General Support Guidelines for Most Portable Apps
Many of the most common issues that arise when using portable apps are addressed here. Please read through the various topics to see if any of them address your question. If none of them do, and you can't find the information in a search of this website or the web, you can also post a question in the support forums.
Please note that these instructions only apply to applications packaged in PortableApps.com Format and published by PortableApps.com. In all examples, AppName Portable refers to the name of the application you downloaded and x.x refers to its version number.
Portable App Issues
- Downloading a Portable App
- Installing a Portable App
- Using a Portable App
- Upgrading a Portable App
- Disabling a Portable App's Splash Screen
- Uninstalling a Portable App
- Online Installers
- An app says it 'did not close properly' when started
PortableApps.com Platform - The easiest way to download new portable apps is to use the PortableApps.com Platform's built-in App Store. Just click Apps from the PortableApps.com Menu and select Get More Apps. From there, you can view apps by Category, Alphabetically, Recently Updated or New Releases
Standalone - To download apps directly from PortableApps.com without our platform, just click the Download button from the application's page. You'll see a SourceForge download page that automatically selects a download server close to you and redirects you to the download. (If you're using Internet Explorer, you may need to click the direct download link on this page. It appears as "If you are experiencing problems with the download please use this direct link" on the SourceForge page.) When you download the file, save it to a location you can easily find later like your Desktop or Downloads folder.
The easiest way to install an app is to use the PortableApps.com Platform's built-in app store as described above in Downloading a Portable App, as downloading and installing are done automatically in one operation. You can also install apps without the app store and even without our platform...
PortableApps.com Platform Manual Installation - To install a portable app to the PortableApps.com Platform, just click Apps and then Install a New App. In the window that comes up, click the Install button. Then, browse to the AppNamePortable_x.x.paf.exe file you downloaded and select it. Now, follow the on-screen prompts if there are any. The Platform takes care of letting the installer know where to install to.
Standalone Installation - To install a portable app by itself, or manually, just browse to the location of the AppNamePortable_x.x.paf.exe file you downloaded. Double-click the file to start the installation. Follow the on-screen prompts and select the location you'd like to install to. If the installer detects an existing PortableApps directory on one of your attached drives or within your USERPROFILE folder, it will automatically select that. Otherwise, the current directory will be selected by default. Within the directory you select, an AppNamePortable directory will be created containing the portable app. Note that installing to the C:\Program Files or equivalent is not supported.
If you're using the PortableApps.com Platform, to start your portable app, just click its icon within the menu.
If you're running it standalone, browse to the directory you installed the AppNamePortable directory you installed to and then double-click the AppNamePortable.exe file. Then, just use the app as you'd use the regular version.
While using portable software, there are a couple of things to keep in mind:
- Stay Safe - When using portable apps, it's always a good idea to practice Safe Portable App-ing.
- Close Apps Before Ejecting/Shutting Down - When you're done, close all your portable apps and the PortableApps.com Platform. The platform can automatically close all your running portable apps for you and eject your drive or prompt to shut down your computer. If using an external drive without the PortableApps.com Platform, select the 'Safely remove [device]' option from the icon in the system tray. If you remove the drive while it is in use, you could corrupt your apps and lose your data. If you shutdown Windows while a portable app is still running, it may not get to save its settings and remove any local data before closing.
PortableApps.com Platform Updater (Recommended) - To upgrade your apps using the platform's built-in updater, just select Help and then Check for Updates. The platform will inform you what apps are out of date and offer to automatically download and install the updated versions.
PortableApps.com Platform Manual - To upgrade a portable app from the PortableApps.com Platform manually, first, make sure the app isn't open. Then, click Apps and then Install a New App. In the window that comes up, click the Install button. Then, browse to the AppNamePortable_x.x.paf.exe file you downloaded and select it. Now, follow the on-screen prompts if there are any. The Platform takes care of letting the installer know where to install to. All of your current settings and data will be preserved.
