Talk:List of portable software

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Computing  
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Computing, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of computers, computing, and information technology on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
 ???  This article has not yet received a rating on the project's quality scale.
 ???  This article has not yet received a rating on the project's importance scale.


An image depicting a pen drive. No, I mean, really? Then, why not also a picture of an external hard disk or, say, a keyboard? Is it really necessary to post pictures in every single article? -- (talk) 13:35, 4 August 2011 (UTC)


FIRE FIRE!! Now that I got your attention, and checking previous posts. I propose removing all apps listed which aren't provided a link to the portable version. Why?

  • The list is useless if only links to the main software page (as someone pointed , you8 can't get a portable winrar at
  • There are issues of verifiability. Unless a method is given on this talk, giving the portable app url is the onlyu mean to verify such software is indeed portable (anyone can add any program even if it's not TRULY portable).
  • Finally, removing portable-as-in-compileable-on-several-platforms should be removed as well. Portable here has a very specific meaning.

What do you think? Unless someone provides strong arguments for doing otherwise I'll do the cleaning up in a few weeks. Note: "opinion" is not the same as "argument" -- Drini 23:09, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

Hmm, tricky. On the one hand, the ability to list items that don't (yet) have their own articles is one of the arguments for using lists instead of categories at Wikipedia:Categories, lists, and series boxes. On the other hand, this list seems to be degenerating into a spammy link farm, full of non-notable products listed solely in the hopes of boosting sales. I tend to think the article should be entirely restructured to make it not-so-easy to just drop your spam-links in. Either that or deleted and replaced by a category. But any cleanup/spam-removal that can be done in the meantime strikes me as a good thing. Xtifr tälk 23:59, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
If you're truly deleting spam, OK. But in some cases, rather than deleting the entry because it lacks the link, what about adding the link? If you can't get a portable version of an app at the provided link, but one is available somewhere else, that app should not be deleted. For example, TrueCrypt contains a link to the main web-site, but there is a specific section of the documentation ([1]) that contains specific instructions for how to use it as a portable app. As already discussed here, when used in this way, the concensus seems to be that TrueCrypt is a portable app. So why delete it, why not change the link? On the other hand, I agree that "portable" as in compiles-on-multiple-platforms is completely irrelevant in this context: the initial paragraph clearly indicates that this is software that is portable across physical machines, not architectures -- otherwise we can add every "Hello, World" program that a beginning CS student writes. Dfavro 01:00, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

File Encryption[edit]

Added many new entries. Needs much better formatting. If someone could format the entries better that would be nice. Oh and if there is any programs that have already been mentioned take them out.

In the browser section- OffByOne does exist. I was just there. The link to OffByOne is: Have a nice day. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:48, 26 December 2008 (UTC)

Conversion to Category[edit]

The call for deletion thing made me think. I've begun work on converting this article into a category. Category:Portable Application This is a lot of work because I want all information in this list to be retained in its category version. To do this, I have to make articles for all the things that don't have them, and I must edit articles for some things to make it clear how to use it as a portable application. If anyone wants to help with this, they're welcome to, this is Wikipedia, after all.

Alright, it seems to be that the conversion from list to category is a NO. I tried turning the Internet list into a category, here is the response I got:

  • IMO, the new Internet category is a lot less readable than the Internet group in this article was. The new category has no subsections for app types, and points you to yet another page for entries that don't have a wikipedia page. Formerly, all the entries were together and grouped by type. -- 19:41, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

What is said above is true, so I think this should stay a list as it is. To further to continuity of the article and, therefore, shorten it, I have moved the portable app definition to the portable app article and linked here. All redirects here are now pointed to that page. This article flows much better now.DizzyTech 21:10, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

Let's not get bogged down in perfection... Let's just start a category, too! I like having this list, but sooner or later there will be more and more arguments about what "qualfies" for inclusion in this article, so let's at least have a category that all appropriate articles can be tagged with. 14:46, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

When in doubt, ask[edit]

The three new items I added today (iCab, a web browser; RagTime, a desktop publishing app; and Hypercard a database app) are all Mac OS programs that I had installed in a 1GB Markvision USB flash drive and tried before completing the list; actually this edition is being made in the copy of iCab that resides in the USB flash drive, from a computer that does not have it installed in its HD. Although I am rather informed and read a bit about these subjects, I am not a computer expert by any means, thus I do not fully undrestand what is meant by: "A portable application is a software program that you can carry around with you on a portable device, such as a USB flash drive and use on any computer without necessarily modifying that computer's hard disk." The apps that I listed are all only-Mac-apps, with the exception of RagTime that also has a Windows version, but it is a separate app. In other words, I could not load and run the copy of RagTime that I have installed in my USB Flashcard in a Windows-operated computer, although, I could install a Windows version of RagTime in my USB flash drive and run it. Then, I ask if my listings are bona fide portable apps or not; I think they are. I would like some feedback from other users. Vale, Lcgarcia 22:04, 20 January 2006 (UTC)

Yeah, the definition I wrote for a portable app isn't very exact. From your explanation, yes, I think RagTime and iCab are ok to be listed here. Thanks for the additions. Gflores Talk 22:48, 20 January 2006 (UTC)


Does TrueCrypt belong in this list? While TC volumes are portable (they are self-contained files), and entire USB drives can be encrypted with the software, I believe use of TrueCrypt requires installation of the software by someone with Administrator rights, at least on WinXP. The software seems to create a virtual driver to mount encrypted volumes. Perhaps this limitation is only applicable to WinXP, but if not, I propose removing TrueCrypt from the list.

