Running Eclipse from a CD or flash drive

I use the Eclipse Remote System Explorer tool set to manage remote systems in my system and network administration work. I’d really like to be able to use it from a variety of workstations without installing the whole thing on every machine. Can I run Eclipse from a CD or a flash drive?

You can run Eclipse from a CD or a flash drive without too much trouble. You can also zip up an existing Eclipse installation and install it anywhere you need it just by unzipping the package. The only real caveat is that Eclipse requires a Java Runtime Environment (JRE) to run. You can ensure that Eclipse has a JRE available by copying the JRE directory into the Eclipse install directory before you burn the CD or zip things up. Before you copy your existing Eclipse installation with the Remote System Explorer installed on a CD you will want to delete everything except the config.ini file from the eclipse/configuration folder in your Eclipse folder. To include the JRE simply copy the contents of your existing JRE folder into a folder named ‘jre’ in your Eclipse directory at the same level as the ‘features’ and ‘plugins’ folders. Now burn the contents of your Eclipse directory on to the CD. Once that is done you can run Eclipse off of the CD. When Eclipse starts it looks for the JRE in its own folder first and uses that if it finds it. And since the configuration folder is read only, Eclipse will create a user-specific configuration area in your home directory on the machine. If you want to use a flash drive instead of a CD you can mark the configuration folder read only to force Eclipse to create a configuration area in your home directory, or you can leave the configuration folder writeable to allow Eclipse to place configuration data on the flash drive. Eclipse may run a bit slower from CD depending on the speed of your drive. In my case, however, Eclipse starts up faster from CD than from the hard drive on one particular Toshiba laptop when I do not include the JRE on the CD, so that Eclipse uses the JRE installed on the system. I was able to build a disk that contains two copies of my Eclipse install. One includes the JRE for use on machines that do not have Java, and the other does not include the JRE for use on machines that do have Java installed. The copy without the JRE runs a bit faster, and the copy with the JRE runs on just about any PC.

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