Week 7 – Portable Apps

Welcome to the world of PortableApps.
[NOTE: This module requires the use of a USB flash drive with a recommended memory of at least 512MB. If you do not have access to one, please contact Karrie.]


Why PortableApps?
If you frequently find yourself working from multiple PCs, and want the comfort and convenience of your own computer with your own programs, then PortableApps is the way to go. It is a free open source software that allows you to download your favorite applications to a USB drive to carry with you to use on any PC. Currently, there are over 300 available applications. Some categories and popular apps are as follows:

  • Accessibility (On-Screen Keyboard, Dicom, Virtual Magnifying Glass)
  • Development (Notepad2, Database Browser, SQLite)
  • Education (Celestia, Mnemosyne, TypeFaster Typing Tutor)
  • Games (Brutal Chess, Hedgewars, Sudoku)
  • Graphics and Pictures (Blender, GIMP, JPEGView)
  • Internet (aMSN, Google Chrome, Mozilla Thunderbird)
  • Music and Video (Audacity, DVDStyler, XMPlay)
  • Office (Stickies, KeepNote, PDFTK Builder)
  • Security (Eraser, KeePass, Spybot)
  • Utilities (FontForge, Windows Error Lookup Tool, ConvertAll)

The following YouTube video gives an overview of PortableApps including an overview on the installation process:


1. Go to PortableApps.com and download the current version. Choose your flash drive as the destination to save to.

2. Open PortableApps from your flash drive to see the platform menu. The first time you do this, a directory of available apps should pop up (the directory can always be accessed by clicking on the “Apps” icon and selecting “Get More Apps”).

3. Select your apps. A good place to start would be to select a browser such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox from the “Internet” menu. Play around! Select some apps you are familiar with (how do the portable versions measure up?) and some that are new to you.

4. Make any desktop your own. In addition to the hundreds of apps to choose from, you can also change the look of any computer you are using. Simply save a favorite background image as “portableapps_wallpaper.bmp” to the Pictures folder, and the next time PortableApps opens up, this image will become your wallpaper.

Blog about it
After you’ve experimented with PortableApps, share your experiences on your blog. How do you see it being used in your library? Who do you think would benefit? What would be your ideal suite of apps (feel free to include apps that are currently not available through PortableApps)?

This Learning 2.0 module was originally designed and implemented by students in Dr. Michael StephensTransformative Literacies class in the Spring of 2013. This class is part of San Jose State University’s School of Library and Information Science curriculum. It was authored and adapted by James Yurasek with the Public Library Group for East Greenbush Library. It is available for use for other libraries or institutions.


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