As an aside, after having a laptop stolen a few years ago, I've looked at a number of encryption solutions, but haven't found the magic bullet that combines strength, portability and ease of use.Jim Lipsey 19:30, 21 March 2006 (UTC)

TrueCrypt will run without being installed on a local PC from a USB flash drive, but it will only work when run under an account in Windows 2000/XP with administrative rights. As such, it is actually a portable app (in my opinion) it just has more limitations than most portable apps. CritterNYC 22:01, 20 April 2006 (UTC)

In an attempt, apparently, to short-circuit discussion, someone wiped a comment asking if this entry is even encyclopedic. I have the same question myself. But maybe I'm biased, since I preferred the original Wikipedia policy that lists were "unencyclopedic" by definition.

"Portable application" to any software developer denotes an application whose source code can be recompiled on multiple platforms easily. Even for the definition given, does one include programs that can be source-recompiled to be portable, ones that can be induced to look for config files on the pen drive, or only ones that natively look in the application directory? All three seem to be here. What is the encyclopedic value of this? It's more of a helpful guide to compiling a set of apps. That's useful, but not strictly speaking, pedagogical.

Make "local storage" a must feature for being "portable"?[edit]

We have two different requirements for an app to be portable:

  • no need for install
  • can be made to store its files locally (right besides the app) instead of the local host system

Can somebody tell me whether there is actually a need for apps that are "portable" (so one loads them on a usb-stick and walks from machine to machine), don't have to be installed, yet store their files on the local system? If there is no need, why don't we change the line

"Ideally it can be configured to read its configuration from the same location as the software, for increased portability"


"Portable apps can be configured to read its configuration from the same location as the software, for increased portability"

i.e., the "local storage" feature is not optional, but a required feature to meet the definition of "portable". Peter S. 11:39, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

Hi, I wrote that line. The reason I wrote it was I don't think there's actually a recognized definition of the term "portable application" so I was intentionally trying to point out that there's ambiguity there. I'd rather keep that ambiguity than attempt to invent a definition here on wikipedia, which I think is not appropriate. If it can be cleaned up to be more readable that would be great though, I'm not always tops at style. My vote is to not try to strictly define "portable application". 22:34, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

In my opinion a 100% portable application require:

  • no need for install (well, only the first time you install it on portable drive)
  • read its configuration from the same location as the software (this mean that you have your bookmark, buddylist, preferences, extension, plugins etc. always with you).
  • don't leave any footprint on local host system when quit (with the exception of tmp file).

So following this definition all Mac OS X applications are not "portable" as all preferences and Applications Support files are stored on user home directory on local host system. This means that if you just open an application form a portable drive you get preferences from local host user and not yours.

Cgand 15:30, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

This definition sounds good. And with this definition, it would actually make sense to list certain mac apps. How about if we go through the whole list and remove all apps that are only "semi-portable"? We could move them into a different page (like "List of semi-portable applications") if somebody complains. Comments? Peter S. 00:03, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
What do you mean with "semi-portable"?. Are all those apps that don't "keep settings on the drive"? As I think that "keeping settings on the drive" is the most important feature of a portable app. Cgand 13:42, 20 April 2006 (UTC)

CritterNYC 21:56, 20 April 2006 (UTC) I agree with Cgand. In order to be portable, an app can't store its settings on the local machine. Though perhaps listing semi-portable applications as well would be of use to some people (as, admittedly, some apps you don't need the settings with them and may not care about leaving a config file or two behind on a computer you use it on).

I'd say that listing such "semi portable" applications would be pretty pointless, they really ought to be removed from this list - practically all applications that are less than the size of a USB drive (say 256MB!) could be considered "portable" in that case, by simply stuffing them on a USB drive and leaving them to setup the registry when first run (most applications will do this). Defining "portable applications" as those that leave a zero footprint on the computer they're run on (including configuration) makes a lot more sense. Nuwewsco 08:14, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

AppOnKey dueling deletions[edit]

CritterNYC 21:53, 20 April 2006 (UTC) Someone at had been removing and posting themselves on the top of the external links list. This was apparently retribution for them being banned from the forums for spamming that site,, and a few other websites and was brought to my attention by members of AppOnKey probably doesn't belong in the list of external sites as they don't actually have any apps but it seems that when someone deletes them, they assume it is and, in turn, delete that entry from the external sites list. I'm leaving them in the list of external sites for now, though someone else may also feel they should be removed.

Some concerns[edit]

I have a few concerns about the subject matter and examples of this article. First, while it mentions "software portability" (with a non-existent link), I fail to see how "portable software" and "software portability" can somehow be distinguished by speakers of English. They are, to most of us, two different forms of the same thing, like "peculiar individual" and "individual peculiarity" are related. And traditionally, any program could be described as "portable" if it would compile (and in the case of interpreted languages, run) on more than one platform. It is inadvisable to overload the same term with multiple definitions.

