Portable apps are usually of the same functionality and advantages as those seen in regular versions of your favorite software, but without installing installers involved. This means that portable apps come in handy as executables and any files associated with their operation are contained within a single folder, so you may run them directly from a USB drive or a cloud folder synced across devices.
Portable applications are not able to modify the Windows registry or leave behind configuration files on the host computer. This is especially useful in situations in which you may not have administrative right to install software, on public computers at a library, university, or at work.
HWINFO is now available.
While phones may certainly enable us to be productive on the go when needed, it''s not always as beautiful as it sounds. Because of the versatility of mobile applications on the market, it may be technically possible to compose a document, touching up a photo, or editing some code, but we''re most efficient when we have the appropriate tool for the job, and often times that tool is a bona fide computer.
Some users may arrive at a comfortable laptop, but did you know that you can effectively carry around a vast library of productivity software, handy tools, media players, and even games with user preferences intact, and use them on virtually any PC?
Everything you need to know about Windows
In this article, we''ll highlight the best standalone apps across a wide range of disciplines. We conducted an internal survey among TechSpot staff members, what we use to be productive, and then researched more available portable titles that might be helpful to carry around with you.
We''ve kept an eye on TechSpot downloads that are constantly updated, and as usual, we''re accepting your suggestions and recommendations to expand this list.
Here''s a quick and simple look at all of the web sites mentioned in this article. Click to download or scroll further down for further information and context about some of the apps.
To download the app, click the name.
|Ungoogled Chromium||Web browser|
|Chrome Portable||Web browser|
|TeamViewer Portable||PC remote access|
|WinSCP||SFTP / SCP client|
|PuTTY||PC remote access|
|qBittorrent Portable||Torrent client|
|Free Download Manager||Accelerate downloads|
|LibreOffice Portable||Microsoft Office alternative|
|Ditto Portable||Clipboard manager|
|CopyQ Portable||Clipboard manager|
|Sumatra PDF Portable||Lightweight PDF viewer|
|Balabolka Portable||Text to speech|
|Calibre Portable||E-book manager|
|QOwnNotes Portable||Sticky note utility|
|KeePass / KeePassXC||Password manager|
|PrivaZer Portable||Secure delete files|
|VeraCrypt||Free disk encryption|
|HWINFO Portable||System information|
|Core Temp||CPU temperature monitor|
|Rufus||Create bootable USB drives|
|Bulk Crap Uninstaller||Remove stubborn programs|
|GeekUninstaller||Remove stubborn programs|
|Q-Dir||Windows explorer replacement|
|Everything Portable||Better than Windows search|
|Bulk Rename Utility||Rename tons of files|
|7-zip Portable||File compression|
|Zip2Fix Portable||Salvage corrupt ZIP archives|
|SpaceSniffer||Disk space analyzer|
|Image Editing Tools|
|IrfanView Portable||Image viewer|
|FastStone Image Viewer||Image viewer|
|GIMP Portable||Image editor|
|Krita||Sketching and painting|
|Notepad++||Text and code editor|
|Sublime Text Portable||Text and code editor|
|Visual Studio Code||Microsoft source code editor|
|WinMerge Portable||Text comparison and merging|
|Streaming and Recording|
|OBS Studio||Streaming and video recording|
|CamStudio Portable||Record your screen|
|Shotcut Portable||Free video editor|
|HandBrake Portable||Converts video|
|Audacity Portable||Audio recording and editing|
|VLC Portable||Media player|
|PotPlayer Portable||Media player|
|MPC-HC Portable||Media player|
|AIMP Portable||Music player|
|Icebreaker Portable||Similar to Minesweeper|
|Brutal Chess||The Queen''''s Gambit|
|The Legend of Edgar Portable||Platform game|
|Warzone 2100||3D real-time strategy game|
|PokerTH Portable||Texas hold''''em poker game|
|BYOND||Online multiplayer game creator|
|Stella||Atari 2600 VCS emulator|
|A Dark Room||Text-based role-playing game|
|Big Solitaire 3D Portable||40 solitaire games|
|Sudoku Portable||Number puzzle game|
|More portable apps|
We met this article with a focus on productivity and we remain committed to that. While web browsers may seem like the gateway to procrastination, it is absolutely essential that you have Internet access when attempting to get things done. From research and collaboration to blogging or learning something new, everything starts with a connection to the outside world.
