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.
- 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.
- Notepad++ is my current text editor. It has syntax highlighting, column editing, Unicode support, auto-completion, and is fast and free. So I dumped Crimson Editor.
- Putty is SSH for Windows.
- Tidy cleans up HTML files.
- CSSTidy cleans up CSS files.
- Processing is a graphical programming language.
- Wireshark monitors network traffic.
- Drip checks IE for leaks.
- NVDA is a free screen reader.
Let me repeat:
- You don’t need admin rights to install these.
- You can run them off a USB stick.
- 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.