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PortableApps.com Platform Support

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Many of the most common issues that arise when using PortableApps.com Platform are addressed here. Please read through the various topics to see if any of them address your question. You can also post a question to one of the forums for the apps.

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PortableApps.com Platform and Suite Issues

Installing the PortableApps.com Platform

To install the PortableApps.com Platform, just download the installer for the version you'd like from the PortableApps.com Platform and Suite homepage and run it. It's best to install it right to the root directory of your portable drive (X:\ where X is the drive letter). It'll take anywhere from 1 to 20 minutes depending on the edition you select (Platform Only, Light or Standard) and the speed of your drive.

Using the PortableApps.com Platform

To start up the PortableApps.com Platform, just double-click StartPortableApps.exe in the root of your portable drive. In many cases, Windows will ask if you'd like to start PortableApps.com when you plug in your drive. Then, use the intuitive PortableApps.com Menu to launch your apps, browse your drive, search the web and more.

When using any portable software, here are a couple tips:

  • Stay Safe - When using portable apps, it's always a good idea to practice Safe Portable App-ing.
  • Removing Your Drive - When you're done, exit all portable apps and then wait for the activity light on your removable drive to stop flashing. Then click the eject button in the PortableApps.com menu and select to safely eject your drive. If you remove the drive while it is writing, you may lose data.

Adding PortableApps.com Format Apps to the PortableApps.com Menu

The PortableApps.com Menu can automatically add apps in PortableApps.com Format. Just download the the PortableApps.com Installer (ending in .paf.exe) for the app you'd like to add (like FileZilla Portable, for instance). Then, in PortableApps.com Menu, click Options - Add a New App - Install and then select the FileZilla Portable .paf.exe file you just downloaded. The PortableApps.com Menu will automatically install it to the proper location for you.

You can also run the installers directly. As long as you have your portable apps installed to the standard location, they will automatically find your PortableApps.com drive, install and tell the menu to refresh.

Adding Other Apps to the PortableApps.com Menu

The PortableApps.com Menu will also work with other standalone and portable apps. You just need to place them in a directory "next to" the PortableApps.com directory. So, in a standard layout, you'd create a directory within the X:\PortableApps directory and place it within there. For example, if you have a portable program MyApp.exe, you could create a folder called X:\PortableApps\MyApp\ and place MyApp.exe and all its files within there. Then, just click Apps - Refresh App Icons within the PortableApps.com Menu and your new app will show up.

It should be noted that, unlike apps in PortableApps.com Format, other apps labeled as 'portable' may not meet the definition of a portable app according to PortableApps.com. They could leave things behind on the local PC or some functionality may break as you move PCs. You will need to check with the provider to ensure it is fully portable. Additionally, apps not in PortableApps.com Format will not have their data backed up when you select to only backup app data using the platform's backup feature. It will be backed up during a full backup, though.

Removing Apps from the PortableApps.com Menu

To uninstall a portable app, just right-click and select Uninstall. The Platform will ask if you're sure, then it will take a few moments to delete all the files.

You can also just delete the app itself in Explorer. From the PortableApps.com Menu, just click the Explore button and browse to the PortableApps directory. There you will see a list of the directories containing the installed apps. To uninstall Mines-Perfect Portable, for instance, you'd just delete the Mines-PerfectPortable directory from your device. You can then click Options - Refresh App Icons within PortableApps.com Menu and the it will detect that you uninstalled the app.

Renaming Icons in the PortableApps.com Menu

To rename an app icon, just right-click on it. A rename window will appear and you can enter the name you'd like and click OK. The originally name is shown above for your reference. If you'd like to reset the icon to the original name, just clear the text from the rename box. Any changes you make are instantly shown on the PortableApps.com Menu.

Hiding Icons in the PortableApps.com Menu

To hide an app icon, right-click on it and select hide. To unhide an icon you have hidden, right-click on any icon and check off show hidden icons. The menu will refresh and show all icons, including the ones you have hidden. The ones you have hidden will have a line through them. Right-click and uncheck Hide. Then right-click and uncheck Show Hidden Icons.

Running an App As Admin

You can run a portable app as another user by right-clicking and selecting Run As Admin.

Adding or Removing a Personal Picture on the PortableApps.com Menu

Starting with the PortableApps.com Menu 1.1 release, you can add a personal picture to the menu. To do this, just move your mouse over the upper-right region of the menu. A highlight box will appear. Click it and select the picture you wish to add. 48x48 pixel images work best. To remove your personal picture, just right-click on it. You can use BMP, JPG or PNG files. Transparent PNGs are supported and when you choose a PNG, the outline is removed.

