Have you ever tried doing real work on your phone or tablet? Is your day-to-day job paying bills? It can be done, but with just a touchscreen it’s a real pain, isn’t it?
There are some things you just need a real keyboard and mouse for. But if you need to start lugging around your keyboard and mouse, you can also carry your laptop with you. Do you really want to do it wherever you go?
However, almost wherever you go, you can easily find a desktop computer that you can use. Most hotels, every library and school, even the big supermarkets, if you are really in trouble, have computers that you can use for free. This is where portable apps come in handy.
What makes mobile apps portable?
The beauty of the portable app is that it doesn’t need to be installed on the host computer to work. It is an executable file that only requires what is on the USB and the power of the computer’s CPU and RAM to run.
The portable application does not automatically write anything to the host computer as a file or registry entry to run. Any settings required by the app are written back to the same folder where the app is stored on your USB device.
We cannot say that all portable applications leave no footprint on the host, but what remains, if any, is as minimal as possible.
What are portable applications?
Hundreds, if not thousands, of portable applications are available to you. Most of them are also available for free. At the time of this writing, there are at least 10 legitimate portable application download sites, many of which have several hundred applications listed.
Of course, there will be some overlap between the sites, but it will still be difficult for you not to find an application for what you would like to do. Some of the apps you probably recognize by names include:
- Google Drive
There are applications for office work, accounting, audio production, desktop publishing, graphic design, 3D design, web design, application development, encryption, system administration, e-book management, torrent downloads, music players, file management, and also games, games and more games.
Read our previous article, â€œ12 Convenient Tools You Can Save to a USB Flash Drive,â€ to understand how a USB Portable Application Device can help you.
Beyond that, there are ways to turn many common desktop applications into portable ones. It is not always possible or easy, but it is possible. The possibilities for how to do this are much wider than in this article. We covered a way to do this in the article “Create a portable version of any application on Windows”.
Where do I get mobile applications?
First, you should know that having a portable application launcher is a good idea. Think of it like the Windows Start menu, but only portable applications on a USB stick. The launcher can also manage the update and installation of portable applications.
Perhaps the most popular launcher is from PortableApps.com Another good launcher is LiberKey If you want to launch an IT technology toolbox, you should also consider adding NirSoft Launcher to your USB drive. A good repository of portable applications can also be found at PenDriveApps.com
Portable apps equal mobile security
Isn’t it great that there are so many public computers in the world today? Some of them are even available outside, all day long, all year round!
However, there are two problems here: computers may not have the necessary software, and they are probably not very secure.
We looked at how portable apps solve the problem on a public computer that doesn’t have the software you need. Now let’s talk about the security issue.
Every web browser needs to know what you are watching, what you last viewed, and it will want to cache information and store cookies so that the websites you use run faster and better.
As such, many of them are not configured to remove this information on close. What should stop the next person from logging in and seeing what you saw, or worse, seeing what you typed? This can be any personal information, from usernames and passwords to banking or medical information.
But with a portable web browser of the application, neither history, cookies, nor cache need to be written to the computer. All this is written to the browser folder on the USB stick. Plus, you can always take your bookmarks with you.
An even safer step would be to use a virtual private network (VPN) whenever you use a public computer. There are portable VPN clients that you can use.
All of your web traffic now goes through a secure channel, making it much more difficult for attackers to sniff out your secrets. If you don’t have a VPN subscription, check out our recommended VPN services
But there is still a question, is there information on your USB drive and there is a possibility of losing it. What prevents someone from picking it up, connecting it to their computer and getting complete freedom of action over everything on it? Wearable encryption apps, that’s what. With a portable encryption application like VeraCrypt, you can make this data inaccessible and unusable by anyone other than you.
Portable rescue applications
Perhaps the driving force behind portable applications was a computer technician who needed a cute little toolbox full of their favorite troubleshooting apps. Don’t be fooled by the tiny size of these apps! Some of them are extremely powerful and can help you save your computer or become a hero to friends and family.
There are several antivirus and malware detection applications that you can use without knowing anything about computers that can revive a sick system.
There are also file recovery apps like Recuva that can help you get an accidentally deleted file back from the dead. There are even password and license key recovery apps that you can use to get back to the programs and websites you want.
Feel free to download and try out a few of these different maintenance apps. It’s a great way to learn more about your computer or computer in the library, and how to keep things running smoothly and quickly.
So, why should you bother again?
Despite the fact that your phone is more powerful than the first supercomputer to beat a human in chess, it is still inconvenient to use it for real work. Seeing everything on a screen 5x your phone’s size, a full-sized keyboard and mouse, and keeping all your files and programs in one neat package the size of a USB stick is too good to pass up.
Plus, you can be sure you didn’t leave any personal information on the public computer you were working on because you used a portable browser and VPN. Any information on this USB device is also protected because you used a portable encryption app.
Then the time will come when the computer will not perform well, and you will be in place with all the tools to help bring it to life. Think of it as a computer first aid kit that fits in a small pocket.
Don’t forget about the price. Is free. Who doesn’t love free? All free software, peace of mind, and the ability to use it anywhere should be reason enough for anyone to have a USB drive full of portable applications.