h a l f b a k e r y
It might be better to just get another gerbil.
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Operating System on a stick
I'd like to see computers come with either an OS on a USB flash drive (non erasable) or some kind of memory stick. The essential components of the OS (aka like: Windows "gumball") would be impossible for a virus or malware to corrupt because the OS is not rewritable on this device.
Data and OS
customizations (screensavers, wallpaper ad nauseum) would be susceptible, but the days of reloading the OS would be long gone. An added advantage would be you could pop in any OS (linux, Mac, lindows, HP basic, Windows 3.1, etc) to run those systems with your present data (assuming some standard Disk formatting is done).
If you wanted to download the latest version of Linux and play with the kernel to make it smaller or bigger then you could save it to the disk by inputting a user encrypted code, so a virus wouldn't be able to access and alter your new system without asking you to input the code for it.
(If you add new hardware with new drivers they could ask you to input your code so it can be written the OS drive and never deleted by a virus again)
Sorry if this has been thought up already it seems like an obvious solution.
Knoppix Boot your PC into Linux - From CD
I'm certain it'd work if you simply copied the CD onto the USB too [Dub, Sep 29 2005]
(?) How to run Linux from a USB drive
[Worldgineer, Sep 29 2005]
(?) Puppy Linux
This should work too. [kaeru, Sep 29 2005]
||"The essential components of the OS (aka like: Windows "gumball") would be impossible for a virus or malware to corrupt because the OS is not rewritable on this device."
||Tried this on the original Macs. It was lost by the Mac SE. It's been thought up, and shown to be impractical.
||Knoppix'd probably do the trick
||Knoppix - Sweet. thanks Dub
||WTAGIPBAN = Wasn't That A Great Idea Posted By A Newbie. (save y'all from having to search it yourselves).