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).
The PenSuite offers many software categories â%u20AC%u201D for instance, security, networking, multimedia â%u20AC%u201D enough that you could use a it on a PC that has just the operating system installed.
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)
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)
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
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
Click to copy code and go to .
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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.
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:
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.
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
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.exeIs the file pstart.exe also in the root directory?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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