The choices are to either use the available alternatives, install our favorite apps (if possible), or wait until we can use our own computer at home. Plus what about the times when we have to re-install our favourite OS? What will happen to our favorite apps then? We have to re-install them one by one.
It would be nice if we could pack everything up in one portable app, so those apps will always be available whenever we need them – in any possible scenario. Mac users don’t have any problem with this particular issue because basically all Mac apps are portable. But things work differently in the Windows world. Luckily, there’s a portable applications creator called Cameyo.
Cameyo calls itself “Application Virtualization” and what it does is turn ordinary Windows applications (or groups of applications) into one independent executable package that can be run from any Windows machine. In other words, a portable application.
To be able to do that, Cameyo requires you, the user, to go through the real installation process of the application that you want to transform into a portable app. Cameyo will gather data from the installation to know the required components to build the portable app.
But before you install other apps, you have to install Cameyo first.
Then open Cameyo, and you will see two options: “Capture Installation” and “Edit Existing Package“. Choose the first one to create a portable app. If you’ve done this before, you’ll have the list of your portable apps on the right pane and you can use “Edit existing package” to modify them.
Cameyo will take a snapshot of your system prior to the installation of the soon-to-be portable app. This process could take a while depending on how “messy” your system is and how powerful the hardware is.
After the preliminary snapshot, Cameyo will give you the safe signal to proceed with the installation of the app.
Install the application(s) that you want to turn into a portable app. As an example, I used one of my favorite games: Crayon Physics.
Then after the installation, go back to the small “Proceed with installation” window and click the “Install done” button. But if you want to build a package that consist of several applications, you should go and install other apps before clicking that button.
Cameyo will take another snapshot of your system. Please be warned though that this one will be longer than the first one – a lot longer. During my experiment, it took so long that I thought the process was a failure. I restarted everything just to find out that this “speedy snapshot process” was normal.
This so-called “Post Installation Snapshot” will be compared with the first snapshot taken before installation and the comparison will be analyzed to find the differences in the system. As the logic goes, these differences are the required components needed to run the application. Cameyo will put them together along with the “real” executable of the app and build a standalone portable app.
That’s why it’s advisable that you quit any running applications and stop all other activities on your computer before going through with the process of building portable apps so that the detected changes in the snapshots are purely from the installation process of the apps.
Building The Portable
After the long wait, Cameyo will continue with the building process. The “Main executable” window will appear. You’ll have to edit/confirm several things before clicking the “OK” button: the name of the (portable) app, the location to save the app, and which executable is the main exe to run every time this package is opened.
From the example below, the one that we should choose as the main exe is “launcher.exe“.
Click “OK” and Cameyo will start building your portable app.
You’ll have the “Success” window afterward, along with the summary of the saved location.
Congratulations! You’ve just built your portable app. Back up the folder to be used later and/or copy it onto a USB drive if you want to run the app on another Windows system.
After playing around with the Cameyo portable applications creator for a short while, I can say that there’s still large room for improvement – especially in the snapshot department. My experiment was a success but some of my friends reported that there are some applications that don’t go along well with Cameyo.
Why not take Cameyo for a ride and tell us the results using the comments section below?
Image credit: bfishadow