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:
- 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.
- 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
- 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).
Bundles of applicationsEdit
- Appetizer (Dock application)
- Ceedo Easy Access Menu
- PortableApps.com Menu
- U3 Launchpad (only included on U3 drives)
- Alice (software)
- Portable Eclipse
- Portable Blocks(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
- Portable Inkscape - for Mac OS X
Office and PublishingEdit
- AllMyNotes Organizer
- Atlantis Word Processor
- AkelPad - for portability, select Save Settings to INI File from Registry Tab in Settings dialog
- EmEditor Professional - for portability, select Import and Export on Tools menu
- EditPad Pro (also EditPad Lite)
- gVim - for advanced users
- NoteTab Light
- Programmer's Notepad
- PSPad - for portable use choose CAB archive
- SciTE - for portability, set SciTE_HOME environment variable
- TED Notepad - for portability, create tednpad.ini file
- UltraEdit (UE3)
- VEDIT - for portability, check "Install onto removable USB drive" checkbox on the first setup dialog
- Personal Knowbase - note organizer. For portability, select the removable drive letter as "Destination" during installation.
- Firefox Portable
- Google Chrome Portable
- Maxthon Browser
- OperaTor, includes Opera, Tor and Polipo packaged together.
- Pocket K-Meleon
- XeroBank Browser
- SRWare Iron Portable
- Mail - for Mac OS X
- Mozilla Thunderbird Portable (for Linux)
- Pegasus Mail
- Opera (Integrated Email client)
- The Bat! Voyager
- Adium - for Mac OS X
- Google Talk
- Yahoo! Messenger
- Miranda IM
- Pidgin Portable (formerly Gaim Portable)
- Psi Portable
- Trillian Anywhere
- Portable iChat - for Mac OS X
- WxDownload Fast
- Orbit Downloader
- Free Download Manager - Note: installation required to create portable version.
- Opera (Integrated Download Manager)
- BitComet - Note: needs msxml.
- BitTornado - Note: needs msxml.
- Opera (integrated torrent client)
- μTorrent - Latest version runs independently
- Limewire Portable
- Vuze Portable
- ChatZilla Note: Requires a Mozilla based browser, e.g. SeaMonkey, or Firefox.
- 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.
- Pidgin (formerly Gaim)
- Opera (Integrated Irc client)
- Portable X-Chat Aqua - for Mac OS X
- RSSOwl Note: needs Java runtime environment.
- Opera (Integrated RSS/Atom client)
- SE-RssTools Note: needs Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0.
Proxy server/clients and Routing NetworksEdit
- EverNote (freeware & commercial versions)
- TiddlyWiki (Use a web browser on a local file. No network required.)
- 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.
- Total video converter
- AVS Video Converter
- Reaper has a .bat file for a USB stick installation
- FLV player
- Media Player Classic
- foobar2000 - only supports xp and forward
- K-Multimedia Player - use zip version to make it portable
- The Core Pocket Media Player
- Proxomitron - Filtering Web Proxy
- WinDump: Tcpdump for Windows
- VNC: RealVNC Viewer for Windows
- Portable Nvu and KompoZer - for Mac OS X and Windows.
- OpenOffice.org Portable - Complete office suite, which includes HTML editor.
- Directory Opus by selecting the USB/U3 export option
- X-file X-file for Windows 98SE/2K or later
- Servant Salamander 1.52
- Total Commander
- Xenon File Manager
File Archivers and ExtractorsEdit
- 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 22.214.171.124, while the latest WinRAR for Windows version is 3.90.
- PerfectCompress, The software is a single executable so it is always portable.
Security and EncryptionEdit
- HijackThis Powerful tool for listing all startup programs and other hidden system modifications.
- Spybot - Search & Destroy Note - Requires power user or administrator privileges for Windows XP
Real-Time Disk/Volume EncryptionEdit
Visual maps of free space and biggest files and folders on hard drive.
- 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
- List of LiveDistros
- Live USB
- Portable application creators
- VMware ThinApp, a virtualization suite (with the ability to make portable programs)
- Portable Application