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USB stick turns 64-bit x86 systems into Linux thin clients

Dec 6, 2016 — by Eric Brown 6,237 views

Igel has launched a “UD Pocket” USB stick that boots up a VDI environment on any 64-bit x86 PC, laptop, or other device without overwriting its local OS.

Since the early days of Linux, IT administrators and demo presenters have been using USB stick and Live CD-based devices to boot up Linux distributions like Knoppix on desktop computers. Now Igel Technology has taken the bootable USB stick to the thin client world with the Igel UD Pocket. The 22 x 12 x 6mm, 3.3gm device plugs into any 64-bit x86 PC, laptop, or tablet with at least 2GB of RAM and a bootable USB port, to turn it into a thin client running a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) user interface.

Igel UD Pocket
(click images to enlarge)

The Igel UD Pocket is designed to “improve the security of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) initiatives in organizations with remote or mobile workforces,” says Igel. “We are finding that there is a significant market opportunity for our Linux-based micro thin client in vertical markets such as financial services and insurance, education, logistics and warehousing, and call centers where workers roam between desks, offices or locations,” stated Matthias Haas, Igel’s Director of Product Management.

Basically, the UD Pocket lets you carry your office or personal desktop thin client around in your pocket or purse, and boot it up on any available 64-bit x86 PC or laptop. The device boots the host system into Igel’s Ubuntu-based Igel Linux 10 distribution. The waterproof USB 3.0 device is equipped with 8GB of flash storage, and is backward compatible to USB 2.0 ports.


Igel Linux 10 supports virtual desktop environments including Citrix, VMware, and Microsoft. It also provides enterprise-level security standards and protocols, as well as two-factor authentication through integrated or external smart card readers or USB tokens.

Once users have finished accessing Igel Linux 10 and the Igel Universal Desktop, they can reboot the host system from its local OS and return to the host’s normal desktop. The UD Pocket can be automatically integrated into the Igel Universal Management Suite (UMS) for remote support, deployment, and management.

Further information

The Igel UD Pocket is available for purchase at an undisclosed price. The price includes a two-year warranty and a perpetual license assigned to each device, with regular software updates for up to three years after end of life. Licensing for the IGEL UD Pocket is assigned to the USB stick, independent of the MAC address of the target endpoint. More information may be found in Igel Technology’s UD Pocket announcement and UD Pocket product page.

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