Portable Apps

I’m totally hooked to portable apps now. You don’t need admin rights to install them. You can run them off a USB stick. They won’t make your machine slower. All the reasons not to install an application vanish.

PortableApps.com is a good starting point. For what it’s worth, here are my portable apps by category (most used on top).


  • Firefox. If you’re using IE6, please die. Lack of admin access is no longer an excuse.
  • Cygwin brings you UNIX commands to Windows.
  • Portable Ubuntu run Ubuntu as a window in Windows.

Tiny utilities

  • GDI++ replaces the Windows font engine with a Mac-line rendering. Looks cool.
  • Clip is a command line tool that copies to clipboard. “dir | clip” copies the file listing to the clipboard. Outrageously useful.
  • PicPick takes screenshots of the screen, windows, regions, whatever. And you can edit them too.
  • uTorrent downloads torrents.
  • WinDiff compares two files and tells you the difference.
  • AlwaysOnTopMaker makes any window stay on top of other windows.
  • DiskTT tells you your hard disk (or USB stick) speed.
  • WinHTTrack downloads websites.
  • AllChars lets you type special characters like ½ by type Alt-1-2 or “ by Alt-`-`. It’s shockingly intuitive.
  • Restoration lets you undelete permanently deleted files.
  • Windirstat tells you what’s taking up space on your disk.
  • Sysinternals is a bunch of system monitoring utilities.
  • Virtual CD-ROM mounts .ISO files. You can use .ISO files without burning them.
  • Autostitch stitches together photos to create panoramas.


  • VLC plays any audio or video file.
  • TightVNC lets you log into other machines like a remote desktop./li>
  • Audacity lets you record and edit audio.
  • CamStudio lets you record video (screen capture).
  • VirtualDub lets you edit video.
  • MediaCoder converts audio and video from any format to another.
  • GIMP is like Photoshop. You can edit pictures.
  • Inkscape lets you edit vector graphics.


  • XAMPP installs Apache, MySQL, PHP and Perl at one shot.
  • App Engine is Google’s freemium platform for app hosting.
  • Persevere is a RESTful JSON app server that runs on Java.
  • Tomcat is a JSP server.
  • nginx is a fast web server
  • CouchDB is a RESTful JSON app server that runs on Erlang.

Development tools

Let me repeat:

  1. You don’t need admin rights to install these.
  2. You can run them off a USB stick.
  3. They won’t make your machine slower.

There’s really no reason whatsoever not to have them on a USB stick at least. They’re cheap.

  1. Naveen says:

    I have been using portableapps for more than an year now.Though the idea is to run it off a USB stick, this results in poor performance usually, especially for firefox.

  2. Ganapathy says:

    I landed in your site for analyzing IR songs.

    The collection of applications in http://www.pendriveapps.com seems to better than PortableApps.com (my personal opinion).