If you often need to access computers that belong to other people or other offices, you may have a hard time working the way you need to — you may not have access to the programs you usually have. Google tries to make working on multiple computers simpler by automatically bringing your browsing history and bookmarks to any installation of Chrome when you sign in. You also have Google Docs. For other programs, though, you’re usually on your own.
Carrying the software you need with you as you move from one computer to another may seem like an option. The problem with this approach is that you wouldn’t usually be able to install your programs on someone else’s computer. It would also take time. The right approach to this problem, then, is to carry the software you need, in portable form.
What is a portable program?
Programs don’t necessarily need to be installed on a computer’s hard drive before they are run. Installing is usually only desirable for the convenience that it offers. With most programs, you could easily store the executable file and other supporting software in the form of a single self-contained file on a portable hard drive, flash drive or anything else, and run them directly off these storage devices. The registries of the computers that these programs are run on are not altered.
Many websites on the Internet offer useful inventories of programs for common needs — LibreOffice Portable is a Microsoft office replacement; Notepad++ works in place of Notepad; Inkscape replaces Adobe Illustrator and GIMP replaces Photoshop.
What if you want the real thing and not a replacement?
While freeware replacements for popular programs get a few things done well, they cannot offer the depth and functionality of the big-name programs. If you wish to carry those programs around, you’ll need to make them portable yourself, using up portable application creator.
How a portable application creator works
If you’re interested in making your own portable applications, many free options exist, Enigma Virtual Box, Evalaze and Cameyo being among the most popular. When you direct one of these freeware programs at any Windows software, they gather all the necessary files together and create a single executable application. You get to launch the program and use it on any Windows computer as if it were installed on that computer.
It’s as simple as that
Before you create a portable version of a program, you need to make sure that the computer you create it on doesn’t have a regular version of the program already installed. It can cause software conflicts to have the program installed on it.
You also need to remember that portable application creator s don’t usually create fully portable applications with their default settings. Often, the settings they come with allow the portable applications that they create to leave a few traces behind on any computer that they are used on. You need to select the right options to make sure that no registry changes or other traces are left behind.
Once you have these simple settings applied, you’ll be on your way to carrying an entire computer’s worth of software around with you on a flash drive.