Portable apps are very popular among users who want to use applications on different devices or those who want their apps to take up minimal space for a tidy PC.
PortableApps.com is a top-rated platform for finding and downloading various portable apps for free.
However, many people think the platform could install viruses on their computers.
Read on to find out if it’s safe and how to make sure it doesn’t damage your PC.
Is PortableApps.Com Safe?
Portable apps can be entirely safe for use if you download them from the right source.
The first place you should look for the portable version of an app is its official website.
The developers may have created a portable version ready for download.
This way, you won’t have to worry about damaged files or malware.
The second place to look for the portable app is trusted sources, like PortableApps.com.
According to PortableApps.com, the site scans all their base apps, publisher-maintained apps, and online installers using various antivirus engines before putting them up for download.
They also have a built-in self-check for the apps.
Even if an app gets infected with viruses after packaging, the installer won’t work, and you’ll get an error.
If you download a portable app from a trusted source, run an antivirus on your PC, and get a positive, it’s likely a false positive triggered due to the compression algorithm.
Test the file in another antivirus to ensure it’s safe.
What Is the PortableApps Platform?
PortableApps.com is a popular platform for users who prefer portable apps over installable ones.
It boasts a catalog of hundreds of useful portable apps that you can download with just a click.
PortableApps employs a smart installer that will let you pick the location for installing the self-contained app.
It lets you save the program to your cloud drive, including Dropbox and Google Drive, your local PC, or a portable device.
You can use the environment personally or put it up for shared use.
This way, everything stays in one location, and you can turn any computer to your personal device, wherever you are.
You’ll be able to carry your data around with you and back them up quickly.
How Are Regular Apps Installed?
To understand how portable apps work, you first need to know how regular apps get installed on your system.
In the past, executable application files and the user data were saved in the same folder.
Then, blocking user access to the install location became common, and developers started to store user data on a separate user’s profile.
The application files that apply to all users are often created in C:\Program Files.
The user data and unique settings for different user accounts can go in various destinations, depending on user settings and how the application is programmed.
They could be under “AppData,” “ProgramData,” “LocalAppData,” “Documents,” or even the “Saved Games” folder.
The creators can even make it so that the data is saved online.
Installed programs are more useful and functional for multi-user systems.
The program gets installed once, and each user receives their personal settings once they log into their Windows account.
There’s no unnecessary duplication.
What Are Portable Apps and How Are They Installed?
The portable format doesn’t need to be installed on the host computer to function.
A portable application, also known as a “standalone,” reads and writes the application files, configuration settings, and other user preferences and data in a single directory.
This way, you can keep your apps organized and run your personal apps on your work computer or the other way around.
This ability is especially important if your company restricts app installers.
However, note that portable apps tend to have fewer features and might not offer all the capabilities of an installed app.
You can choose any accessible folder or data storage device as the destination for your app.
It could be the internal mass storage, cloud storage, a file share, or any external storage type, including a USB drive, floppy disks, CD-ROM, or DVD-ROM.
If you keep the app on an external drive, you can connect it to any other PC and run the program without any problems.
The only requirement is that the application is compatible with the destination computer’s operating system and hardware.
How to Download Portable Applications from PortableApps.com?
1. Download the PortableApps platform from the PortableApps.com website.
2. Click on the “PortableApps.com_Platform_Setup_2.0_Pre-Release_1.1.exe” file to start the installation.
3. To pick the destination you want to install PortableApps on, click on Browse and then scroll your way to the folder. (
If you want to have it on an external drive, you will need to plug that in first.)
4. Click Install, and then click on the Finish button once done.
5. Launch the app, and in the menu, select Manage Apps > Get More Apps.
6. Go through the list of apps, select the ones you’d like to install, and then click Next.
7. The apps will appear in the PortableApps menu once the installation is over.
If you’ve installed them on a flash drive, the menu will pop open the next time you plug it in.
You can also click on the Start.exe for it to open.
What Kind of Portable Applications Are Available?
If you’re new to this field, you’d be surprised to know just how many apps and programs have a portable version.
The horizon goes beyond the simple system utilities.
You can find applications for all your everyday and professional needs.
There are apps for communication, office work, productivity, accounting, graphic design, web design, audio production, app development, music players, games, file management, and many more.
They’re often free of charge!
For instance, you can have Firefox or Chrome on a USB drive with all your bookmarks and extensions, or you can carry around your music player with your favorite music collection.
You can have your favorite game with your personal saved games on the run to play on any device.
Different suites have different portable applications up for install.
Most online suites include all their available applications in the main download, meaning you can only download them all together or none at all.
However, PortableApps.com gives you the advantage of choosing exactly which one of the apps you wish to install on your device.
