What is a portable app?

portable - carried or moved with ease
app - a computer program like a web browser or word processor

Portable App Definition (permalink)

A portable app is a computer program that doesn't need to be installed into Windows like traditional apps so you can carry it with you on a portable device or synced cloud folder and use on any Windows computer. When your USB flash drive, portable hard drive, or other portable device is plugged in or your cloud drive is synced, you have access to your software and personal data just as you would on your own PC. And when you unplug the device, none of your personal data is left behind.

No Special Hardware - Use any USB flash drive, portable hard drive, etc

No Additional Software - Just download, run the portable installer/extractor and go

No Kidding - It's that easy

Portable App Guidelines (permalink)

  • A portable app works from any device (USB flash drive, portable SSD, cloud folder, memory card, etc)
  • A portable app works as you move computers and your drive letter changes
  • A portable app is self-contained in a single directory with sub-directories and files within
  • A portable app's features continue working as you move computers
  • A portable app doesn't leave files or folders behind except those automatically generated by Windows
  • A portable app doesn't leave registry entries behind except those automatically generated by Windows
  • A portable app is optimized for use on removable drives and within synced cloud folders
  • A portable app doesn't require additional software on the PC
  • A portable app doesn't interfere with software installed on the PC

Consider the Possibilities... (permalink)

  • Your favorite web browser with all your bookmarks close at hand
  • Your presentation AND the required software ready to go for that big meeting
  • Your important passwords and account information securely encrypted and always with you
  • Your antivirus program and other utilities ready to fix PC problems
  • Your calendar with all your appointments
  • Your own email client with all your contacts and settings
  • Your instant messenger and your buddy list
  • Your whole office suite along with all your documents

Why PortableApps.com Format and a PortableApps.com Installer? (permalink)

  • Simple Portable Installer Wizard - The installer uses an easy-to-use, familiar wizard to handle the actual extraction of files, guiding the user through the process. But unlike a standard software installer, it doesn't overwhelm the user with choices, nor does it install to or make changes to the local PC.
  • Faster Downloads - PortableApps.com Installers use advanced compression techniques resulting in a 20-30% savings or more in file size over standard zip files; which makes for faster downloads, and lower bandwidth costs for users with paid data plans.
  • Better Upgrading - The PA.c Installer automatically handles upgrading application files while leaving the user's data intact. It can even move files around and update configuration settings when necessary. Many users can run into issues with upgrades of apps packaged in zip files, especially complicated apps that require manually removing certain files. With PortableApps.com Installers, upgrades are much easier.
  • Easier Backups - All PortableApps.com apps have their data in the same location, AppNamePortable\Data. This lets tools like our integrated backup utility provide users with easy access to backup just their personal information quickly without needing to backup all their applications each time. As a result, users are more likely to backup more often.
  • Easy Platform Install, Upgrade and Integration - The installer automatically detects an existing PortableApps.com Platform installation on any drive connected to the PC and installs to it, which makes life much easier on less-experienced users. Even better, apps in our format in our app store are just a click away for users to install and automatically update, meaning your software is seen by millions more users.
  • Tamper Prevention and Digital Signatures - All of our installers and launchers have built-in technology to detect if they have been altered or tampered with in any way and will warn you if they have been. Additionally, most installers and launchers are digitally signed using a secure code-signing certificate to ensure integrity.
  • Licensing - Many apps require EULAs to be shown during installation. The PA.c Installer handles this automatically. This is especially true of many freeware and commercial releases. Some applications simply can't be legally redistributed in ZIP files.
  • Self Contained - The installer doesn't require any outside files or utilities like unzip software. Different PCs may have different unzip utilities installed. Some PCs may not even have zip folders properly configured. With the PA.c Installer, no additional software is required and the experience is consistent for the user.
  • Fully Portable - Unlike most zipped 'portable' software, all PA.c releases handle things like drive letter changes with ease ensuring that the entire app, not just parts of it, continue to work as you move PCs. Without the included PA.c launcher in each app, many semi-portable apps would have things like most recently opened files and settings break as you move PCs.
  • "No Code" Portablization - The PortableApps.com Launcher and Installer require no coding or manual compilation to use. You just need to follow the prescribed PA.c Format specification and fill out some simple text files and most software can be portablized without requiring any coding changes to the base application.
  • Open, Standardized Format - PortableApps.com Format is the most widely used format for portable software. It's open source, under an open license and open to all!
  • An Audience of Millions - Packaging your software in PortableApps.com Format means it is eligible for inclusion in the Portable App Directory here on our website and within the PortableApps.com Platform's App Store, which are used by millions of people every month!