Both Chrome and Firefox are readily available, allowing you to run your favorite browser and surf the web without leaving behind any personal information. Alternatively, the Open-Source Chromium is a rare instance of a product''s name that says exactly what it is.
If you prefer Chrome, then it may be an interesting choice for you. While Ungoogled disables many services that depend on Google (Safe Browsing service, etc.), it does not always replace them with something else, but it ensures that it does not clear all cookies upon quitting, however, it clears all cookies upon departure, but that may be done in chrome://settings/cookies. If you know what you are doing, you may enjoy a Chrome-like browser without having to worry about privacy
LibreOffice Portable is a portable app that offers a word processor, a spreadsheet tool, a presentation tool, and a database management solution that works with Microsoft Office and other popular applications. Best yet, it is free to download and use. If you can''t get Office 365 or Google Docs, this is the perfect solution.
Clipboard managers simplify the return of text or anything else you''ve recently copied and pasted, adding an array of new capabilities to the default Windows clipboard. Ditto and CopyQ are simple solutions that are also portable, if you want a solid clipboard manager (highly recommended!).
QOwnNotes, for keeping notes, has the advantage of easy text markdown support. Sumatra is a slim PDF viewer, and Balabolka Portable can assist in translating text to speech.
You''ll want a copy of Sublime Text Portable on your borrowed Windows PC. Visual Studio Code and Notepad++ Portable are some of the most excellent options.
They''re all compatible with multiple programming and markup languages, plus features such as split editing assistance for widescreen monitors and are highly customizable.
Sublime Text Portable is free to download and evaluate, but the company advises that you must pay for a license for ongoing use. WinMerge can be a godsend to visually differing and merging text files. And if you need to secure upload files to a server, WinSCP is the best tool for the job.
If you''re planning a serious photo manipulation (and you aren''t paying for Adobe''s), then you''ll want GIMP Portable. This full-featured image and photo editor can perform tasks such as photo retouching, image composition, and image authoring. Paint.NET is also highly regarded and comes in a portable version.
If you prefer painting more than image manipulation, then Krita is the service that you''re looking for.
IrfanView is a powerful image viewer in town, but it also allows you to quickly crop or rotate images or save them on a different file format. FastStone Image Viewer is a great option for viewing a wide range of images.
If you have not had installation rights on a particular PC, password managers are a must-have for governing login credentials across the internet. Using an array of complex passwords are also able to memorize one master password. Both popular choices on the market are LastPass and Keepass, and you may be surprised to discover that there are a variety of usage options.
LastPass''s portable version has no connectivity, so the easiest way to do so is to install the add-on on your portable browser (Firefox or Chrome above) and it will work as usual. Bitwarden, which is an open source platform that also comes in a portable package, allows you to use it from a USB drive and securely carry around your encrypted password credentials.
OBS Studio is a free and open-source streaming app that works across a wide range of platforms. In fact, it''s so popular that YouTube, Facebook, and Twitch are contributing to the development, since it''s widely used on both platforms. With OBS you may do HQ video/audio mixing, create scenes from multiple sources, including window captures, images, text, and pictures.
Shotcut is a cross-platform video editor that is also free and open source. It''s not as complete (or complex) as DaVinci, but Shotcut can be adapted from a portable environment. Audacity is a fantastic choice for multi-track audio recording and editing.
PrivaZer deletes data from your drive without leaving a trace. It works by overwriting data several times using specific patterns, thus it cannot be recovered later with other means. Bulk Rename Utility is a godsend for renaming files in bulk, with a wide variety of possibilities for formatting and organizing files.
