reluctance is inexplicable, because a portable version of Skype could take off in a big way due to the enormous popularity of USB flash drives. For a start, businesspeople on trips could plug their portable Skype into computers which don't already have the Skype application downloaded, in order to make contact with the office or clients. Tourists could also plug their USB drives into internet cafe computers and run portable Skype to call home or keep in touch with friends all over the world. Being portable, any identifying information that Skype produces would be written onto the USB stick and not on the host computer, which is ideal for people who are not inclined to log into their Skype accounts on a computer they don't know or trust, for fear of leaving behind sensitive information.
However, it IS technically possible to make an unofficial portable version of Skype yourself and here's how you do it.
First of all, make a folder for your portable application. For the purposes of this discussion, let's call it "Skype Portable". Next, go into the installed Skype folder on your computer (download the program first if you haven't already got it). Find the file "skype.exe" and copy it (right-click on the file and choose "copy"). Then place the copied file inside your Skype Portable folder by right-clicking inside the folder and choose "insert".
Next, inside the Skype Portable folder, make another new folder and name it "data". Inside the data folder, open a new file with Microsoft Notepad. Name the file "skype.bat" and inside this notepad file, place the following line: skype.exe /datapath:"Data" /removable . Save and close.
Move the entire Skype Portable file over to your USB flash drive. Congratulations, you now have a working portable version of Skype which can be run from a USB drive. A bit rough and ready, but it does the job.
Considering how easy this process is, it's mystifying why Skype is dragging their heels bringing out an official portable version of their software. It's true that there is a portable version pre-installed on the SanDisk U3 Cruzer Smart Drive, but what is really needed is an all-purpose portable version which can be used on all USB drives, not just the U3. The U3's exclusivity is a lot like Microsoft forcing you to use their software by having it pre-installed at the factory - and that doesn't bode well for user choice and freedom.
Mark OÄôNeill is a freelance writer, editor and blogger. He can be contacted on Skype via the username camelot2302