Second, I do not believe this is not worthy of its own focus. It is akin to saying programs that store user-specific data in a centralized location are radically different than programs that store user-specific data in users' home directories. It is merely a different way to store the same data.

Third, the definition "this is a list of software programs that are not required to be 'installed' onto a computer's permanent storage device to be executed" is inaccurate: no executable needs to be "installed" to be run. The data on the device always has to be copied into system memory in order to be executed, so it doesn't matter where it comes from. The only difference between the programs this article references and other programs is where they store configuration information, and whether or not they register themselves with the system (which is a concept specific to Windows, as most other operating systems do not maintain a centralized list of installed applications).

Fourth, Live CDs do not fit this definition. CD-Rs can only be written once, and so most Live CDs create RAM disks and store (modified) configuration data there (or store no configuration data at all, which is quite rare). Though RAM disks disappear when the system is restarted, they are distinctly separate from the CDs themselves.

Fifth, some software (like U3) claims to meet this definition, but in fact does not. U3 applications modify the registry (which is most certainly not stored on the removable media), and leave behind files in the "Application Data" subdirectory of the user's home directory—in accordance with the definition, not only should these files not be left behind, they shouldn't exist in the first place.

Sixth, if this article is going to function as both a list and a definition, then it needs to include criticism. And I am more than happy to begin that list with some of my own:

  • As I mentioned above, this is not a radical concept. It is simply a different way to store configuration information.
  • There may be a performance hit, if the device cannot be read/written to as fast as the local hard drive (for whatever reason).
  • This can be, in the long term, damaging: constantly writing to flash memory can wear it out (see Flash memory).
  • It might be wise to call this something like "Portable Windows Software," as most of these programs are distributed only in binary form, and only execute on Windows.

Kbolino 05:48, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

Extra links[edit]

Why does this link to "List of open source software packages, list of Unix programs, list of GNU packages, list of KDE applications, list of GNOME applications, freeware, shareware, public domain, proprietary software."? None of those have any bearing on portable applications. 17:34, 26 July 2006 (UTC)

Agreed, they're not particularly relevant (now removed). If anyone wants to add them back in, it would make more sense to link to the relevant categories instead. Nuwewsco 08:25, 29 July 2006 (UTC)


are you sure cdburnerxp is portable? it might just be me, but ive tried it once or twice before and it didnt end up working for me sweecoo 16:11, 18 August 2006 (UTC)


I have done allover clean-up in (nearly) all sections of the article. It is not very useful to have a description like "portable mp3 editor for your music", when it is in a List of portable software article, in the section of Music/Editors and the application name is like MP3 editor. The description is simply obvious from its location. Also, when all (or many) mp3 editors do the same, I do not think it is necessary to repeat it for each single link. Thus I have removed obvious descriptions and simplified the list. I have left descriptions in the sections like miscelaneous, when it was not obvious. jsimlo 13:40, 18 August 2006 (UTC)


I have done some reordering and I have cleaned-up links to the form of: APP NAME (site) - Important notes on portability usage. If I have deleted something important or valuable, please add it back. jsimlo 13:40, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

Sections Internet and Networking[edit]

Both section Internet and Networking seems to contain the same type of applications. E.g. Web brosers vs. ftp clients. Telnet vs. P2P. I suggest to merge the sections into one single section of Internet and create sebsections like:

  • Internet
    • Clients
      • FTP
      • RSS
      • Search
      • Telnet, SSH
      • WEB
      • Wiki
    • Messaging
      • IM
      • IRC
    • Servers
      • FTP
      • WEB

Any ideas? jsimlo 13:55, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

No objections here. Good work on the cleanup. :) 01:59, 30 August 2006 (UTC)


I'm going to remove Belarc Advisor from the list, as it appears to be an installer program, not a standalone. -anon

Is it really portable?[edit]

I think there's a major problem with this page: while many of the links go directly to portable versions of the software (e.g. Abiword Portable), or are links to software that is inherently portable (e.g. PStart), most of them just go to the main product page (or worse, the developer's root page) with no instruction on how to make that app portable. It doesn't really help much to say, for example, that WinRAR is a portable app by linking to After all, it's not as if you can do a default install of WinRAR on a flash drive and expect it to work on any other computer, what with all the shell integration, registry entries, etc. etc. -- Hux 06:19, 4 September 2006 (UTC)

I would have said it would make more sense the only applications listed here were those which can be downloaded in a "portable form" by the distributer. Otherwise, practically *every* app which comes in (for example) an installshield installer, which doesn't use the registry, can be called "portable" - you just have to install it, copy it to a portable drive, and uninstall it to make that software "portable". Nuwewsco 19:15, 5 September 2006 (UTC)

Classification Advice[edit]

Would it be possible to classify all of the software in separate pages. For example, not just purpose or type of software, but also whether or not the software is open source and how easy it is to compile from it's open source part.

Open source Web Design Software[edit]

Is there any place where people have open source web design software? Is it possible to direct readers to this?


NVU -- 12:47, 21 February 2007 (UTC)


I have just reverted the page because someone deleted all the text on it. Was there a reason it was deleted that I overlooked?