It also carries a wide variety of applications, including the following categories:
- Graphics and Pictures
- Music and Video
- Plus, as discussed before, the apps are all tested and safe to download.
Portable Apps Downsides and Benefits
The pros of portable apps eclipse their cons, but you should weigh them out and decide on your own, depending on your situation.
- Portable application’s most obvious benefit is that they’re portable! You can store them in any location you want, like a USB drive, and move them from one computer to another. They won’t leave any trace on the devices you run them on, and everything will be stored in the source folder. This feature can be very beneficial for students or employees who have to use school or office computers with limited privileges. You can take your favorite apps and their saved information with you and not use the mandatory apps on those computers.
- Portable apps can benefit you in other ways, even if you don’t want to use them on multiple computers. They take up much less space than the installed versions, and they leave a small footprint on your device. Some apps even sync with cloud servers to give you a more seamless experience.
- Backing up these applications is very easy; simply copy the source folder and paste it into a secure location.
- If you need to reinstall your Windows in the future, you can easily save your portable apps and avoid having to download everything from scratch.
- If you don’t like the app or don’t have any use for it in the future, deleting it is a piece of cake. You won’t need to uninstall it and wonder if it has left some files or data behind somewhere in your device. Just delete its folder, and it will be gone.
- The User Account Controls (UAC) don’t work with the portable apps as smoothly as installed apps.
- Portable apps don’t work well for multi-user platforms. If multiple users need to use the application, say in an office, they’ll have to install the same app on each of their accounts, which will take up a lot of space. Of course, every person can have their portable apps on a USB drive, but that may not be efficient in some cases.
- If you carry around portable applications on an external drive, you need to be more careful when ejecting the USB. If you just pull it out, you may end up damaging the files or losing your data. Click “Safely remove drive” near the clock before unplugging it.
- You’ll have to be extra careful with installing portable applications to avoid downloading the old or wrong applications by accident. Be aware of the sources offering apps that aren’t truly portable, meaning they don’t have an installer, but they’ll create files outside the main folder.
- Once the developers release a new updated version of the app, you’ll have to wait a while for sources like PortableApps.com to provide the updated portable version.
When Is It Better to Use Installation Versions of the Apps?
Firstly, never force yourself to run portable versions of applications.
Sometimes, you won’t be able to find the portable version of an app up for safe download from a trusted source like PortableApps.com.
In those cases, it’s better to go with the installable version, or else you might end up damaging your files or introducing malware to your system.
Secondly, some portable apps may need you to install other software to function, causing issues in your system.
These include .NET frameworks, Java, some scripting languages, and so on.
It’ll be so much easier just to install these apps.
How to Be Extra-Safe with Portable Apps
Other than the viruses, be careful with the hitchhikers that may get into your device through a USB.
If you use your portable apps on public computers through an external drive, you could be transferring viruses to your apps and PC.
Follow these simple rules to avoid any possible issues:
- Install a powerful antivirus on your primary personal device, and keep it updated.
- Install a portable solid antivirus on the external drive carrying your portable apps and keep it up to date.
- When you plug your USB into an unknown computer, it could be infected. Then, once you plug it into your computer, the virus will clone itself on your device. First, scan the USB for any viruses before running any of the apps.
- If you’re worried about people gaining access to your information through public computers, use a VPN or Virtual Private Network, so all your web traffic runs inside a secure channel.
- Preventing someone from stealing your information if you’ve accidentally lost the external drive or USB is also essential. Install a portable encryption app on the USB to make the data inaccessible to everyone but yourself.
- Back up your portable apps regularly. PortableApps.com platform has a built-in backup option, making it easy for you.
- Lastly, as mentioned before, remove the USB safely to avoid damaging the files and losing the unsaved information. Wait for the device’s light to stop blinking, and then eject it before pulling it out.
How to Update PortableApps?
PortableApps has a built-in app store that lets you find and install, listing them by title, category, newest releases, or recently updated.
PortableApps usually updates the applications automatically, but if you haven’t used them in a long time, you should know how to update them manually.
Open the PortableApps platform through the Start icon.
It could be on a flash drive, Dropbox folder, or any other place you’ve installed it.
Then click on Manage Apps and Check for Updates.
It’ll represent the apps available for update in a new window.
Find and check the apps you want to update, and then click Next.
Once the process is complete, you’ll receive the update confirmation message.
How to Create Portable Software
If you weren’t successful in finding the portable version of an app, you could make the software portable yourself.
It’s not easy, but it’s not impossible.
There are portable app makers that automate most of the steps involved.
They usually scan your system before they start their work.
Then, they convert the installed files, registries, and DLLs into one executable (.exe) file.
Then they’ll scan the system again and analyze the changes.
Here is a list of portable app creators you can use: