I love portable applications, therefore I always give more credit here to those software that are made available in both installation and portable. But I also have to admit that making a collection of portable tools in my toolbox sometimes is quite time consuming. Sometimes, some of the popular tools don’t usually offer a portable version at all. That’s why you may find this PortableApps.com open source toolkit handy and useful.
Basically, it’s a collection of popular tools that can be stored on a portable device or cloud drive and be used on any PC. For example, you can have your own browser with all your bookmarks and extensions, your full office suite, your photo editor, your whole music collection, your favorite games, your development tools and more. You can have all your data including personal files, music, bookmarks, pictures stay right on the drive. It’s a tool that makes every PC run like your own PC.
To start, you just download the platform from its Source Forge project page, and install it on your local computer. Specify a location where you want to save all the apps during the installation.
Once it’s done, you can launch it from the location you specified during the installation. At first, there will be no app installed in the platform. A Portable App Directory window automatically pops up every time when the platform is launched. You can then browse through the directory, select the apps you want to download, and go Next.
I won’t suggest you select all apps and download them once, which may take hours to finish installation. Just select the ones you essentially needed and add more slowly on the go.
PortableApps.com platform is something like Windows 7 Start Menu, which made me think that maybe I can just use it to act like Start Screen in my Windows 8 computer.
All installed app are listed in Portable Apps section at left, while the folders that store all your personal data are categorized and listed at right. Note that, none of the apps listed inside this platform are actually installed on your local computer. They are true portable apps that can be launched independently and separately on any Windows system.
The Options menu at right brings up the Options window that come with a lot of settings you can change in 3 different sections.
It also includes a built-in Search feature that makes you to find app a lot easier. And when you need to find an app quickly, just type / (or hit F3) and then start typing, and you’ll find what you’re looking for. When you’ve found your app, just hit enter and the first app will start right up.
PortableApps.com platform has almost 300 portable apps in its own App Store, built in Portable App Directory. According to its website, the new apps are added into the library every week. Existing apps are also constantly got updated very often. It even has an update module enabled under Apps menu to update the installed apps if needed to keep them all up-to-date.
Overall, I love this tool. I only wish I could find it sooner so I could use and benefit from it sooner.