James Selvakumar’s Blog

November 8, 2008

Power up those under utilized usb pen drives with portable apps

Filed under: general — James @ 5:01 am
Tags: , , ,

I have few usb pen drives (or thumb drives) with storage capacities in the range of 2 to 8 GB. But I hardly use all the storage capacity offered by my pen drives. I normally use it to share files between computers.

I also had a problem with my old laptop which has only 60GB of hard disk space. As a result I always strive to have applications as few as possible. This was a huge hindrance for me to try some really excellent utilities like CCleaner, JKDefrag etc. Not to mention a few handy games to play when I get bored.

At one end, I had the problem of plenty of unused storage space in my usb pen drives and at the other end I faced acute shortage of disk space in my laptop. If only I can utilize my pen drives efficiently and make both ends meet (to some extent), how nice it would be?

I’ve already explored about making a “live ubuntu usb pendrive” and had success with it. So I was pondering whether I can install applications in my pen drive.

All these changed when I stumbled upon a site called portableapps.com.
Whoa! I couldn’t believe my eyes on seeing the entire suite of applications that can run on a usb pen drive. It was even more stunning to see that most of the applications in their package are open source.

I quickly navigated to their download page and then downloaded their “Suite Light”. You can download any package you want and add/remove applications as per your taste.

Then I ran the downloaded installer with my usb pen drive as the destination directory. It is better if you can install in the root directory of your usb pen drive, for example “H:\” . Upon installing it added a nice little tray icon in my windows xp desktop.

When I clicked the tray icon, it popped up a windows xp style start menu, and all the applications in the suite were listed in the start menu. Simply amazing…

Then I felt that I didn’t need some of the applications included by default and thought of removing them. Removing applications is as simple as deleting the respective directories. You can do this by clicking the “explore” menu item in the portable apps start menu and then navigate to the respective directory, for example “PidginPortable” and then delete it. Very simple uninstall indeed!

Since I had firefox, thunderbird, pidgin, openoffice in my laptop as well, I removed these apps. Then I navigtated through the list of applications available in the portableapps website and downloaded some of my favourite applications which I didn’t have in my notebook. I even added my photo to the portable apps start menu.

But I have to admit that portableapps.com have only a few but great applications as of now. If you want to explore more applications, you can find a comprehensive list in http://www.portablefreeware.com.

Nowadays, I’ve stopped using the crappy windows defragmentation tool and use the JKDefrag Portable instead. I use Recuva Portable to recover my lost files, CCleaner Portable to cleanup my temporary files and registry (instead of the primitive windows disk cleanup tool), Task Coach Portable to manage my tasks and schedules, Notepad++ Portable instead of the rudimentary Notepad. When I feel bored, I play LBreakout2 Portable and Sudoku Portable.

Now, I need not install the same applications again and again in my computers and need not worry, if my friend’s computer will have my favourite applications.

If you are the one who have lot of pen drives but rarely use their full capacity,try installing some portable applications in it and have fun.

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