In a recent post about the rather wonderful game, Canabalt, I made mention of the very useful PortableApps launcher. I figured it deserves a post all to itself so here it is.

PortableApps is tool which allows you to install windows applications onto a USB drive in a compact form and then launch them using a menu that is also run from the USB drive. There is a wide range of portable applications available in a range of categories:

  • Accessibility

  • Development

  • Education

  • Games

  • Graphics & Pictures

  • Internet

  • Music & Video

  • Office

  • Security

  • Utilities

Within these categories you will find portable versions of some very well known applications such as: Notepad++, Celestia, Stellarium, Battle For Wesnoth, Freeciv, Blender, Inkscape, Firefox, FileZilla, Google Chrome, Skype, Audacity, Songbird, LibreOffice and ClamWin to name but a handful. With these and many more to download and install, PortableApps makes it very easy to set up a USB drive that will allow you take all your favourites with you. For example, I use PortableApps to provide easy access to a range of utilities for tackling PC problems and carrying out maintenance tasks. With the range of applications available, though, you could create a USB-based solution for pretty much any use.

Note that all the applications that are available are of the free and/or open source variety. That’s not a bad thing but it is something to take note of whilst you consider which applications will meet your needs. It does mean that some of the applications are a release or two behind the current version so may not have the latest features and fixes. This shouldn’t be a problem as your still getting access to a wide range of excellent applications for nothing.

You should also note that some of the larger applications you install will start more slowly than you are used to. But only because they are being run from an external USB drive with a slower transfer rate than a hard drive. However, even this shouldn’t bother you too much provided you use a high quality USB drive (I’d suggest something by SanDisk who are my flash-based-storage provider of choice).

So, a big thumbs up from me for this very useful software platform. Why not check it out for yourself?


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