Did you know that you can load up a flash drive with your favorite programs and run them on any computer, without installing, directly from the portable drive? Here's the scoop on portable apps...
What Are Portable Apps?
A portable app is simply a program that you can take with you on a portable device, such as a flash drive, or an external hard drive. You can even put portable apps on your iPod or MP3 player -- basically any device that has file storage and can be plugged into a USB port.
Plug your portable device into any Windows computer, and you have instant access to your own software, documents, data and settings. The beauty of portable apps is that you can do that without the hassle of installing software on other computers. And when you unplug your device, there are no worries about leaving any of your personal data behind.
Why Use Portable Apps?
You've got your home computer set up just the way you like it. But about when you travel for business, vacation, or even when you're using a friend's computer? Wouldn't it be great to carry all your favorite programs, your browser bookmarks, and custom settings along with you?
Portable apps allow you to take your favorite email program, configured just the way you need, along with with your address book and settings, whereever you go. You'll never be without your instant messenger and your buddy list. Your calendar, to-do list, and all your appointments come along with you. You can even bring your office software (word processor, spreadsheet, etc.) as well as your documents and presentations.
Are you always forgetting website passwords when you're away from your home computer? Put a password manager on your portable drive and you can give your brain a break. Oh, and if you're the one that people call when their computers get hosed, a flash drive with a collection of anti-virus, anti-spyware and other utilities is a great thing to bring along.
Where Can I Get Portable Apps?
Visit PortableApps.com and you'll find a large collection of open source software and freeware that you can download. Everything you need for on-the-go computing and troubleshooting is available for free. Here's a sample of the portable apps that you can use:
- Mozilla Firefox - Web Browser
- Mozilla Thunderbird - Email Client
- FileZilla Portable - FTP Client
- Miranda IM Portable - Instant Messaging for AOL, MSN and Yahoo
- PuTTY Portable - Telnet And Ssh Client
- OpenOffice.org - Word Processor, Spreadsheet, Presentations
- AbiWord Portable - MS-word Compatible Word Processor
- Notepad++ Portable - Full-Featured Text Editor
- GIMP - Photo/Image Editor
- CoolPlayer+ - Audio Player
- MPlayer - Movie Player
- InfraRecorder - CD and DVD Burner
- 7-Zip Portable - File Archiver (zip/unzip)
- ClamWin Portable - Antivirus
- JkDefrag Portable - Disk Defrag and Optimizer
- KeePass - Password Manager
You can also find portable versions of popular web browsers and other utilities at Xenocode. Grab a copy of Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer (IE7 or IE8), Safari or Opera to try a variety of web browers without having to install or uninstall each one. This is a great thing if you're a website developer, since you can easily see how your web pages look in every major browser. Xenocode also offers Adobe Reader so you can handle PDF files, the WinAmp multimedia player, and the Gimp image editor.
Want to build you own portable apps? Check out the resources available on the PortableApps.com or Xenocode websites. If you're a programmer looking to develop a new portable app, an end-user or system administrator who wants to adapt existing apps for portability, you'll find help there.
Do you use portable apps? Post a comment or question below...
Posted by Bob Rankin on 20 Mar 2009
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Portable Apps (Posted: 20 Mar 2009)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved