Portable Applications

After reading enough articles on, I've become a big believer in Portable thumbdrive applications. For software geeks, a portable application is one that can be run on several platforms or operation systems. 

However, they mean something a little different in this context. Here  A portable application is an application that resides on a removable hard drive, music player or as a growing trend on a thumbnail drive. To use them on another machine, you simply remove the removable device, plug the device on the other machine and voila, they simply start working.

Over the last year, it is safe to say that the thumb drive has moved from a mere hot swapping tool for data,video, audio and image files to a hard drive hosting executable applications. This is mainly due to the fact that over the last year their capacity for holding data has grown substantially. It was just over a coupel of years ago when I used a 256MB thumb drive. Today, sells a thumb drive with a capacity of 32 GB at $50. The 64GB version sells for $100

Consider that my 20GB Arhcos Jukebox purchased in the pre-iPod era is slightly larger than an audio cassette and uses a hard drive.  I could carry three of those in a 64G thumb drive.

In the recent past, we carried our data with us on CDs or DVDs which we though was convenient. Today, thanks to high capacity disk drives, we can carry entire programs with us like the entire Open Office suite, Development tools, Image, Audio and Video processing software and other utilities for FTP, chat tools and so on. In fact, we could carry with us a portable Apache web server along with tomcat and MySQL on it. If that is not impressive enough, I have a Linux operating system on my flash drive in addition to the above mentioned utilities.

This is most useful for several reasons
  • We do not need to lug around a laptop everywhere we go.
  • All one needs is access to a computer (and maybe with Internet access)
  • We can recreate our environment on any other computer with all the programs and data we need, along with our personalized setting, bookmarks, etc.
  • Think of the savings in time and productivity.

Here are a few extremely useful websites:
Portable Apps: This site has numerous portable application choices that you can install on your pen drive.
Pendrive Apps: This is another good site that lists numerous portable applications.
PendriveLinux :This site details  a variety of choices of Linux that one may install on a USB drive.
Mac on a Stick: This website details how you could be up and running with an older version of Mac on your USB drive.

Here is a listing of all Lifehacker articles on Portable applications.

It's time all of us jumped on the Portable Apps bandwagon.

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