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Portable software is a class of software that is suitable for use on portable drives such as a USB (thumb) drive or digital audio player or PDA with "drive mode", although any external hard drive can be used. The concept of carrying one's favored applications, utilities, and files on a portable drive for use on any computer is one which has evolved considerably in recent years.

Programs in this category (also known as portable applications) are typically 'lite' versions of their parent software, but there are many exceptions.

To be considered portable, for purpose of this list, a software program must:

  1. Not require any kind of formal installation onto a computer's permanent storage device to be executed, and can be stored on a removable storage device such as USB flash drive, enabling it to be used on multiple computers.
  2. Settings are stored with, and can be carried around with, the software (i.e., they are written to the USB drive). If the registry is used to store settings, the application's configuration isn't portable, and must be set up on every PC it is used on
  3. Leaves a zero (or near-zero) "footprint" on any PC it's run on after being used. i.e., All temporary files/registry settings should be removed once the program has exited, and files created by the user can be saved directly to the same removable media as the application is stored on.

Generally, smaller utility/toolkit software is inherently fairly portable; though larger applications are sometimes changed in order to allow a portable versions to be released (e.g., Opera@USB and OperaTor).

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Bundles of applicationsEdit

Application launchersEdit


Scripting LanguagesEdit



  • Alice (software)
  • Portable Eclipse
  • Portable
    (needs MinGW installed, which is portable too)
  • Portable Dev-C++
  • Hackety Hack, which is an educational version of ruby, can be installed on pendrive.
  • JCreator Not entirely portable, because it leaves some settings on the host computer.

Visual mapping tool/Productivity toolEdit


3D Modeling And RenderingEdit

  • Anim8or - Free 3D modeling and animating software.
  • Blender:
    • BlenderPortable
    • Blender Pocket
    • XBlender

Graphic EditorsEdit


Document BasedEdit

Office and PublishingEdit


Personal NotesEdit

  • Personal Knowbase - note organizer. For portability, select the removable drive letter as "Destination" during installation.



See List of portable computer games


Web browsersEdit

Email clientsEdit

Instant messagingEdit

FTP clientsEdit

Download managersEdit

P2P file sharingEdit


  • ChatZilla Note: Requires a Mozilla based browser, e.g. SeaMonkey, or Firefox.
  • HydraIRC
  • Miranda IM
  • mIRC Note: There is a U3 version of mIRC that can be installed on U3 drives. The original application is portable, leaving behind only the license key in the registry. (This may not be true with the newer versions that are vista-compatible, as their default user data area was changed to the user's application data folder.) Since v3.1, it can be started from a command line using the -portable switch to use settings, DLLs, and license keys that are stored in the same folder as mirc.exe.
  • NETtalk
  • Pidgin (formerly Gaim)
  • Opera (Integrated Irc client)
  • XChat
  • Portable X-Chat Aqua - for Mac OS X
  • KVIrc
  • Digsby

RSS, Atom readersEdit

  • RSSOwl Note: needs Java runtime environment.
  • Opera (Integrated RSS/Atom client)
  • SE-RssTools Note: needs Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0.

Telnet, SSH clientsEdit

Search enginesEdit

Podcast managersEdit

Proxy server/clients and Routing NetworksEdit

Local wikisEdit


  • Moka5 LivePC Engine (Portable VMware). Note: Dynamically loads and unloads network drivers and requires administrator rights.
  • Mojopac portable chopped down copy of windows. Requires administrator rights.
  • DataCrow -- Media cataloger and media organizer.


File convertersEdit

CD/DVD burningEdit


Audio/Midi SequencerEdit

  • Reaper has a .bat file for a USB stick installation



Video CaptureEdit


HTTP serversEdit


Other ToolsEdit

Web EditorsEdit

  • Portable Nvu and KompoZer - for Mac OS X and Windows.
  • Portable - Complete office suite, which includes HTML editor.

Calendar managementEdit

File managementEdit

File Archivers and ExtractorsEdit

  • 7-Zip
  • Filzip
  • PeaZip, for Linux and Windows
  • iZarc2go, Portable version of iZarc
  • WinRAR, Portable version for Windows, still requires having a license for a regular version of WinRAR. The version number for WinRAR Unplugged is, while the latest WinRAR for Windows version is 3.90.
  • PerfectCompress, The software is a single executable so it is always portable.

PDF ToolsEdit



Security and EncryptionEdit

Password ManagementEdit



Real-Time Disk/Volume EncryptionEdit

System MaintenanceEdit

Storage ManagementEdit

Visual maps of free space and biggest files and folders on hard drive.

System InformationEdit

  • CPU-Z - CPU and memory hardware details - clock and FSB speeds, SPD, OS version.
  • GPU-Z - GPU details.
  • AIDA32 - freeware system information, diagnostics, and auditing program
  • Speccy

Partition/File RecoveryEdit

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

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