StevenA 07:37, 31 October 2006 (UTC)

Possibly the fact that much of the article is borderline blatant-spam offended someone. But blanking is not the way to deal with such a complaint, and what you did surely qualifies as reverting vandalism, no matter how dubious much of this page is. Xtifr tälk 00:02, 16 November 2006 (UTC)


I added Avant to the list of portable browsers. I hope I got the links and formatting right, let me know if anything is wrong, I'm new here. Rendermatt 04:54, 25 December 2006 (UTC)

Podcatcher on a stick[edit]

I added a link to the original podcatcher on a stick, which many people are probably looking for. The "current podcatcher on a stick" links to mypodder.

Browzar - Portable Software?[edit]

I have added browzar to section 'browsers'. However, although it can be run from a USB stick or other device without installation it requires Internet Explorer to be installed on the local computer. Is it then a portable app? Feel free to remove link if it is deemed to be inappropiate. All comments welcomed. 23:59, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

I think - not portable. It's just not good enough, if you take it with you and the computer does not have IE, you can't use it! I think we should have a section of semi-portable apps. --Blonkm 14:01, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
A windows machine that doesn't have IE installed? Not exactly a common occurrence. It would qualify as a requirement, no different than if it required 512 MB of ram or 3.5 GHZ processor. Just because there exists a machine it cannot run on, doesn't make it non-portable. 17:03, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Deletion of LINKS[edit]

I'm not sure who considers Wikipedia NOT a collection of links, but in my dealings, I have found every single article on Wikipedia to include links to other resources on the subject as well as links to external sites as examples. I have just noticed that a bunch of links were removed from the external links section considering them spam and/or non-english. Both of these reasons I can understand and agree with. However, is neither of these but is in fact a very good resource for portable applications and the hardware involved as well as news dealing with the subject. How this is not considered a good resource is beyond me. And yes I am the current owner of the site and check this article regularly for any new information or LINKS about the subject of portable applications. leftyfb

                  Fully agree - put it back in then

Portable But Not Designed Like That?[edit]

Alot of programs are portable but the program needs to be copied from program files, etc. Do these qualify?

There is a program called StartupCPL (by mike lin) which work great on a usb. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by MMJ Wiki (talkcontribs) 06:30, 25 January 2007 (UTC).

I would say the answer to that is an emphatic no. As it stands atm, this page claims that any application which can be copied to a USB drive is "portable" - which makes this list completely pointless!
A more sensible definition would be to only classify a software program as "portable" if:
  1. It doesn't require installation (if it has to be installed first, it's clearly not portable!)
  2. Settings are stored with the software (i.e. on the USB drive) - the registry isn't used for either settings or configuration data
  3. (Ideally) It leaves a zero (or near-zero) footprint on any PC it's run on
Does anyone actually have any objections if I replace the current definition on the page with what I've typed above? This is an issue which has been raised a number of times on this talk page, and consensus does seem to follow what I'm suggesting. Alternativly, practically every application which can be downloaded may as well be stuck on this page, on the basis that it can be copied to a USB drive after being fully installed on a PC; hardly the makings of a useful resource! Nuwewsco 20:27, 13 March 2007 (UTC)
Actually, I would have to say the first line of your definition is incorrect. Many programs are only distributed through install files simply as a means of packaging them for the common user. It is still possible for them to function perfectly fine and portably if you simply set the install path to a usb drive instead of somewhere on the local disk. It does not decrease the portability of the program itself, merely the ease of its instillation on a portable device. 17:23, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
I understand your point; what I was getting at was packages which need to be installed on a PC and then have to be manually copied over to a USB drive; or which store their settings to the registry - which is pretty typical of software packages which use installers. There is some software (e.g. the stuff) which "installs" directly onto a USB drive; though installation in that case is little more than what a self-extracting archive (e.g. al la WinZip) does (i.e. decompression to flat files). Nuwewsco 23:28, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Where did you get the idea that if the program has an installer, it must be installed on hard drive and then manually copied to USB drive? Naturally, you would install it directly to USB drive. The important point is if you can then move the USB drive to another computer and run the program directly from the USB drive without installing it in the target computer. If you can do that, then the program is portable. But if you just install some non-portable program on hard drive and then copy it to USB drive, it will not work. Portability depends on how the software works, not how it is installed. PauliKL (talk) 22:19, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

Link removal[edit]

Could someone please tell me why has been considered spam and removed from the external links? Snipe 18:38, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

Any portable virtual keyboards??[edit]

I have a special keyboard that I use as I am visually impaired I used this program to make by keyboard

The problem is that i can not take the keyboard with me... i am just learning about portable aps... and using a virtual keyboard on a usb drive would be great for my needs i can not find one out there.

any ideas? can I get this keyboard to run off a usb? Have you seen an alternative? thank you

Proposed External Links[edit]

does Registry Rapper (link removed) count?

