With storage size increasing every year, smartphones are finally reaching levels that make them interesting for other applications as well. My Galaxy Note II ships with 16 Gigabyte of storage which can be expanded further with the use of memory cards.
DriveDroid is a free and paid application for Android devices that allows you to use your phone as a boot drive to boot your PC using ISO or IMG image files stored on the phone. This may make sense in a couple of ways. Maybe you want to have a repair or troubleshooting kit always with you, and since you carry your phone around with you at all times, it makes sense to use it for that purpose.
You can use it stationary as well, for instance if you do not have access to another flash memory stick, or if you need more storage than the one you have offers.
There are a couple of requisites though which I'd like to mention first before you get too excited. The application is compatible with all Android 2.2 and higher devices, and requires root to work. It also uses USB Mass Storage which means that some phones, like the Galaxy Note 2 or the Nexus 10 can't be used even if they are rooted. You also need an USB cable to connect the phone to the PC.
To use DriveDroid do the following:
- The first thing you need to do is add at least one disc image to the application. You can do so with a tap on the plus icon after you have started the application.
- Here you get options to create a blank image, download an image, or add an image from a file.
- The download option presents you with a selection of Linux distributions that you can download to your phone, the add local image option requires you to copy an ISO or IMG image to the phone or tablet first.
- Once you have at least one image on your phone, select the image file in DriveDroid that you want to boot your PC from.
- Connect the phone to the PC via USB if you have not done so and make sure that USB boot is the primary boot method.
- You should notice that your PC is booting the image and not the local operating system.
While Linux seems to be the focus right now, you can also create a Windows installation disc using DriveDroid. The developer has published a tutorial on how to do so for Windows 7.
If you use USB Flash drives or optical discs to take disc images with you at all times, you may want to consider moving those to your phone instead to reduce the number of "things" you carry with you at all times. The program is well designed and should not pose any problems to users. The developer notes that some ISO images may not work correctly at the time of writing.
No information are available if and how the free and paid version of DriveDroid differ from each other.