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Hello there! This thread contains links to a variety of free software that can run directly from your USB drive...installation to the PC is *not* required! It will be updated regularly as new portable apps are discovered by fellow FW members. So scroll down to the Quick Summary, download, and enjoy!

I listed most of what was recommended by this PC Mag article, added my own favorites, but would like your input also. Please list freeware apps that can run directly from the USB drive only! Update the Quick Summary with your suggestions and bump the thread letting us know your additions. Just keep it organized, list it under the correct category, and follow the format:

Name & Link to app's product page (description, file/folder size when installed on USB flash drive).

Member Summary
Most Recent Posts
Sorry to bring this back from the dead.

Can we do the same with Win7? I notice Win7 load up much faster than WinXP.

WorkerAnt (Dec. 08, 2010 @ 12:18p) |

TakeTheActive (Dec. 09, 2010 @ 1:26p) |

Same answer - yes. Here's a link with instructions: Boot win 7 from USB

minidrag (Dec. 10, 2010 @ 7:31a) |

Multiple Apps

Portable Apps Suite
- Browser, email, web editor, office suite, calendar, IM, FTP, etc in a 260MB download!
- 105MB Lite version also available for 128MB drives

WinInizio PenSuite 2.1

The PenSuite offers many software categories %u20AC%u201D for instance, security, networking, multimedia %u20AC%u201D enough that you could use a it on a PC that has just the operating system installed.


Environments

MojoPac, Virtual XP (128MB-2GB) ***NEW***
Mac-on-a-Stick (32MB)
Portable, Stripped Version of Windows XP (Faster) (256MB)
Portable, FULL Version of Windows XP (Slower) (2GB)
Pocket PC Emulator (Pocket PC Emulator, 32MB)
Portable Virtual Privacy Machine (D/mn Small Linux Enviro, 125MB)

Internet

AIM (AIM 5.9 - Install to PC first, than copy 'crogram filesaim' folder to USB key, and run AIM from your USB Key!)
FileZilla (Portable (S)FTP client, 2.6MB)
Browzar Portable Stealth Browser (246k)
Ghostzilla (Invisible/Stealth Mozilla v1.0.1 Browser, 25.7MB)
iFTP ((S)FTP client, 858 KB)
MiniAIM(AIM client, 92 KB!!!)
Miranda IM (AIM/ICQ/MSN/Yahoo chat client, 1.4MB!!!)
nPOP (POP email client <200K?!)
OffByOne (Internet browser, 1.94MB--When you hate IE & can't fit Firefox)
Opera@USB (Internet browser/Email client, 5.2MB)
Portable Firefox (Internet browser, 7.55MB)
Portable Firefox-Mac & PC Cross-Platform (Cross-platform browser, which keeps profiles in sync)
Portable Pidgin (IM client for AIM, Google Talk, MSN, ICQ, Yahoo, and others)
Portable Thunderbird (Email client, 9MB)
Portable Sunbird (Calendar & scheduler, 7.43MB)
Portable NVU (Website editor, 10.2MB)
PuTTY (SSH/telnet, 412K for just PuTTY...more if you want scp, sftp, and/or key generation)
Qm (Email sender, 47Kb!)
Skype (See Pg 6 of this thread! 18MB)
Trillian Anywhere (AIM/ICQ/MSN/Yahoo chat client, 30MB)
uTorrent (Bittorrent client, 105Kb!)
WinSCP (SSH/SFTP, smaller than Filezilla???)

Launchers
See this article to set them to autorun, but YMMV. See the 'Other Tips & Tricks' section to create a batch file instead!