(I removed the link above since it pointed to page that had nothing to do with Registry Rapper.)
Perhaps RR could be included in the "Application launchers" section, if someone first creates a Wikipedia page for it. But it shoud be noted that just saving the registry data may not be enough to make your program portable. PauliKL (talk) 16:46, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Quate Portable Applications List[edit]

Good list of dozens of portable applications
Suggest adding to External links.-- 12:54, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

Here is another excellent list of portable apps.
These have been tested and verified by the site's host. I suggest adding this to External links as well. (talk) 14:53, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Where should we put DVD Flick?[edit]

Just created the article. I didn't know where to put it in this list (DVD authoring or CD/DVD burning). Hiogui 15:42, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

Value of portable software?[edit]

Since this is an encyclopedia and we can't assume readers will know, I think we should have very brief statement about the value of portable software. --Ronz 18:34, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

original research[edit]

I know this was nominated for deletion last month and people chose more or less overwhelmingly to keep it, and while i disagree with that decision i think everyone should at least be able to see that there are some flaws here that need to be corrected.

Specifically, the entire first part of the article (the part that's not the list) is almost 100% original research. There are no citations anywhere in the opening paragraphs that support the notion that software 'must' do anything specific to be considered 'truly portable', nor are there any supporting links at the bottom of the page. People seem to be just making this all up as they go — in fact there are several instances where what got put in the article seems to have been determined purely by unsupported arguements presented on the Talk page. This is not how Wikipedia is supposed to work.

Granted, some of this is common sense (obviously portable software should adhere to the common definition of 'portable' in some way), but most of the requirements listed in the article are completely arbitrary.

The definitions provided by both and Wiktionary say that something is portable if it's able to be moved or to be used on different computer systems. Ergo, saying that something isn't 'truly portable' if it's distributed as an InstallShield package (see requirement #1 in the article) would seem to contradict a commonly established definition. According to Wikipedia:Verifiability, 'Editors should provide a reliable source for ... any material that is challenged or is likely to be challenged'.

Requirements #2 and #3 would seem to lack in this department as well; e.g., the fact that a program leaves temporary files on the local disk does not make it incapable of 'being used on different computer systems'. It just makes it slightly less convenient.

Something to think about. ~ lav-chan @ 05:27, 5 May 2007 (UTC)

It sounds like you may not be familiar with current computer terminology. Yes, it would be good if there were references cited. Nevertheless, the term "portable software" has come to have a very specific meaning, separate from any ordinary meaning of the word "portable". The whole point of the term is, software that does not have to be installed, and can be used as widely, genericly and compatibly as possible, and leaves minimal traces and no system changes at all when finished. These goals, this widely felt desire/niche, is the whole reason that the term (and the software packages) exist. In this context, "portable" is an ideal goal, that real software may attain to a greater or lesser degree. The ideal is 100% trouble-free universal plug-in modular. Plug it in, use it, unplug it, take it away. No fuss, no muss, no problems, no delays, no changes, no traces. (By analogy, a suitcase could be called "portable" no matter how big or heavy, in some sense. But "convenience" is key to how "truly portable" it is: small, light-weight, durable, etc.)- 20:50, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
I think you're wrong about the current meaning of "portable software". I do not believe it has come to mean what you say it has. I do not believe that "portable software" has become a distinct term at all, I think it is still just an adjective and a noun, and the adjective ("portable") still has the same old meaning it had in the 90s. Gronky 21:11, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
In computing, software portability normally normally refers to the cross platform (i.e. OS) portability of source code. However, in the context of this article it's pretty clear that it refers to portability as in the ability of software and data to be carried around on removable media, and used on different PCs (this article is mainly concerned with Windows software) - without any impact on the PC it's running on, or making any requirements on that hardware.
i.e. Both the software and data is physically portable. In many ways, it's similar to the aims of the "U3" devices, but not dependant on that USB hardware Raftermast 22:00, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

Definition of "truly portable"?[edit]

The definition currently says:

To be considered truly portable, a software program must:
1. Not require any form of formal installation to be carried out on any computer before it can be used, with the release package only needing to be decompressed directly to removable media before use (if it has to be installed first, and requires its files to be manually copied to removable media, it is clearly not designed to be portable!)

First of all, WP:V requires this opinion to be sourced to a reliable source that espouses it. Second, I believe it to be wrong. For example, I consider truecrypt to be portable software, but as it is distributed, it requires you to install it first, then choose the "make traveller disk" option from the menu to install it on the removable media. It is clearly designed to be portable, otherwise it wouldn't have such an option. JulesH 11:13, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

I'd say this is all a matter of degree. Ideal portable software, in this context, would never need to be installed, by the user. However, needing to "install" it once, the first time, is not a big failing, either. The key would be that once having done that, you would have a very portable package that could be copied/used over and over and many different computers, without ever having to install again on the various computers being used.- 21:30, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
I disagree. The 1. paragraph is definitelly totally wrong and should be removed. Whether or not a program needs installation to put it on USB stick has absolutely nothing to do with portability. A portable program is a program that can be installed (for example) on USB stick so that when you move the stick to another computer you can run the program directly from the stick without installing it on the target computer. Installer is not a failing, it is a good thing. With installer, the user can choose what optional components of the software to install, what language to use, keyboard configuration, colors and other settings. A truly portable program has an option in the installer to install on removable media. Those programs that you just unzip to USB stick are probaly just zipped versions of programs that have been installed on hard disk. Which means they may not work correctly from removable media (e.g. if the drive letter is different). PauliKL (talk) 21:44, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
I suggest the 1st chapter of the definition to be changed to somethink like this:
1. Be able to run directly from removable media such as USB drive on different computers without installing on each computer.
(Is this grammatically correct?) Perhaps a fourth requirement should be added:
4. Must not assume the removable media to be on same drive letter or mounting point on each computer since those may vary on different computers.
(This has found to be a problem with some software.) PauliKL (talk) 16:06, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
Or perhaps:
1. Does not require any kind of formal installation onto a computer's permanent storage device to be executed, and can be stored on a removable storage device such as a CD-ROM, USB flash drive, flash card, or even a floppy disk, enabling it to be used on multiple computers.
This is how it is defined on the page Portable application.
On the other hand, since that page exists, the definition here could be removed entirely (I already added the link earlier).
PauliKL (talk) 16:27, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Something else that might be applicable, especially for non-windows apps: that the necessary libraries should be included with the application (or it should be statically linked)? Chavoux (talk) 15:37, 9 February 2008 (UTC)