Total Commander and Q-Dir are two old favorites to replace the standard Windows File Explorer. Then everything is both an app launcher and Windows search replacement (which honestly still sucks in Win 11). It will scan and index your drive for superior search and better results and it can be used on mobile form as well.
SpaceSniffer (shown above) is a graphics disk utility that lets you visualize how files and folders are stored on a drive. It also provides drag and drop support, zoom elements, and support for NTFS Alternate Data streams. If nothing else, it provides a fascinating look at your files and makes it easier to discover files and folders buried in areas you might not otherwise look.
Free Download Manager divides files into several sections and downloads them simultaneously, which usually results in resumable, faster downloads on spotty internet connections.
7-Zip is a popular compression utility that has evolved since 1999. It uses its own 7z archive format, but can also read and write several other archive formats, including ZIP, TAR, RAR, and ISO, just to name a few.
If you''re dealing with compressed files, having a copy of Zip2Fix can assist you in dealing with corrupted files or salvaging what''s left in good condition from a given archive. Both are useful assets that you''ll likely want in your travel toolbox.
Disk cleaners are a dime a dozen but finding one that''s portable, free, and is highly recommended is a bit of a difficult task. These apps are usually better as they don''t tie to the operating system in anyway (which would end the purpose of doing one).
Wise Disk Cleaner (Portable) simplifies things you''d expect from a disk cleaner - removes temporary files, history, cookies, and auto-complete forms, but also includes handy features such as a "slim down" mode that removes excess junk from Windows installations, like sample photos, videos, music, and help files, all of which you''ll likely never use if you save space.
Either BCUninstaller (Bulk Crap Uninstaller) or GeekUninstaller are a great addition to the clean-up tool, assuming a different approach in helping you uninstall programs without leaving any leftovers on your PC.
VLC is the world''s premier open-source cross-platform media player, which supports a wide range of audio and video files. It is available on the go from a cloud folder, a local folder, or an external drive, making it a must-have for most portable software applications.
VLC isn''t the only game in town, but there are alternatives media playback programs that are certainly quite effective. MPC-HC and PotPlayer are among the games that have a portable version.
Bring along some of your favorite MP3s for music on the go...
Winamp Portable is a legacy app on this list, but at just 2.7MB, it will not exactly take up a ton of space on your drive. During the pre-streaming period when Spotify and YouTube didn''t exist. been developed. The portable app also supports playlists, plugins, skins, time markers, and more.
Foobar2000 is an advanced music player that goes back and offers a ton of features in a simple interface. More recently, more popular platforms have come up, including MusicBee and AIMP Portable, both of which are worthy of consideration.
There are a variety of gaming options we might envision, such as Terraria portable and the GOG version is available, but we''ve included a limited range of portable titles that have great replayability and are better suited to an emergency pen drive.
A Dark Room is a web browser-based open-source, text-based role-playing game. Like a good book, it''s quite easy to lose in the words. Now, thanks to this portable app, you can dive in on virtually any computer.
The Legend of Edgar is a 2D platformer similar to that of 16-bit gaming consoles. It takes you in the role of Edgar, who embarks on a quest to find his father, he believes.
Warzone 2100, a free and open-source 3D strategy game, was originally developed by Pumpkin Studios and published by Eidos Interactive in the 90s, and now is owned by the community and operates on relatively modest systems.
The once popular "Battle Chess" from Interplay in 1988 has been inspired by simple gameplay and it''s open source. Solitaire is arguably the go-to time-waster for PC gamers of a certain age. If they''ve been removed for some reason, then Big Solitaires 3D might be a plus.
This portable app allows you to download 40 solitaire games with multiple decks and background images, as well as the ability to undo or redo a move. There is also a full-screen and windowed mode in any resolution. We also got you covered there.
The Sudoku portable app and IceBreaker are both fun puzzle games similar to Minesweeper.
We have included several additional utilities in our portable app shortlist, without to mention all of what''s available in our downloads section. Did we miss anything truly useful? Please leave a comment and let us know, so we may add it to this list.