I don't think this was posted before (brief search), but I want to know how PortableApps work before I get started, and not just the really general stuff. First, I saw some other guide online, and it says that a portable launcher runs the program, and then copies all it's user data back to the PortableApps directory. I don't know if this is true, or if PortableApps virtualizes everything like ThinApp.
If the former is true, doesn't that mean that theoretically all PortableApps would require administrator rights, since Nullsoft requires administrator rights to write to the registry and to program files etc? Wouldn't that also mean that if closed incorrectly by shutting down there will be traces left on the computer? I think the question about the admin rights is the most important because that's one of the primary reasons people use portable applications is in environments without the sufficient rights. Does portableapps copy the data WHILE it's running or after it closes?
Also, how do programs run like that. If you try to run Firefox straight from some flash drive without a launcher or other dependencies then it won't run. How does the PortableApps launcher trick Firefox into thinking that it's in the Program Files and that it's registry keys are next to it without virtualizing?