Skype “On the Go” – with a Caution

Yesterday Phil referenced the Skype/SanDisk press release announcing that Skype 2.0, featuring Internet video calling, would be preloaded on all SanDisk U3-enabled Smart Drives such that a user could access and use Skype from any Windows computer, such as at an Internet café. But there is a caveat; from the Help for U3:

A U3 program is a special version of an application that has been created to run from flash drives. Once you install a U3 program on your device, you can run it from any Windows computer. The U3 environment ensures that the application data and settings are stored on the device. The environment also caters for multiple applications running simultaneously from the device and for the possible situation in which the device is ejected or removed from the computer while applications are still running.

I had picked up a SanDisk Cruzer Micro last month as a result of a warranty exchange (the faulty memory stick would not reformat). The replacement included the U3 technology, including Skype version 2.0.14.80; if you go to the SanDisk download page you will find the latest version is 2.0.14.85. Instinctively one might want to replace it with a version 2.5 downloaded from the Skype website. However, the default Windows Skype version is not suitable for use as a “portable” program executed from a flash drive. From an email response from a Skype product manager:

We do in fact have a special U3 build and don’t officially support running the normal version of Skype on any memory stick. The reason for this is that the U3 version handles certain situations more gracefully – a great example of this is what’s known as “Yank & Go”. If you were running the normal version of Skype on a flash drive and you removed it without shutting down Skype, you could potentially corrupt some data files, this may result in losing contacts or chat messages. On the U3-specific version we do an elegant tear-down of the Skype application so this doesn’t happen.

Not to overlook that there are also registry issues associated with a program running from a memory stick/flash drive. Apparently the Skype 2.5 “Yank & Go” U3 version is forthcoming; in the meantime stick to the special 2.0.14.8x version if you want to use portable “On-the-Go” Skype.

About Jim Courtney

Bringing over thirty years' experience in the sales, marketing and management of cutting edge technology businesses.

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