ASuite
Floater (Scroll down to Floater to download, Quick launch tool bar, only 40Kb!)
PStart (Start menu for all your portable apps. Very nice U3 alternative! 586Kb)

Multimedia

Audacity (Audio editor, 7.25MB)
CDex (CD ripper, 3MB)
Exact Audio Copy (BEST CD ripper, 4.67MB)
FastStone Image Viewer (Photo Editor, Viewer, and Converter, 3.42MB)
Foobar2000 (Advanced audio player, Read me to make it portable)
GIMP (Portable install instructions for image editor, 24MB)
IrfanView (Graphics viewer & editor, 1.27MB)
Media Player Classic (Portable full featured media player, 4.62mb)
mp3DirectCut (Non-destructive mp3 recorder/editor, 90Kb)
Mp3 Tag Tools (Mp3 Tag Editor, 509Kb)
VLC (Audio/Video player, 30.3MB)
XMPlay (Portable audio media player, 358Kb)

Office Utilities

Portable Abiword (Portable word processor, 14.6MB)
EveWE (Vector graphics editor/Flowchart tool, 227K)
Foxit PDF Reader (Also lets you type on any PDF! Excellent for PDF Rebate forms!, 2.8MB)
Portable Open Office (Completely free MS Office alternative, 167MB)
Spread32 (Full-featured portable spreadsheet, download sprea32en.zip, 1.26MB)

Security Apps

KeePass Password Safe (Password manager, 694Kb)
Password Safe (Password manager similar to KeepAss)
My Wallet (Password manager)
dsCrypt (Individual file encryption, only 25Kb!)
Dekart Private Disk Light (Partitioned volume encryption, See notes on page 3 of this thread, 500Kb)
TrueCrypt (Partition, full disk, or disk in a file encryption)
GnuPG (Cross-platform file/email encryption) Use with portable Thunderbird and/or get:
Windows Privacy Tray (GUI for GnuPG)

System Utilities

A43 (Windows Explorer alternative, ~1MB)
bbLean (Blackbox for Windows)
Dead Pixel Buddy (Test LCD for dead pixels, 288Kb)
freeCommander (Windows Explorer alternative, ?MB)
PC De-Crapifier (Uninstaller, 256kb)
Disk Digger (Recover deleted files, ?Kb)
Restoration (Recover deleted files, 413Kb)
System Information for Windows (PC configuration analysis & diagnostics [similar to Belarc], 1,272Kb)
WinAudit (System Auditing Tool, 129Kb)
Excessive Software (Miscellaneous small utils such as fast defragger, temp cleaner, stubborn file remover, etc.)

Other Apps

7zip GUI or cmd line (un)archiver for a lot of formats (476Kb for cmd line, 2.1 Mb for GUI)
Bloodshed Dev-C (Full-featured IDE for C development, 13.5MB)
HJ-Zip (Zip/unzip app with GUI, ~1MB)
Movable Python (Python environment, 15.1 MB for basic, 36.5 MB for standard (now charges $$$ ;-())
MWSnap (Print screen utility, download zip & extract to a folder, 900Kb)
Sudoku (Addicting Puzzle Game, 0.4 MB
SlipFTPd (FTP Server)
Tiddlywiki (A reusable non-linear personal notebook)
Uniform Server (Apache, MySQL, Perl, PHP)
VIM (Text editor)
WinQcad
WxBasic WxBasic BASIC interpreter/compiler (can write GUI programs for Windows & Linux with this)(<850Kb)

Articles

Macworld:Secrets:Your Apps in Your Pocket
Customize Your Drive's Autoplay Action, Drive Icon, and Disk Label
PC Mag: Make Your Thumb Drive Bootable
Tom's Hardware: Windows In Your Pocket - Fixed broken LINK
The Ultimate USB Key
What is U3?

Portable App Links

Mac OS X Portable Apps
PortableApps.com
Portable Freeware
The Info Box's Portable USB Apps
The USB Drive Soft Blog



FAQ

Q: Do you need a "U3" usb drive for these software programs to work right?
A: No. U3 creates a virtual CD drive, which makes autorun programs work on systems which have it enabled.

How do I get rid of U3 from my USB drive?
WARNING: Deleting U3 is irreversible!!!
Download and run U3 Uninstaller.exe:
Mirror 1
Mirror 2

IMPORTANT: Backup your files from the drive before uninstalling U3!