Using The Built-In Wallpaper Swapper

The PortableApps.com Platform has an easy-to-use wallpaper swapper built in. It will change the wallpaper on the PC to your own while it's running and change it back when you exit. To use it, just save the wallpaper of your choice as a Windows BMP file (RGB encoding for the geeky) to your X:\Documents\Pictures directory and name the file portableapps_wallpaper.bmp. The next time you start up the PortableApps.com Platform, it will find it and use it. You can also add a portableapps_wallpaper_wide.bmp file which will be automatically be used on widescreen displays.

Moving the PortableApps.com Menu and Changing Its Startup Location

To move the PortableApps.com Menu, just move your mouse to the PortableApps.com logo at the top. You'll see the mouse pointer change to a four way directional arrow. Hold down your mouse button and move the menu wherever you'd like. When you close the PortableApps.com Platform, the menu will remember it's relative position on the screen (top, middle or bottom as well as left, center or right) and start up at that same location even if you move to another PC.

Rename Your PortableApps.com-Enabled Drive

To rename your PortableApps.com-enabled drive, just click on the drive name in the lower left corner of the menu. Type in the name you'd like and click the ">" button or hit enter on your keyboard. You may need to eject and reinsert your drive for the new name to show up in Windows Explorer.

Using Portable Fonts With the Platform

The PortableApps.com Platform supports the ability to take standard font files (TTF, OTF, etc) with you and use them on any computer without the need to install them into Windows. Just copy the font files you'd like available to the X:\PortableApps\PortableApps.com\Data\Fonts directory in a standard platform setup. You may need to create the Fonts folder. Everything else is automatic and the fonts will be available to you in your apps while the platform is running. It should be noted that some apps use non-standard ways of determining what fonts are available and won't be able to see them (GIMP and Scribus, for example), though in some of these apps you may be able to manually add that path.

Backing Up Your Settings (Bookmarks, Email, Preferences, etc)

The PortableApps.com Platform comes with PortableApps.com Backup, an easy-to-use backup utility. Just click the backup icon on the PortableApps.com Menu and select backup. You'll get to pick what you want to back up and where you'd like to store your backups.

Note: PortableApps.com Backup's app data backup feature only works with apps in PortableApps.com Format (since their data is in a standard location). For other apps, you should be sure to backup your entire drive.

Select Eject or Shutdown for the left bottom button

As of version 12.0.4, you can right-click on the left bottom button of the menu and select between Automatic, Eject, and Shut down / Log off. Automatic, the default, will automatically choose between Eject and Shut Down / Logoff based on whether the platform is being run from a removable drive (as reported by Windows). The Eject and Shut Down / Logoff options will always show the Eject or Shut down / Logoff buttons regardless of where the platform is run.

Disable the Windows 7 Taskbar Icon

To disable the Windows 7 taskbar icon, close the PortableApps.com Platform. Browse to X:\PortableApps\PortableApps.com\Data and open the file PortableAppsMenu.ini in your favorite text editor (Notepad is fine). In the section [DisplayOptions] add the following line:

Windows7TaskbarIcon=false

Then save and restart the PortableApps.com Platform.

Note that this may not work on Windows 8.1 but seems to work once Windows 8.1 Update 1 is applied.

Change the Language of the PortableApps.com Platform

To have the PortableApps.com Platform appear in your own language, just click Options and then Language in the menu and select the language of your choice. The menu will instantly change to your selected language. Plus, most apps in PortableApps.com Format will automatically detect the language you are using in the menu and switch to it on launch.

Uninstalling the PortableApps.com Platform

Since the PortableApps.com Platform is self-contained, uninstalling is a snap. To remove, you simply delete its files. This would be the Documents and PortableApps directories as well as the Start.exe and autorun.inf files in the root directory. If you don't have any data you wish to save on your portable device, you could also format it if you'd like. If you do have data within the Documents directory you'd like to save, simply delete the directories you don't wish to keep. To remove the custom icons on the Documents directory (or any others), just delete the hidden desktop.ini file within each directory.

Running the Platform from a UNC Path

As of version 12.0, the PortableApps.com Platform supports running from a UNC path directly. Previously, a mapped drive letter was required. Most apps should function from a UNC path as well.