PDF Editors[edit]

It seems there is a confusion about PDF edition. A lot of PDF editiors mentionned in the list are not able to edit a pdf file but rather to create a pdf file. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:17, 8 September 2007 (UTC)


I've been staring at this since the AfD now and then, trying to figure out what can make this a great list. What improvements does it need, presently? Shall we brainstorm positively? • Lawrence Cohen 23:15, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

I just found Wikipedia:Featured lists, and noticed that virtually all of them are table-based. I think that should be the next step, after verification of each as portable is done. • Lawrence Cohen 16:01, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

That sounds fair enough, though is there really any "other" information that could be added? ISTM the lists on the article mentioned are more than just straight lists... Nuwewsco 18:20, 26 September 2007 (UTC)
I still need to go through and verify each item (only partially done) based on what is in the article on that item. There may be a few things we can list then, such as Name, Vendor/Project, Known compatible operating systems, method of portability maybe. • Lawrence Cohen 20:33, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

Removed criteria[edit]

Please see this edit. Thoughts? • Lawrence Cohen 20:00, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

I'd rather see it restored and marked as not sourced. If we can find a source for it or something similar, then we have criteria that we can use. --Ronz 20:18, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
Like so?Lawrence Cohen 20:30, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
I was thinking of using an inline tag, but that's probably better. --Ronz 21:03, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

USB lifespan and portable software[edit]

I have heard that USB memory sticks have a limited lifespan related to read/write cycles or something like that. Although the number of cycles during this life is very high, the "wrong" program could blow through that number in a matter of days, if not minutes. I imagine that where a portable text editor might use a couple cycles per use so a memory stick could last for years, a portable operating system or server could use hundreds or thousands per day.

If what I have heard is correct, or nearly so, I think it would be appropriate to mention/warn_about it here if someone who knows more about it could provide details and particulars about the issue.

Gloryroad 04:20, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

I think the lifespan has improved a great deal recently - though like you I don't know the exact details. I just bought a flash drive from Staples that was very inexpensive and yet has a five year Guarantee - so they must have some confidence in them. Aldaden 14:52, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

My point is more that if USB memory sticks do have a limited lifespan based on access or something similar, a program with a very high rate of access might blow through that lifespan in a matter of minutes. If so, then one should be careful of the types of programs run from a USB memory stick. Does anyone know more about this matter?

Gloryroad (talk) 17:21, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

First generation Flash memories were designed to be replacements of EPROM's and could only be re-written some 100 times. On modern Flash memory, each memory cell can be re-written 10,000 to 100,000 times. In addition, the blocks are circulated so that a single memory cell is not written repeatedly.
However, if temporary files etc. are stored on Flash, it may still wear out too quickly. A truly portable software does not use USB memory to store temporary files. Temporary files should be stored on hard disk or RAM drive. PauliKL (talk) 16:16, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
Also remember USB thumb drives are only a common example for storage media for portable applications.
Other media such as external drives e.g. Firewire, SCSI, USB,eSATA, eSAS can also be used without the disadvantage of the more limited duty cycle of USB flash media (remembering of course than even server grade hard disks, kept in the best conditions have a finite, if relatively long duty cycle. Recall page is a list of software/applications not a discussion of the best storage media to run the applications on/from. I.e. I reckon discussion of the pres and cons of the speed or durability of any one media is out of place on this page, though a comparative discussion of many types of suitable media may be more suitable, though strictly speaking I reckon even that would be off topic. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:53, 17 March 2008 (UTC)

Unmaintainable list[edit]

From technical stand point, this list will become an unmaintainable list. All software, with exception of hardware-tied applications (i.e. drivers), can be made portable by bundling sufficient libraries/other applications with it. Those that requires more complex environment can be executed with the help of an application loader. In fact, if the author wishes an application to be able to opened without an installer, he can compile it so it doesn't required installer. I want to give you an example, World of Warcraft, you can copy the whole directory into a flash drive, and run it from another computer, no installer needed. --Voidvector 06:39, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

The list (I could use help, probably) will be cleaned up further to where only programs where it is sourced on their own articles that it is portable will be listed. The last time I took a pass I removed quite a few listings. Lawrence Cohen 00:04, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
I agree. Until we can find better inclusion criteria, we should only list entries that have their own articles. See WP:LIST --Ronz (talk) 18:33, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
What if we only list applications that are specifically made to be portable? For example, we wouldn't list World of Warcraft because it is not made specifically to run from a portable device. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Brendenlong (talkcontribs) 22:06, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
If a WP:RS is provided that verifies that the application is portable, then it should be kept. --Ronz (talk) 03:52, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