Other Tips & Tricks

If you intend to attach your USB drive to your keychain like I do, I would not recommend one that has a keychain/lanyard loop on the USB cap like this model. You'll lose your USB drive, but not the cap.



Backup your USB drive often! Never keep critical files on your USB drive without having a backup copy on your PC first! I use SyncToy (freeware).



Never unplug your USB drive while running a portable app or saving/deleting a file on the drive! It will corrupt the data and will prematurely damage the drive. Close the portable app(s) first! Also use the "Safely Remove Hardware" tool when available (Windows XP/2000). It will stop any remaining background programs using the drive; and if it can't, it will let you know.



WinZip also allows you to encypt zip files. Warning, there are programs such as the PicoZip Recovery Tool that can open password-protected zip files.



How to create a batch file to start a Program Launcher (i.e., ASuite or PStart):
- Open Notepad and copy & paste the following:
@echo off
echo Starting PStart...
cd
start PCAppsPStartPStart.exe

- Change 'PCAppsPStartPStart.exe' to the actual location of the file on your USB drive
- Note that folder names must not contain spaces!
- In Notepad, click File > Save As > Save in: [Choose the root directory of your USB drive] > Save as type: All Files > File name: PStart.bat

Done!

This batch file works like a shortcut. Since the drive letter may change whenever you plug your USB drive into a different PC, creating a simple shortcut does not work. This is the workaround.



In the root directory, I put a text file named READ_IF_FOUND.txt that says:

This USB drive belongs to:
First L.

If found, please call:
111-222-3333

Or email me at:
MyEmailAddress@yahoo.com

Or mail it to:
First L.
PO Box 1234
My City, CA

Thank you!
Thanks for visiting FatWallet.com. Join for free to remove this ad.

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Added Miranda IM
- A smaller, more portable AIM/MSN/Yahoo chat client...only 1.4MB!
- Run installer, copy and paste Miranda IM folder in Program Files to your USB drive.
- For AIM, replace aim.dll in Plugins folder with this newer one.

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Thanks OP for this great thread. I love it.

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This is why I Love PC Magazine!! They have the best articles! This was my favorite this issue. I also enjoy the bootable USB and auto run file.

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Anyone know what is the best filing system for a USB flash drive? NTFS, FAT, or FAT32?

Should I just go with the most recent, or is there an advantage of going with an older one for a small flash drive? I've seen a few articles from googling it, but I'd rather ask for opinions here.

Edit: It's for 128MB and 64MB. Yeah, I know it's small and old, but I got it for free.

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Just use FAT so that you can use it under Windows, Mac, Linux, etc. without worries.

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ComputerWiz said: I also enjoy the bootable USB and auto run file.
Customize Your Drive's Autoplay Action, Drive Icon, and Disk Label
Make Your Thumb Drive Bootable

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All the apps I add are STAND ALONE apps & don't need to be installed to the PC. I've updated this.

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Ok. Can you remove the asterisks I may have placed for the apps you added? I think we were updating the summary at the same time, and I was the last one. Thanks!

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sc0rpio said: ComputerWiz said: I also enjoy the bootable USB and auto run file.
Customize Your Drive's Autoplay Action, Drive Icon, and Disk Label

I've been trying to create an autorun.inf file (in USB's root directory) to automatically run PStart without success. Has anyone been able to do it? It should be as simple as the following, but it doesn't work:

[autorun]
open=pstart.exe

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I've also started to play with autorun.inf. I can get the icon, but no autostart.

It looks like it depends on the drivers/programs for your flash device. Some come with something to tell windows you've inserted a new medium & some come with a memory resident program to sit in the background & look for the device.

I've seen a few things on the web HINTING that you could change a registry setting to allow autostart applictions, but haven't found the key. It looks like sitting down at a random machine & having it autostart for you might not be doable.

