Everyone has their personal choice of must have portable apps and this is my load out of must haves that no engineer should be without.
Portableapps.com has been around for many years and is priceless when it comes to arming yourself with useful apps that can run from a USB stick. In a way this is a form of application virtualization, as it in essence works by isolating an app and all it’s settings so that it can run and operate without having to interface with any host OS resources, such as writing/reading the registry.
What you need
- USB 3.0 Stick with at least 32GB.
- USB 3.0 cause you want the speed it offers. I picked up a Sandisk and it works great.
- 32GB cause memory is cheap and who knows what else you’ll want to store. That’s just what I got, and there is no reason why you can’t get a larger one.
- Click here to buy it on Amazon
- Download and install the PortableApps.com Platform.
- This is the PortableApps launcher that runs from the USB. The interface is a start menu like app, and is used to launch portable apps, install new ones and automatically install updates.
- Database Browser Portable: Works with Oracle, MS Sql Server, ODBC, MySql, PostgreSQL, SQLite, Ole DB, Interbase, Firebird and supports ODBC connection strings
- Notepad++ Portable: Much better than Notepad on Windows and supports multiple languages. Provides syntax highlighting and syntax folding.
- IrfanView Portable: One of the best freeware image viewers you can find.
- Google Chrome Portable: For those times when you need it and only IE is available.
- Mozilla Firefox, Portable Edition: Same as above. Always good to have multiple browsers if writing and testing web apps.
Music and Video
- Mp3tag Portable: This one is noted as being a superb MP3 tag utility. It’s currently not available in the automated installer, but the developer provides the paf.exe format to easily install using the PortableApps Launcher. Click this link to download it.
- Foxit Reader Portable: PDF viewer and creator.
- FileZilla Portable: One of the top FTP apps
- PuTTY Portable: Can’t work with Linux without it
- WinSCP Portable: Top app for secure directory and file browsing with a GUI. Setup your connection in PuTTY and FileZilla first, as this has a built in import for both
- TeamViewer Portable: In case you need to setup a remote control session
- 7-Zip Portable: One of the best archiving utilities. Supports pretty much all archive types and has one of the best compression algorithms
- Baretail: Great utility for tailing log files in real time. It’s currently not available in the automated installer, but that’s not a problem since it’s just a single exe and can run as a portable app. Click this link to download it.
- See section at the end for steps to add it manually to the Launcher
- Checksum Control Portable: Nice little utility that is used to generate and verify SFV and MD5 checksums
- DebugView Portable: Use this to monitor debug output on your local or remote computer on the network
- Diffpdf Portable: Compares PDF files and displays the differences
- WinMerge Portable: It doesn’t get much better than this for comparing files.
- Explorer++ Portable: A more feature rich version of what Windows File Explorer offers
- TreeSize Free Portable: One of the best apps for scanning drives and finding files that take up the most space
If you have an app that is not provided with a PortableApps installer, but can run as a portable app, just follow these steps to add it to your Launcher.
- Browse to the PortableApps directory on your USB stick where the Launcher is installed
- Create a folder with the name of the app. For example: Baretail
- Copy the application executable into this folder
- Start the Launcher and click All Portable Apps at the bottom
- The app will be listed under an uknown category. Just right-click the app and categorize it as needed
- All done!
The PortableApps launcher has many other features that allow you to customize the launcher to your preferences.