Make your apps portable

Dec 12, 2006
Updated • May 22, 2013
4 recently reviewed the release of PortableApps Suite 1.0, a polished, light weight application that you can use to install portable applications to removable storage devices such as USB Flash drives, mp3 players, external hard drives but also your main system.

The Portable Apps Suite provides you with a launcher that you can use to start portable apps that you have selected and added to the suite before. So, you start the menu and get to pick the apps that you have added to the device.

The programs are fully portable which means that you do not need to worry about Registry or file changes on the host operating system, or temporary files that leave traces on it.PortableApps Suite 1.0 comes in standard, lite, and base editions.

Applications can be added or removed via the PortableApps menu. The following represents a sample of apps available on the site:

  • 7-Zip Portable
  • AbiWord Portable
  • Audacity Portable
  • ClamWin Portable
  • FileZilla Portable
  • Firefox Portable
  • Gaim Portable
  • GIMP Portable
  • Miranda IM Portable
  • Nvu Portable
  • Portable
  • Sudoku Portable
  • Sunbird Portable
  • Thunderbird Portable
  • VLC Media Player Portable

PortableApps Suite 1.0 is a fantastic way for mobile users to compute securely using software they've selected on any Windows PC. So, why don't I use it? In a word, flexibility.

In order for programs to become portable and thus compatible with the PAS interface, they have to meet certain requirements; I will mention two, here. The first, and perhaps most important, is licensing. Since most commercial software packages prohibit modification, a prerequisite for compression and dependency resolution, the number of potentially portable programs is limited.

Second, an application must be wrapped as a paf.exe in order to be integrated into the suite. To its credit the PAS site does describe launcher construction, though, this limitation represents a significant obstacle to mass adoption in my opinion.

So, what is a burgeoning tech savant to do? Firstly, don't forget that programs available sans installers are portable by nature. Often compressed as ZIP or RAR files, the executables contained within are incredibly versatile once decompressed, running off local drives, optical storage media, memory cards (SD, SM, CF), and even venerable floppy disks.

Also, don't automatically preclude software wrapped in installers. Some -- not all -- applications can be "unwrapped" in order to expose the files contained within. I recommend Universal Extractor to check whether or not a program is capable of becoming portable. The brain child of Jared Breland, UE extracts files from a myriad of archives, including but not limited to ZIP, ARJ, LZH, MSI, and EXE. Once a package has been unwrapped, you might find yourself looking at folders named {app}, {tmp}, or embedded as well as a few shortcuts and text files depending on your particular software. While this is no guarantee, I've had pretty good luck moving all the files in all the directories into a single folder, {apps} for example, and launching the program from there. You can then rename the {apps} folder to something more closely resembling the program contained within, assuming the program proves stable. The last step would be to move your newly created program folder to your preferred platform.

Before you begin testing your entire software library, though, it would be worthwhile to browse the extensive repository of pre-tested portable freeware available at the aptly named The Portable Freeware Collection.

Once you have assembled the requisite applications on your preferred device you will need an interface from which to access them. PStart can be installed on your portable media and launched automatically when connected to a PC. The program is also accessible via a system tray icon. Through PStart's main menu folders, groups or files can be added and organized. It also sports limited search functions, an attractive notepad, and information about the media. Additional customization options for hardcore tweakers are available as well.


Tutorials & Tips

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  1. Dan Donx said on January 15, 2023 at 10:29 am

    What mental age of reader are you targeting with the first sentence? 10?

    Why not write an article on how to *avoid* upgrading from W10 to W11. Analogous to those like me who avoided upgrading from 7 to 10 for as long as possible.

    If your paymaster Microsoft permits it, of course.

  2. Dexter said on January 15, 2023 at 11:14 am

    5. Rufus
    6. Ventoy

    PS. I hate reading these “SEO optimized” articles.

    1. cdr said on January 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      I used Rufus to create an installer for a 6th gen intel i5 that had MBR. It upgraded using Setup. No issues except for Win 11 always prompting me to replace my local account. Still using Win 10 Pro on all my other PCs to avoid the bullying.