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Next best thing: Right click on drive to start applications after adding a shell command (you can add multiple shell commands):
[autorun]
icon=\\win32\\PStart\\PStart.exe
shell\\PStart = PStart
shell\\PStart\\command = win32\\PStart\\PStart.exe

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thanks!

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sc0rpio said: ComputerWiz said: I also enjoy the bootable USB and auto run file.
Customize Your Drive's Autoplay Action, Drive Icon, and Disk Label
Make Your Thumb Drive Bootable
Thanks, I forgot to link those.

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sc0rpio said: sc0rpio said: ComputerWiz said: I also enjoy the bootable USB and auto run file.
Customize Your Drive's Autoplay Action, Drive Icon, and Disk Label

I've been trying to create an autorun.inf file (in USB's root directory) to automatically run PStart without success. Has anyone been able to do it? It should be as simple as the following, but it doesn't work:

[autorun]
open=pstart.exe
Is the file pstart.exe also in the root directory?

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noksagt said: Just use FAT so that you can use it under Windows, Mac, Linux, etc. without worries.Well for my purposes, I wouldn't need to use it with anything but Windows because most of the programs I'm using themselves, aren't compatible with other OSs. Someone had told me that defragmenting was easier with one of the FSs and that some take up more room on a USB drive than others. Anyone know if this is true and is FAT best if I'm only using Windows?

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sure is! brb, power outage...

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ComputerWiz said: Well for my purposes, I wouldn't need to use it with anything but Windows because most of the programs I'm using themselves, aren't compatible with other OSs.Well, fat will still guarantee the highest portability: you can use some of the programs, but not NTFS on Win 98/ME. And you might want to just use the drive for file transfers on a machine with another OS.

However, as far as XP-compatible filesystems go, FAT is still a good choice for flash: It allows for quickest removal of the drive.

NTFS can have better performance. But this is marginal at best & the pain of waiting to remove the media will be far more annoying. Also, foreign systems may still "helpfully try" to reformat it as FAT.

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noksagt said: ComputerWiz said: Well for my purposes, I wouldn't need to use it with anything but Windows because most of the programs I'm using themselves, aren't compatible with other OSs.Well, fat will still guarantee the highest portability: you can use some of the programs, but not NTFS on Win 98/ME. And you might want to just use the drive for file transfers on a machine with another OS.

However, as far as XP-compatible filesystems go, FAT is still a good choice for flash: It allows for quickest removal of the drive.

NTFS can have better performance. But this is marginal at best & the pain of waiting to remove the media will be far more annoying. Also, foreign systems may still "helpfully try" to reformat it as FAT.
Thanks! But is FAT or FAT32 the best choice? I'm guessing FAT (like you said) probably because it's older, and would be compatible with more systems.

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Yes--FAT is more compatible. If you have any bootable apps on it, you DEFINITELY want FAT: some bioses won't boot off of FAT32/NTFS/etc. USB drives (of course some won't boot off of USB at all, but...). FATis also more efficient for smaller volumes than FAT32.

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Added Spread32 & EveWE (Office Utilities).

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added pglite2 and media player classic

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Added MWSnap (Other Apps)

MWSnap is a small yet powerful Windows program for snapping (capturing) images from selected parts of the screen.

Current version is capable of capturing the whole desktop, a highlighted window, an active menu, a control, or a fixed or free rectangular part of the screen. MWSnap handles 5 most popular graphics formats and contains several graphical tools: a zoom, a ruler, a color picker and a window spy. It can be also used as a fast picture viewer or converter.


- Download the zip file version to your desktop
- Extract the file to any folder
- Open the 'lang' subfolder and delete unused languages (i.e. keep English.bmp & English.ini) to chop the app size down from 900Kb to 568Kb
- Transfer the folder to your USB drive

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Great thread OP! A word of thanks to you, and the other contributors

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DO NOT buy a USB drive that has a keychain/lanyard loop on the USB cap like most Memorex's. You'll lose your USB drive, but not the cap. That is one idiotic design if you ask me.

At first glance your criticism makes sense but in actuality the Memorex cap grips like an eagle's claw. You'll rip the lanyard off your neck before that cap releases.