Unfortunately, there is a bug in the PortableApps.com Installer (the packaging format used by all our apps) prior to 3.0.12 that causes them to be unable to install due to not enough free space on UNC paths when run in automatic mode. Automatic mode occurs when the platform runs the installers directly either through the platform's built in app store, updater or via the Apps - Install a New App option.

The workaround for now is to map a drive letter to your UNC path that contains the PortableApps.com Platform. You can also run the .paf.exe installers directly and select the \\Server\ShareName\Path\PortableApps directory to install to by browsing so the final path is \\Server\ShareName\Path\PortableApps\AppNamePortable. We will also be continuing to update our installers to the new format for full compatibility with UNC paths.

You may receive a message when trying to run EXE files from your UNC path similar to: 'Security Warning - We can't verify who created this file. Are you sure you want to run this file?'. This is because Windows hasn't determined that the UNC path is on your local Intranet. To fix this error:

  1. Open your Network and Sharing Center by clicking Start - Control Panel - Network and Sharing Center
  2. Within the Network and Sharing Center, click on Internet Options in the lower left
  3. In the Internet Properties window, select the Security tab
  4. In the Security tab, click Local intranet and then click Sites
  5. In the Local intranet window, click the Advanced button
  6. In the new window, enter the \\server\share within the 'Add this webdite to the zone:' box and click Add. It will appear under the Websites list as 'file://server' or similar.
  7. Click close, OK, OK on the various windows and then close the Internet and Sharing Center.
  8. You should now be able to run EXE files from this server without Windows prompting you with security warnings.

Advanced Features

These advanced features require you to edit the PortableAppsMenu.ini file within your X:\PortableApps\PortableApps.com\Data directory. You need to edit it with the Platform closed and be sure to add the entry (or edit the existing entry if it is already there) to the [DisplayOptions] section unless otherwise noted.

  • Remain Visible - If you add a line reading RemainVisible=True to your PortableAppsMenu.ini, it will remain visible even when you click off of it or launch an app. You can hide and show it by clicking on the PortableApps.com icon in your system tray.
  • Start Minimized - If you add a line reading StartMinimized=True to your PortableAppsMenu.ini, it will start in the system tray without displaying.
  • Fade Menu - If you change the line FadeMenu=False to true in your PortableAppsMenu.ini, the menu will fade in and out.
  • Global Hot Key (11.1 and up) - By default, the platform uses a global hot key of Ctrl-Alt-Space to show the menu from other apps. You can select an additional option or disable it by changing the line GlobalHotKey=CTRL-ALT-SPACE to another value. Valid entries are CTRL-ALT-SPACE, CTRL-ALT-P, CTRL-ALT-M, CTRL-SPACE, WIN-ALT-SPACE and DISABLED. Note that WIN-ALT-SPACE will not work on many versions of Windows.
  • Autorun Modification Detection (11.1 and up) - You can disable the platform's built-in autorun modification detection by changing the line AutoRun=true to AutoRun=false in the [Protection] section. Note that some antivirus products may show an alert when an autorun.inf is read.
  • Realtime Autorun Modification Detection (11.2 and up) - You can enable the platform's realtime autorun modification detection by changing line AutoRunRealtime=false to AutoRunRealtime=true in the [Protection] section. This setting is only used when AutoRun=true. Note that some network drivers and flash drives with proprietary features may experience an "I/O Error 32" or similar with this feature enabled.
  • Show Updater Startup Errors (11.2 and up) - When troubleshooting issues with checking for apps on startup, it can be helpful to have the updater show any connection errors it encounters. To do this, set ShowStartupModeErrors=true within the [Updater] section of your PortableAppsMenu.ini.
  • Hide Search When Not In Use - For users that prefer not to see the search box when it's not in use, within the [Search] section of PortableAppsMenu.ini, set HideSearchWhenNotInUse=True
  • Portable TEMP Directory - If you create a directory called TempForPortableApps in the same directory as Start.exe ('next to' the PortableApps and Documents directories), the platform will use that as the TEMP directory for all apps it launches. Note that any local apps launched from the platform or its apps will also use this as TEMP, so use with caution!
  • Always Show Eject - As of 12.0.4, just right-click on the Eject/Power button to switch between Automatic, Always Eject, or Always Power
  • Show App Paths or Publishers in Tooltips - For users who prefer to see the app publishers and paths to apps in tooltips, set ShowAppPublishersInToolTips and/or ShowAppPathsInToolTips to True

Transparent Menu, Disable App Language Switching, and Hide Desktop Icons are now present in the menu's interface. Show Single App Icon is deprecated as it is no longer necessary due to the Menu's ability to hide icons.