MPC != portable[edit]

Media Player Classic writes to the registry and %appdata%, even if you select the "save to .ini" setting in the options. I'm removing it from the list. 404notfound (talk) 09:28, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

Smaller utility/toolkit software[edit]

In the introduction part of the page, it says:

"Generally, smaller utility/toolkit software is inherently fairly portable;"

Indeed, simple applications are usually portable, and everybody knows that. And DOS programs are practically always portable. Therefore such applications shoud not be included in this list. I think this should be mentioned here. PauliKL (talk) 16:53, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Include target system?[edit]

As mentioned elsewhere, there are some problems with the definition of "portable software", e.g. most of the current "portable software" will still run only on the same system (Windows PC, Linux PC or MacOS) that it was compiled for. Going through the list is is not always clear which of the applications I can run on my linux maschine straight from my USB flash drive. I think this list will be a lot more valuable if it also mentions the host operating system(s) / hardware on which it can run without installation.Chavoux (talk) 15:58, 9 February 2008 (UTC)

Maybe we should have a separate page for each operating system. This list is so long that splitting it would be good idea. Maybe sub pages? -- PauliKL (talk) 17:16, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

Not portable software - portable applications[edit]

I believe this page/list refers to portable applications, not portable software.

Portable software has for a very long time meant software that can be run on more than one, often several platforms, though it may require a recompile.

A quick look at the Portable and Porting pages confirms this.

An well known example of portable software is the Apache webserver, which can be compiled to run on Linux, BSD, Solaris, AIX, HPUX, Windows, OSX, BeOS.

Similarly the Portable page defines Portable Applications as "applications that do not require any kind of installation onto a computer, and can store data in the program's directory".

This the title of this page/list appears to me to be inconsitent with both other entries in the wikipedia and the long established, technially correct definition of portable software.

This might also be an opportune time to split the list along platform lines, if that is going to happen. I think it would make sense to rename this page or have it replaced with a list of appropriate software and to create a new list of portable applications.

By the way this is not to say that there is not an intersection between the 2 sets , portable software and portable applications, however they are not the same thing. Jtan163 (talk) 02:19, 20 March 2008 (UTC) (remembered my account details so just signing this section) orignally I inseted this section 17 Mar 2008

Portable application and portable software are not the same thing, yes. The difference is exactly the same as the difference between application and software. Software is a wider term. For example, an operating system is software, but it is not an application. An Excel sheet can be considered to be software, but it is not an application. However, all this has nothing to do with this list. The term "portable" does not change meaning if you replace the word "software" with word "application".
This thing has been discussed earlier, and you are wrong. You are mixing two things that have nothing to do with eachother: portable software and portability of source code. We professional programmers use the term "portability" to describe one specific quality of source code: how easy it is to port the source code to different environments.
First of all you should notice that the term portability refers to source code, not to a ready made software. Secondly, you should understand that all source code is portable. The only question is how much work is needed to port the software to some specific environment. It would make no sense to re-define the term "portable software" to mean "software that can be ported", since the list would then contain all software ever made on this planet.
Apache webserver is definitely not portable software. Just like any source code, it's sorce code can be ported to different systems. And of course it is easier to port between different Unix systems than it is to port to other operating systems.
Portable software is an application or any other software that can be installed on removable media so that you can run the software on different computers without installing it on each computer. And definitely without compiling. Portable software is important for example for a consultant or IT support person who needs to work on different computers. Or if your computer gets infected by a virus, you need a portable version of antivirus program if you want to clean your computer without reformatting your hard disk.
-- PauliKL (talk) 21:10, 22 March 2008 (UTC)


There should be a section for portableapp calculators. And unit converters. There is a great table at Unit Converter Comparison Chart - (talk) 17:22, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

On notability[edit]

This edit removed the notability tag from the top of the article. Given that the word "notability" does not previously appear on this talk page, the presumed location of the arguments for notability is in the AfDs - however, a failed AfD is not a notability argument. This article still needs more reliable secondary sources. If there's nothing I'm missing here, I'm going to re-tag it. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 19:44, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

Picky picky. The interest in this topic is ballistic around the Internet. That should be all the notability you need, sonny. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 19:58, 4 September 2008 links = spam?[edit]

Some time ago I added links to some radsoft programs that a)are portable and b) are software. I thought they would be useful (I am a big fan, so I guess there is some bias). I understand SPAM to be unsolicited commercial links - but since this is a list of links to portable software, many of which are commercial products, I don't really understand why the radsoft links I added were removed. Certainly a package of 150 programs that fits on a USB stick is notable for portable software.