The latest Memorex design though has the reverse set up as you prefer. The funny thing here is that with this design the cap barely grips and is likely to fall off.

I have two Memorexs, one with the old design and one with the new. I wear the newer one under my shirt so if the cap falls off it doesn't go far.

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What a great thread and article! Thanks OP!

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I have a Sandisk Micro 512MB myself. The cap has fallen off after about 3 weeks. I have mine attached to my keychain which I hook onto my belt loop. I would hate to lose it when I could have prevented it. In my case, I believe that having the loop attached to the drive itself versus the cap is a much safer design to prevent loss.

I'm glad you brought up your personal review of the Memorex caps, I didn't know the older design had a sturdy grip.

You're welcome Willy & rolipoli! I'm glad you found it useful. Special thanks to noksagt for contributing a considerable amount of apps and organizing the list.

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Portable Firefefox-Mac & PC Cross-Platform (Cross-platform browser, which keeps profiles in sync)

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hmm i just wanted to ask, what is the wikipedia on the bottom? i was checking it out and it seems there is a some kind of a server involved?

thanks for the great guide, these softwares will come handy in my new 512mb drive.

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topikamew said: hmm i just wanted to ask, what is the wikipedia on the bottom?It is a local copy of the wikipedia, which can easily be run from your drive.some kind of a server involved?Yes. MediaWiki (ths software which runs wikipedia) uses a web + database server & a php interpreter. The instructions show how to install apache+mysql+php to run from your usb drive.

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mcafee reports virus in slimftpd.

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noksagt said: NTFS can have better performance. But this is marginal at best & the pain of waiting to remove the media will be far more annoying. Also, foreign systems may still "helpfully try" to reformat it as FAT.

Here are some tips for USB Flash Drives, which covers the pros and cons of using NTFS:
http://www.uwe-sieber.de/usbstick_e.html

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ooev said: mcafee reports virus in slimftpd.

SlimFTPd website says:
SECURITY ALERT: SlimFTPd 3.15 and 3.16 have buffer overflow vulnerabilities that could potentially lead to remote code execution. The exploits are only possible if the remote user can successfully log in. Users are advised to upgrade to SlimFTPd 3.17 immediately!
According to this other source, it only affects v3.16 and lower.

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Added mp3DirectCut (Multimedia), thanks hhdanish.

mp3DirectCut is a non-destructive audio editor and recorder for MP3. You can directly cut, copy, paste or change the volume with no need to decompress your files into a pcm format. This saves encoding time and preserves the original audio quality, because absolutely nothing must be re-encoded.

The built in recorder lets you create MP3s "on the fly" from every source. Using the Cue sheet support or the pause detection and the split function you can easily divide longer files, e.g. CD images.

mp3DirectCut is very fast and gives you extensive edit functionality:
MP3 visualisation and VU meter Easy navigation Fading, volume setting, normalizing Pause detection Direct recording of MP3 (ACM and Lame encoder supported) Layer 2 support ID3v1.1 support Cue Sheet support


- Extract files to a folder on your desktop
- Move the folder to your USB drive
- Run it once to select the English language
- Delete the language folder to cut the total size down to 90K

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Added EAC.

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Found this site with a decent list of some portable applications (it's a few months old, but still usefull).
Some are already listed, but there may be a few others (XnView; AEdit).
(Development of AEdit has stopped, but Google cache still has the site with working download links)

I don't know how they compare to the other apps posted, but figured I'd share the link.

Another site, many apps: http://portablefreeware.com/

Portable GIMP - Free; (Size ?)

Portable Photoshop Free if you already own it - (Size 58.8mb)

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Opera@USB...

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hydraIRC

Skipping 126 Messages...
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WorkerAnt said:   Sorry to bring this back from the dead.

Can we do the same with Win7? I notice Win7 load up much faster than WinXP.


Same answer - yes. Here's a link with instructions: Boot win 7 from USB

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