Portable Application Suite

USB Key stick

Updated: 22 Apr 2019

As you know, USB Flash Drives, External hard disks and so on have been around since Windows 98 when USB first came on the market. Now, applications have sprung up which are now 'portable' enough to be carried on a single USB stick with 100MB or more.


Installation is easy, download your application to your PC, insert your USB drive and create a folder to put your applications in e.g. Apps. Depending on the program, in some cases its just case of either:

a) Extract the files from a ZIP or other archive and place them in a new folder in your apps folder.
b) Run the install program and point it to the USB drive e.g. J:\Apps\MyProgram
c) Create a new folder on USB drive and copy the program file to the new folder


Locating and running your program every time can be chore, so you need an easy way to launch your program from one place. You can write a simple Launch.html file with a list of your program in to and create links using HREF to point to your applications using relative paths. For example,
1. <A HREF="\Apps\MyProgram\Program.exe">My Program</A>

2. <A HREF="\Apps\My2ndProgram\Program2.exe>My 2nd Program</A>

and so on. Then when you want to launch your program, click on the link and select Run from the dialog box.

Portable Programs

Now, you need some programs to put onto your USB Drive which you can then use on the move without having to install it on every PC you need to access.

  1. Web Browser. Try the Firefox Portable browser. Size 6.1 MB
  2. PDF File Viewer. Try the SumatraPDF or Foxit Reader viewer. Size 2 MB
  3. Text Editor. Try EditPad Lite or Notepad++ editor. Size 3.6 MB/ 11 MB
  4. System Information. Try CPU-Z (1.0 MB) or Astra32 (1.8 MB) programs.
  5. Virus Checker. Try ClamWin. Size 35 MB
  6. Graphics Editor. Try Photo Filtre or the GIMP, a small but powerful graphics tool. Size 3.6 or 18 MB
  7. Office. Try Portable Open Office or LibreOffice suite. Size 69 MB/ 144 MB.
  8. Email. Try Mozilla Thunderbird Portable. Size 6.7 MB
  9. Hex Editor. Try Adanced heX Editor. Size 564 KB.
  10. Media Player. Try VLC Media Player. Size 9.8 MB
  11. Sound Editor. Try Audacity. Size 4 MB.
  12. Word Processor. Try Abiword. Size 15 MB.
  13. Web Editor. Try KompoZer. Size 10 MB

Portable Operating Systems

Most Operating systems are not very portable except the very old ones or new ones such as Windows CE, Palm OS or Live Linux versions. Linux is ideal because its so flexible. The Kernel can be stripped down to bare essentials and you can specify which applications to include. A list of ones to try include:

  1. Arch Linux. Installation under 1GB.
  2. Knoppix. This larger one will fit on 2GB devices or less.
  3. PC Linux OS.Another OS in 2GB of space.
  4. Winuae and FS-UAE. Amiga emulators.
  5. Softmac. Run Mac emulator in less than 500 MB.

If you have a question about portable Apps, then please .