Standalone - To upgrade a portable app manually without the PortableApps.com Platform, just browse to the location of the AppNamePortable_x.x.paf.exe file you downloaded. Double-click the file to start the installation. Follow the on-screen prompts and select the location you'd like to install to. For upgrades, you should select the parent directory of the AppNamePortable directory in which the app is currently installed. For example, if the app is within X:\PortableApps\AppNamePortable, you'd want to select the X:\PortableApps directory in the Browse Folder window. After clicking OK, it should show X:\PortableApps\AppNamePortable. All of your current settings and data will be preserved.
Many apps packaged in PortableApps.com Format include splash screens so the user sees quick feedback an app is starting on slower flash media and doesn't accidentally try to start it again. The splash screens also serve to let users know that they're using a repackaged version of an app and to visit us first for portable support issues. If you'd prefer not to see the splash screen, disabling it is a snap.
PortableApps.com Platform - Click Options and select the Advanced tab. There, you'll see a checkbox to disable splash screens across all our apps. Note that this will only affect splash screens shown by the PortableApps.com Launcher and not splash screens displayed by the apps themselves (GIMP, LibreOffice, etc).
Standalone - Within the AppNamePortable\Other\Source directory (where AppName is the name of the app you're working with), you'll find an AppNamePortable.ini file that includes some example options. Copy this file to the AppNamePortable directory and rename it, if necessary, to the name of the app (FirefoxPortable.ini or similar). Open the file within your preferred text editor, something like Notepad++ Portable. Within, you'll find an entry DisableSplashScreen=false which just needs to be set to true. Save the file and the app will launch without the splash screen. This setting will be remembered as you upgrade the app, too.
Some apps include their own splash screen within the apps themselves (GIMP, LibreOffice, Scribus, etc). For these splash screens, there is sometimes an option within the Options of the app to disable it, a specific text file to modify, or a command line option to pass (which the PA.c Launcher can usually pass via the AdditionalParameters= setting in the INI file mentioned in the "Standalone" section above. You'll need to check the app's documentation from the publisher to be sure.
Unlike traditional apps, a portable app isn't 'installed' with an entry in Add/Remove programs, so uninstallation is quick and easy.
PortableApps.com Platform - Just right-click on the app select Uninstall.
Standalone - Delete the AppNamePortable folder to completely remove the app and all its settings.
An online installer is an installer that downloads some or all of of the portable app at install time. It will be indicated by an Online Installer link under the download button and the PortableApps.com Installer's filename will end in _online.paf.exe. This is often done for licensing reasons when a closed source app's license doesn't permit repackaging as would need to be done in a portable package. This allows PortableApps.com to make apps available that normally wouldn't be possible legally.
You may see an error stating that "AppName Portable did not close properly last time it was run and will now clean up. Please then start AppName Portable again manually." When you see this, it means that the portable app's launcher did not close and clean up properly the last time the app was used. This can be caused by a system crash, an unsafe drive eject, or shutting Windows down without first closing an app. When this occurs, the portable launcher may not have been able to remove app data from the local disk, restore local app data back to the proper location, move portable app data to the proper directory for backups and upgrades, or similar.
The easiest way to prevent this, is to use the PortableApps.com Platform's "Close Apps on Platform Exit" feature. This will automatically close your portable apps safely without causing data loss or leaving any data behind on the local machine. It includes specialized logic to close apps that don't properly respond to Windows shutdown app close messages as well. Apps in PortableApps.com Format as well as those that are natively portable will be detected and asked to close. The platform will even warn you about any running apps that did not respond to the request to close (LibreOffice having a document open with unsaved changes, for instance).
Ideally, we would like the error message to be dismissable and not require another launch of the AppNamePortable.exe launcher. Unfortunately, this is not possible at present due to the way the PortableApps.com Launcher is written. Adding this feature will take a major rewrite of sections of the PortableApps.com Launcher and our volunteer developers do not have time at present. We hope to add this in a future release.
Additionally, we would like to adjust the PortableApps.com Launcher to detect and respond to Windows shutdown messages directly. This will likely require a rewrite of the launcher in a different programming language, so it will take quite a bit of time and effort to achieve.