The invention of USB was one of the greatest achievements in PC history. Ok, maybe I’m gushing a little but with what other connection can you do so many things? Need to install an OS, run some antivirus or anti-malware scans, have an entire pocket Linux computer in one stick, transfer data, backup data, share programs … The list goes on and on with the abilities of one little port and a device attached to it.
Today we are going to focus on portable apps that can be dropped on a thumb drive and carried wherever you may need them. These programs are handy for the average on the go college student to the tech repairing computers all day. Having the capability to run a program without having to install it locally allows us not to clutter a machine or use the apps we want from a public machine.
One App, Two App, Red App, Blue App
Just from looking at the pic of the above USB drive, you can gather some of the portable applications we will be going over in this article. I put together a small sample of programs which can be helpful either in an “Oh no, my PC got infected” way or a “surfing the web and reviewing documents” kind of way.
I’ll go over a rundown of the programs I have on my thumb drive and then we can get into where you obtain them and how to get them set up on your device for use.
This is a good place to start for a nice mixed grab bag of helpful tools. Everything you need for starting out either diagnosing or viewing random documents is here in this list. I also added rkill, tdsskiller, and Autoruns from their respective websites as they do not require an install to a host machine and are extremely handy to have in a virus/malware/startup issue situation. For your convenience I will list each of these and their web address at the bottom of this article.
Now that we know what we have, let’s know where to go and get them and how to install them on our thumb drive.
Portableapps.com/apps has a ton of apps for us to use and install. The majority of these will come from there for two reasons: First, the pure amount of selection here dwarfs many other sites. Secondly, the ease of installation to your USB device is second to none. Let’s go over a mock install of Google Chrome Portable to show you just how to install these and have them function the way we want. Go to http://portableapps.com/apps/internet/google_chrome_portable to download the program so we can begin the installation. After the short download, double click the .exe file and click Next and through the License Agreement. Here is the important part. When you get to the Destination selection step, make sure to select the destination device as your thumb drive, otherwise it may install to your hard drive or another location. Look below how I selected my drive:
After selection, allow it to install and wait until it is complete. Finally we can play with it. Go to your thumb drive and run the installed program to make sure it functions correctly. To run it, simply double click on the .exe file inside its folder and boom goes the dynamite! Looks like success to me. (pic courtesy of xkcd.com – an awesome web comic)
That is the basic rundown on the finding and install of all of these applications. Pretty simplistic but extremely effective when you either dont have Admin rights to a machine or are trying to clean out an infected computer. Run through the apps at portableapps and find the ones that would be most beneficial to you and your situation. They have thousands of different programs to choose from ranging from games to work related objects. Fill up your thumb drive with all of the goodies your heart desires and tell us about which ones you loved or hated in the comments below!
After posting this article, I found Autruns, Rkill, and Tdsskiller on portableapps.com as well so you have an alternative to using their home websites.
7zip Portable: http://portableapps.com/apps/utilities/7-zip_portable
ClamWin Portable: http://portableapps.com/apps/security/clamwin_portable
EmmisoftEmergencyKit Portable: http://www.emsisoft.com/en/software/eek/
Foxit Reader Portable: http://portableapps.com/apps/office/foxit_reader_portable
Google Chrome Portable: http://portableapps.com/apps/internet/google_chrome_portable
OpenOffice Portable: http://portableapps.com/apps/office/openoffice_portable
RevoUninstaller Portable: http://portableapps.com/apps/utilities/revo_uninstaller_portable
SophosVirusRemovalTool Portable: http://www.sophos.com/en-us/products/free-tools/sophos-anti-rootkit.aspx
Spybot Portable: http://portableapps.com/apps/security/spybot_portable
Teamviewer Portable: http://portableapps.com/apps/utilities/teamviewer_portable
TreeSize Portable: http://portableapps.com/apps/utilities/treesize-free-portable
WindowsErrorLookup Portable: http://portableapps.com/apps/utilities/windows_error_lookup_tool_portable