VanDyke Software



This tip explains how to install and run SecureCRT® 4.1 for Windows® from a USB flash memory-based drive — providing highly portable security for the roving network professional. An abbreviated version of the tip appeared in the January 2004 newsletter.

Note: This tip is for use with SecureCRT for Windows.

Running SecureCRT for Windows from a USB Flash Memory Drive

USB flash memory drives are very handy portable storage media. Also known as Thumbdrives and pen drives, these devices plug into any computer's USB port and are small enough to fit on a keychain or in a pocket. These instructions are for users of SecureCRT 4.1 or later.

To run SecureCRT from a USB drive, you create an installation for SecureCRT manually. This involves copying SecureCRT to the flash drive, creating a license key file for your registration information, and setting up a shortcut to the new installation, with a few other minor modifications. The following instructions are generally applicable to removable USB drives. You may need to make some changes to suit your particular needs and hardware.

  1. Copy the SecureCRT installation folder to the USB drive (C:\Program Files\SecureCRT by default). The top-level directory of my USB device looks like this:
  2. 11/03/2003 21:27 <DIR>     SecureCRT
    11/03/2003 21:27 <DIR>     Known Hosts
    11/03/2003 22:04       206 SecureCRT.bat

  3. Copy your Config folder into the USB device's SecureCRT folder. The location of the Configuration folder can be found in the Global Options dialog in the General category.

    The USB device directory structure should now show a \SecureCRT\Config folder.

  4. In Notepad or another text editor, create a text file named SecureCRT.lic containing your license information, and place that file in the newly created SecureCRT folder as well. The format of the SecureCRT.lic file is as follows:
  5. Name=<name from registration letter>
    Company=<company name from registration letter>
    Serial Number=03-xx-xxxxxx
    Key=nnnnnn nnnnnn nnnnnn nnnnnn nnnnnn nnnnnn nnnnnn nnnnnn
    Issue Date=nn-nn-nnnn
    Features=<features from registration letter>

    The Features line should only be included in the SecureCRT.lic file if it is in the registration letter.

  6. Next you need to set up a desktop shortcut pointing to SecureCRT.exe or to a batch file. The one you choose depends on how the flash drive is treated by your version of Windows. If you know that the removable device is always going to be assigned the same drive letter, you can just create a shortcut to the SecureCRT executable with the /F flag (more on this below). If you don't always know which drive letter the device will be given, you will need to create a short batch file (a VBScript would also work) to launch SecureCRT, since shortcuts can't use relative paths in their target names.

    In either case, the use of the /F flag is critical. Otherwise SecureCRT will try to create the Config folder in your Application Data folder, which is not what you want.

    To create a simple shortcut, use the /F option, and specify the path to the Config folder. For instance, if you know G: will always be the location of your removable device, you would create a shortcut with the target:

      G:\SecureCRT\SecureCRT.EXE /F G:\SecureCRT\Config

    To start SecureCRT using a batch file, first create a text file that looks like this:

      @echo off
      REM   *  SecureCRT launcher
      REM   *  Allows relative paths on my removable device
      SET SCRT=.\SecureCRT\SecureCRT.EXE
      SET CONF=.\SecureCRT\Config
      START %SCRT% /F %CONF%

    The batch file can be saved either on the flash drive or on your hard disk. Then create a shortcut that executes the batch file to start SecureCRT.

  7. If you use SSH2 for any connections, you need to edit SSH2.ini in the Config folder to point at the correct location for the host key database. If you place the database at the top level of your device, the corresponding line in SSH2.ini would be:

      S:"Host Key Database Location"=..\..\Known Hosts\

  8. Finally, if you use public-key authentication with any of your sessions, you can place your public and private keys on the device as well. If you use password authentication this step is unnecessary.