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Over 300 free and legal portable apps including Xonotic (Mar 1, 2015) needs your help: Please donate today Launcher 2.0 Released: Make Apps Portable Without Writing Code

Submitted by Chris Morgan on June 30, 2010 - 3:58pm
Share on Facebook is proud to announce that Launcher 2.0 has been released. The Launcher™ allows developers, publishers and even technical end-user to portablize apps in Format without needing to write any code. It's an easy to use multilingual launcher that makes creating portable apps a snap. Once you've updated your app to the current Format Specification, you can use the Launcher to handle registry keys, command line options and updating configuration files just by editing a simple INI file. The Launcher brings the power behind our launchers used in hundreds of apps to everyone. It's already used in NSIS Portable, Audacity Portable and PChat Portable.

Read on for more details...


ScreenshotThe Launcher allows you to easily make your apps portable. It features:

  • Proven NSIS core
  • Easy configuration with no coding required
  • Automated language switching of apps with the Platform
  • Powerful settings file and directory moving
  • Easy registry portablization
  • Custom code in launchers where needed
  • And many more features for making professional portable apps
  • Works from command line and Send To (just pass the portable app's main directory, e.g. X:\PortableApps\FileZillaPortable)
  • Licensed for use with free open source and freeware
  • Commercial use by contacting

For complete details, read the Launcher Manual (also included with the app). The Application Template 2.0 is also available.

This update allows software publishers to package their apps using our popular tools. Open source projects can use our installer and launcher (and all source is included and licensed under the GPL) and release their own PAF files. Freeware publishers can also use our installer with no special permission. Commercial publishers can contact us for permission.

Get Help Packaging for

If you need help packaging your software in Format or using the Launcher, just post a note to the Development Forum and we'll help you out. Installer / Format Launcher is packaged as a Installer so it will automatically detect an existing installation when your drive is plugged in. It supports upgrades by installing right over an existing copy, preserving all settings. And it's in Format, so it automatically works with the Suite including the Menu and Backup Utility.


The Launcher is available for immediate download from the Launcher homepage. Get it today!

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Thanks Chris

Thanks Chris for all your work on this. It was a truly monumental undertaking, but WELL worth the wait. And another thanks to Mark (gringoloco) for all his help with NSIS Unicode as well as his work in updating all the NSIS plugins for use with the Launcher and upcoming Updater. Thanks as well to all the testers and contributors of ideas to the Launcher. Smiling

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!


Yeah, thanks for all your work on this. Sounds like it's good stuff. I used an early version, and it seemed to do its thing like it said (didn't confirm with RegShot and the ever-reliable horusofoz). I still plan on using this to package NetHack (dungeon crawler game) but if anyone wants to do it before I get to it, be my guest.

Congratulations ChrisMorgan

ANd thanx for that JonhT.Haller

Formerly Gringoloco
Windows XP Pro sp3 x32

Congratulations Chris

many thanks, and thanks also to everyone else who had a finger in this particular pie, it was a mammoth undertaking Smiling

Thanks you

both Chris and John for this!

one thing: The app page has one "The" in the features section with no sentence behind...

"What about Love?" - "Overrated. Biochemically no different than eating large quantities of chocolate." - Al Pacino in The Devils Advocate

I can't wait to portablize

I can't wait to portablize some of the apps I use with this. Thanks a ton for the hard work.

Good job on the documentation

To all that worked on the docs for the launcher: "Thanks!"

Looks all professional and stuff. Eye-wink

Cancer Survivors -- Remember the fight, celebrate the victory!
Help control the rugrat population -- have yourself spayed or neutered!


At the moment it's just me that's worked on the manual (except for John and his graphics designer who designed the original help.html style. And the python/docutils/sphinx developers for the documentation framework). I personally wouldn't say it looks all professional yet... it lacks significant polish and structure. Any suggestions or improvements or volunteering for writing good use cases/examples would be welcomed.

I am a Christian and a developer and moderator here.

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” – Proverbs 15:1

Ok, I'll rephrase. "So far,

Ok, I'll rephrase. "So far, it looks a LOT better than the docs we had for some of the previous versions."

I can say that because I was one of the original contributors to the unofficial PortableApps wiki on another website. Sticking out tongue

Cancer Survivors -- Remember the fight, celebrate the victory!
Help control the rugrat population -- have yourself spayed or neutered!

Thank you, Chris!

This is a huge milestone for PortableApps, and one that will probably trigger a "development flood" of apps. Great work, Chris!
*Downloads PAL, then goes off to make more apps portable*

"The question I would like to know, is the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything. All we know about it is that the Answer is Forty-two, which is a little aggravating."


is this right?

in XP its "C:\Documents and Settings\All Users"
and in vista its "C:\ProgramData"

i think this is wrong cause when i open a file in vista it works fine but when i open the same file in XP it needs to be in "C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data", so i added "\Application Data" like this "&ALLUSERSPROFILE&\Application Data" in move directories and opened it in xp it works fine but in vista it turns out like this "C:\ProgramData\Application Data"

and i'm having some trouble in reg [RegistryCleanupForce] this only deletes the key, but i just want to delete the value like this

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Fonts\Arial (TrueType)=REG_SZ:arial.ttf

i only need to delete the value "Arial (TrueType)" not the whole "Fonts" key

i tried [RegistryValueBackupDelete] but so far no go

anyway thanks to the launcher some of my apps and games are portabilize. great work

Can't Do It

What you need is ALLUSERSAPPDATA which doesn't exist. The directory Application Data will vary depending on OS language, so you can't hardcode it to my knowledge. It must be a nasty app if it is writing to the ALLUSERS profile and Fonts on every run. Please post in the forums for assistance with the exact issues (this is a news story and no one will find your question or the answers to it here).

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

Non PAF Apps

Could this version handle those non PAF portable applications as well?



It can be used to make almost any app work in Format. Some modifications may be needed to be handled with the launcher configuration as with any app, but if the base app is already portable or almost portable, it can make it easier and faster.

I am a Christian and a developer and moderator here.

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” – Proverbs 15:1

Custom pre/post commands

Thanks for the launcher, last day I've started to play with it, really promising.

I've discovered the custom [DirectoriesCleanupForce] among other custom .INI settings, very useful.

For a future version, it is possible to add custom commands/sections, for example [ExecuteBeforeLaunch], [ExecuteAfterQuit] like this:

1=(do something before launch)
2=(do something else before launch)

1=(do something after quit)
2=(do something else after quit)

It would be handy.

Looks great.

So, basically, this would be able to make any app compatible with the launcher without having to make them into the portableapps format manually by creating a appinfo.ini and appicon.ico? If so, this could really help for some apps where the main exe isn't in the root folder of the app.


This is not designed for use like that. That can be achieved already by creating just an appinfo.ini which specifies the path; this is for creating full portable apps in Format.

I am a Christian and a developer and moderator here.

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” – Proverbs 15:1