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Using portable apps compared to fully installed apps.


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A partial quote that I read somewhere online, in regards to portable apps, is as follows:

 

"its actually better to run portable apps.... installing software means entries being added to the registry, startup apps, processor scheduling tasks for those software.. this leads to memory hogs.... on the other hand, portable apps are like standalone software which do not make any changes to the registry".

 

Another partial quote:

 

(one con of using a portable app) ... "one set of settings for each app, so they're not as appropriate for computers used by multiple people."

 

I have two questions:

 

1) If you are the sole user on a computer, does it not always make sense to install the portable version  (if one is available) onto your computer instead of the full install version?

 

2) From what I gather, you would need to install the portable version anywhere other than the program folder, is this correct?

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@razz,

this is another one of those topics where the 'personal' in Personal Computers comes into play. :)

that and why opinions are like armpits...

 

the only portable app I ever needed was CCleaner, but now I have the Pro version, that app is gone.

 

for me, the main reason to even consider portable apps (apart from the whole conspiracy angle) is people want to keep them all on a USB stick that follows them to multiple PC's and not have their software change the PC it's running on.

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These statements on there aren't 100% correct:

 

* A portable file will not modify the Windows registry in any way.

 

* A portable app will not remember you personal preferences and settings. These may include recent or frequently accessed files and directories among other things.

 

* A portable app is unlikely to damage critical files on your system. There is always the chance that a malicious file might be bundled in the EXE file but that comes down to the app itself coming from an unreliable source. A portable app isn’t going to modify anything in the registry so there is less chance of things going wrong.

 

 

 

Sure a 100% true portable won't do that, but some actually will create registry data, and some will create AppData, and some both. That's why I always track the first time usage of portable software using Total Uninstall.

 

Also you can't really trust downloading the "portable" version of some software (lets use "portable" zipped Wise Disk Cleaner & Wise Uninstaller from the official homepage, and the PortableApps.com versions Wise Disk Cleaner Portable & Wise Uninstaller Portable as examples) because the only thing "portable" about them is there's no traditional setup file (well the PortableApps.com packaged versions sort of have a setup file, but it's just a pure SFX).

 

Those mentioned Wise software titles will create registry data (at least one CLSID key: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{E5B3AA32-A77C-4653-A7B1-1BF3EE35D531}) regardless of how you use the software, and they'll create AppData if you click the button in it titled Assistance - not to pick on Wise software because I actually like it, just using it as an example.

 

As for not remembering settings, some use .INI or .CFG, etc., files to remember your preferences - imagine if a portable web browser didn't remember preferences - well it would be the definition of completely useless.

 

A portable may not damage files on the system, however some may require the installation of some other software just to function which could cause system issues such as; Java, .NET Framework, a scripting language, etc. And again about the registry, some actually create registry data.

 

--------

 

A good source for finding portable software with user comments letting you know if it's not a 100% true portable is:

The Portable Freeware Collection: https://www.portablefreeware.com/

 

Of course you should already know about PortableApps.com,

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IAndavari I don't use many portable apps (apart from EEK - Emsisoft Emergency Kit)

 

However I know you do, and have far more knowledge about them than I do :)

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Hmm, I must've accidentally clicked the Post button to finish my above post (don't know how). :huh:  It really freaked me out that your reply was already there when I finally clicked the Post button - must be your time traveling super hero powers at work! Maybe re-read my above post since something inadvertently happened.

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Something I forgot, as in "a portable will not damage system files", well there's portable anti-virus, anti-rootkit, anti-malware, and if they have false positives and someone cleans what's presented to them there's the damage.

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I use portable browsers here on xp and 7. 

Other softwares also, but the browsers are always portable ones. 

Get them set up like I want them in "real" mode, and from then on they only run "shadowed". 

So if their config files get messed up, that is fixed after a restart.

 

(one con of using a portable app) ... "one set of settings for each app, so they're not as appropriate for computers used by multiple people."

 

Firefox portable runs from a folder in My Documents.  It's called Firefox.  :lol:

 

If another user wanted a different set of parameters, I could set up separate folder. 

Might call them Firefox_Fred and Firefox_Ethel

 

One drawback might be disk space, its a big folder, about 226 mb. 

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A partial quote from the article that hazel linked to:

"For tools that are meant for simple, quick actions and little to no processing, a portable app works but anything that is going to be processor intensive, an installable version is what is normally developed."

 

I take it that this comment makes sense.  If this is true, it stands to reason that the developers of the apps would only offer a potable version if they know it will function as intended.

 

So would it not make sense to always go the portable version route if one is offered -- or -- are there reasons you shouldn't always?

NOTE: In my case, this is in reference to having the portable version on your computer - i.e. not on a USB.

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One drawback might be disk space, its a big folder, about 226 mb. 

 

If your XP system is 32-bit then you can delete the 64-bit files in Firefox Portable to halve its disk space usage, it's located in the "App" folder, actually you can delete the whole Firefox64 folder. I run a batch file to remove unnecessary files after updating it on my XP 32-bit system with this in it (that .bat file is located in the exact same folder where FirefoxPortable.exe resides):

rmdir /q /s "App\Firefox64"

rmdir /q /s "Other\Source"

 

 

However on 64-bit systems you can not delete any of it, even the 32-bit version is required to remain intact.

Edited by Andavari
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If your XP system is 32-bit then you can delete the 64-bit files in Firefox Portable to halve its disk space usage . . .

 

Well shucks, why didn't I think of that?  No, don't answer that.  :lol:  Thank, Andavari, I will do so forthwith. 

 

Razz, I think that last quote, '"For tools that are meant for simple, quick actions . . .' is an oversimplification.  Just my opinion. 

Probably one just has to try each one out. 

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@razz,

this is another one of those topics where the 'personal' in Personal Computers comes into play. :)

that and why opinions are like armpits...

 

I'm beginning to think you're right   :)

 

for me, the main reason to even consider portable apps (apart from the whole conspiracy angle) is people want to keep them all on a USB stick that follows them to multiple PC's and not have their software change the PC it's running on.

 

You say "even consider" - I assume this means you rarely use portable versions.  Why wouldn't you if the program can function as a portable?

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Allot of times something is non-functional in a portable such as:

* Automatic updating won't work as it's usually disabled by default. Although some may notify you of a new version being available however it's entirely up to you to manually update.

* For disk defrag software it can't do a boot time defrag (even Defraggler Portable won't).

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You say "even consider" - I assume this means you rarely use portable versions.  Why wouldn't you if the program can function as a portable?

 

My only portable app was CC Portable, but don't need it any more, now I have Pro.

 

This is my spin on them; Portable apps have become trendy so a lot of software vendors are jumping on the band wagon, when in all honesty, there is simple no need - just some perceived consumer requirement.

For me, that's the only reason for the proliferation of them.

 

Historically they were the domain of PC Techs or people in general that wanted software to 1) fit on, and run from, a small, portable storage device and 2) not change the PC they were run on.

 

In my experience, an installable version over a portable version is always(?) more feature-rich but my main reason is I simple don't need, nor would get any benefit, in going portable.

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