Am I missing a subtlety here? Are the rest of the programs listed here non-commercial? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Vieen (talkcontribs) 16:17, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

I think the main issue is really as to how notable the software you're adding is. If you take a look at the existing entries, they're all links to other wiki articles (or certainly should be). If the radsoft programs really are notable (I haven't looked at them, so can't comment right now) - why not create articles for them, and link to each of them in this list, rather than using external links?
If they're not notable, any articles on them will most likely come under critisism and could be deleted - which is fair enough (that's now Wikipedia works!), but if a product's notable enough to justify having it's own page, it's notable enough to be included in this list, provided it's relevant.
As to why your edits were removed, this page has had a history of attracting spam - normally in the form of external links. The links you added probably looked like more of the same - don't take it personally!
IIRC, there was a big comment in this article's source stating that only internal Wikilinks should be added, with no links to external WWW sites, though I can't see it atm... Following this convention dramatically reduced the amount of spam bunging up this article. Nuwewsco (talk) 18:13, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

(edit conflict)Thanks for starting this discussion. First, this article should not have links to official websites of software, links to download sites for software, etc. See WP:EL, WP:SPAM, and WP:NOT#LINK. Second, in order to make this article maintainable, we're trying to only list software and software packages that already have their own Wikipedia articles. See WP:WTAF. --Ronz (talk) 18:16, 5 September 2008 (UTC)


The lead makes reference to a "registry". ('If the registry is used to store settings') - this should be removed from the lead or links to a suitable article. Many operating systems do not have a registry. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:43, 9 January 2009 (UTC)


I have added LiberKey after someone decided the it should be reomved. I also added a page for LiberKey, please let's discuss the removal of LiberKey before it's done. I understand the controversy around this Suite, but this does not make it irrelevant to Wikipedia.Lockszmith (talk) 19:47, 10 August 2010 (UTC)

External Links[edit]

Would someone please tell me why is not listed in the External Links section? I've read about some kind of an edit war but would like to know if it is settled. Thanks. --Popol0707 (talk) 03:56, 2 April 2011 (UTC)

Is TextPad Really Portable?[edit]

I went to the TextPad site and there is no portable version listed. Neither is there a version on I wasn't 100% sure so I didn't removed the reference. --Calan (talk) 00:30, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

External links - removal[edit]

User:Ahunt blanked the external links section, marking it as WP:ELNO violation. I don't agree and, reading this talk, a lot of other users should disagree. A discussion needs to be opened in order to clarify this point. Blackvisionit (talk) 14:27, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

Could you explain why you disagree?--Regression Tester (talk) 15:33, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
Symbol oppose vote.png Because these links point too free (mostly open-source) portable resources. They are fully equivalent to dmoz-like-directories. Please notice also that this section has gained the approval of a lot of users per day (views). Hoping they will also be interested in taking part to this discussion. Blackvisionit (talk) 18:56, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

I've removed it as well. Looks like a linkfarm to me. Too bad that DMOZ doesn't have such a list. --Ronz (talk) 02:02, 19 November 2011 (UTC)

All-in or All-out are valid external link choices. I'd better expect the all-in option to be applied to a List of portable software. Don't be too proud that DMOZ isn't referring to the removed EL resources. They're all valid, and DMOZ is not a source of revealed truth. ZipoBibrok5x10^8 (talk) 20:37, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
All-in isn't valid. A list or two created and maintained by trustworthy organizations might be helpful. DMOZ is a poor substitute, but has general consensus for inclusion.
Anything else tends to violate WP:EL and WP:NOTLINK for this article. When editors aren't bothering to even check to see if an entry is listed as an article before adding an external link to it, the I think it best to follow the applicable policies and guidelines closely. --Ronz (talk) 01:43, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

VLC is not portable[edit]

It is portable in the sence that it can be compiled on different systems but in terms of storing its data it is not portable. There is an external initiative "VLC Portable" from portableapps but this build is done by the different people and this is simply a package to virtualize the VLC so it won't reach for system directories to store its data. Normal VLC always looks for user home dir and app data to store its settings. And authors are not so happy about existence of portable fork of their project also:

Rsk82 (talk) 10:14, 26 May 2013 (UTC)

MS Paint[edit]

I'm thinking about removing this. Is copying this commercial software to another computer even legal? Should we add all of the Microsoft games that are bundled with Windows to the games section? If I don't see any comments, I'll get rid of it. (talk) 13:42, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

inclusion criteria and external links[edit]

Is this list intended to be exhaustive of every single portable application, including applications that exist only as a single executable file (if yes, that means anybody can add their own little pet project to this list)? Or is it supposed to include only notable software? The vast majority of lists on Wikipedia are the latter, but the criteria for inclusion on such a list (in terms of notability) is more or less the existence of a Wikipedia article on the subject.

I started in on removing the various external links that violate WP:ELNO when I realized it wasn't clear if I should leave the unlinked entry or just remove it. Sure seems like the latter, but maybe others have other intentions. --— Rhododendrites talk |  23:13, 7 April 2014 (UTC)

Ok, well, I just removed a whole bunch of redlinks and external links. The inclusion criteria in terms of what is considered "portable software" is clear enough, but since it's not a list that can possibly be exhaustive, standard Wikipedia notability guidelines apply to what items are included. How about this: For software to be included on this list the minimum requirement is that it have a Wikipedia article or its parent software have a Wikipedia article. So "Portable Python" is ok, but "Bob's Programming Tool" or "Bob's Programming Tool" is not. Per WP:ELNO there shouldn't be external links in the list, either. If anywhere, it belongs at the respective software articles (e.g. a link to Portable Python at Python (programming language) not here). --— Rhododendrites talk |  16:13, 7 May 2014 (UTC)