I've often wondered why the PortableApps.com platform takes a long time to load.
I finally had some time to take a look at the issue.
I used NirSoft's FileActivityWatch utility (freeware from Nir Sofer on nirsoft.net) to examine what is happening.
According to that utility, I noticed a few things:
1. The file '..\PortableApps.com\Data\PortableAppsMenu.ini' is under 20KB, but according to FileActivityWatch, over 21,000,000 bytes of read operations are performed on that file when the PortableApps.com platform is launched.
2. The file '..\PortableApps.com\App\Locale\English.locale' seems to have an unusually large amount of read requests given how small the file is.
3. The file '..\PortableApps.com\WhatsNew.txt' is read every time the platform is run, even though the contents are rarely displayed; it could instead be loaded on-demand.
4. Every UI element for the platform is stored as a separate file instead of as a single image containing multiple sprites.
5. The '.ini' file and '.ico' file for every installed PortableApps application is accessed when the platform is started. I don't know if they both need to be accessed.
I noticed some other possible issues as well, but I think starting with the above observations may lead to some impressive performance improvements.