  3. sv said on January 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    bit pointless to upgrade for the sake of upgrading as you never know when you’ll get locked out because ms might suddenly not provide updates to unsupported systems.

    ps…. time travelling?
    written. Jan 15, 2023
    Updated • Jan 13, 2023

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2023 at 5:49 am

      This happens when you schedule a post in WordPress and update it before setting the publication date.

  4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2023 at 8:24 am

    Anyone willing to downgrade to this awful OS must like inflicting themselves with harm.

  5. basingstoke said on January 16, 2023 at 11:18 am

    I have become convinced now that anybody who has no qualms with using Windows 11/10 must fit into one of the following brackets:

    1) Too young to remember a time before W10 and W11 (doesn’t know better)

    2) Wants to play the latest games on their PC above anything else (or deeply needs some software which already dropped W7 support)

    3) Doesn’t know too much about how computers work, worried that they’d be absolutely lost and in trouble without the “”latest security””

    4) Microsoft apologist that tries to justify that the latest “features” and “changes” are actually a good thing, that improve Windows

    5) Uses their computer to do a bare minimum of like 3 different things, browse web, check emails, etc, so really doesn’t fuss

    Obviously that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s also the category that:

    6) Actually liked W7 more than 10, and held out as long as possible before switching, begrudgingly uses 10 now

    Have I missed any group off this list?

    1. Heinz Strunk said on September 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      You have missed in this group just about any professional user that uses business software like CAD programs or ERP Programs which are 99% of all professional users from this list.

      Linux doesn’t help anyone who is not a linux kid and apple is just a fancy facebook machine.

  6. ilev said on August 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Microsoft has removed KB5029351 update

    1. EP said on August 24, 2023 at 9:21 pm

      only from windows update though
      KB5029351 is still available from the ms update catalog site

  7. Anonymous said on August 24, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    1. This update is labaled as PREVIEW if it causes issues to unintelligent people, then they shouldn’t have allowed Preview updates ot install.

    2. I have installed it in a 11 years old computer, and no problems at all.

    3. Making a big drama over a bluescreen for an updated labeled as preview is ridiculous.

    This is probably another BS internet drama where people ran programs and scripts that modified the registry until they broke Windows, just for removing stuff that they weren’t even using just for the sake of it.
    Maybe people should stop playing geeks and actually either use Windows 10 or Windows 11, but don’t try to modify things just for the sake of it.

    Sometimes removing or stopping things (like defender is a perfect example) only need intelligence, not scripts or 3rd party programs that might mess with windows.

  8. john said on August 24, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Windows 11 was a pointless release, it was just created because some of the Windows team wanted to boost sales with some sort of new and improved Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft cannot support one version well let alone two.

    1. John G. said on August 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm

      Windows 11 is the worst ugly shame by Microsoft ever. They should release with every new W11 version a complete free version of Starallback inside just to make this sh** OS functionally again.

  9. EP said on August 25, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released a statement regarding the “unsupported processor” blue screen error for their boards using Intel 600/700 series chipsets & to avoid the KB5029351 Win11 update:–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–Error-Message-of-Windows-11-Update-KB5029351-Preview-142215

  10. EP said on August 29, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    check out the following recent articles:

    Neowin – Microsoft puts little blame on its Windows update after UNSUPPORTED PROCESSOR BSOD bug:

    BleepingComputer – Microsoft blames ‘unsupported processor’ blue screens on OEM vendors:

  11. Leonard Britvolli said on August 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    While there may be changes or updates to the Windows 10 Store for Business and Education in the future, it is premature to conclude that it will be discontinued based solely on rumors.

  12. sembrador said on September 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    My advice, I left win 15 years ago. Now I’m a happy linux user (linuxmint) but there is Centos, Fedora, Ubuntu depending on your needs.

  13. EP said on September 6, 2023 at 11:55 am

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released new BIOS/firmware updates for their Intel 600 & 700 series motherboards to fix the “UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR” problem (Sept. 6):–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–caused-BSOD-on-MSI-s-Intel-700-and-600-Series-Motherboards-142277

  14. Raphael Benzo said on September 24, 2023 at 9:52 pm

    I try to disable the Diagnostics Tracking Service (Connected Devices Platform User Services) but it wont let me disable it, any help will be greatly appreciated.
    Tank you for your help

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