PortableApps.com Suite: The Best Portable Applications Manager & Database

PortableApps intro image1   PortableApps.com Suite: The Best Portable Applications Manager & DatabasePortable applications are no secret – they have grown in popularity as their benefits continually become more well known. PortableApps.com should be given a lot of credit for this. Sure there are several portable application suites available, but PortableApps.com has contributed a great amount to how portable applications are being used.

In fact, I hadn’t heard of portable applications in general until I discovered PortableApps.com. From its interface to online database of portable software, PortableApps.com has been the go-to source for a lot of users seeking a wide variety of such applications.

Now if you are still sitting on the fence wondering whether you should use portable applications, let alone PortableApps.com, I highly encourage you to check out 3 Ways The Portable Apps Platform Will Make Your Life Easier by Jessica. I can almost guarantee that you’ll be eager to use it after reading her article.

What Is The PortableApps.com Suite?

As the title of this article implies, it is a piece of software which you install on your portable devices (e.g. portable hard drive or flash drive) to manage other portable applications. However, PortableApps.com is the website where not only the suite is downloaded from, but also its portable apps. Although portable apps from other sources can be used with the suite as well, most of the time you won’t have to go outside PortableApps.com.

One major detail that I haven’t covered yet is that PortableApps is open source and free, meaning that not only do you not pay anything, but that its code is accessible to any developer who wishes to add on to the project. In the past, there has been commercial software that has tried to do what PortableApps has done, but in the end, open source and free have won out.

For more information, I suggest you read the about page on PortableApps.com. It’s a short and quite interesting read.

What Can I Install PortableApps On?

PA Web Screenshot portable devices   PortableApps.com Suite: The Best Portable Applications Manager & Database

Be creative. Certainly the most popular portable device is the flash drive. Then it’s the portable hard drive. But there are other devices that the Portable Apps Suite can be used on too. An image on the homepage shows some of the other options now such as your iPod, Dropbox and even SD card. In fact, I had the idea to try it out on an SD card long before I knew it could work and was pleasantly surprised. Being able to carry PortableApps around on an SD card in my cell phone? I think yes.

Or how about your MP3 player? It doesn’t only have to be iPods either. In addition, there are a lot of uses for Dropbox, but one of the greatest is being able to access your programs no matter where you are. Simply install PortableApps in your Dropbox and then start downloading and installing programs directly into your Dropbox. Then no matter where you are with an Internet access you can run your programs – pretty nifty!

But like I said, be creative. I’m sure there are other cloud storage and sync solutions which PortableApps works just as well in.

It’s All About The Interface

Sure features are great and they certainly play a major role in a program like PortableApps being successful, but so does the interface. And actually, I’d say that they’re almost at equal importance. PortableApps has gone through some changes and made some excellent improvements in the recent years and continues to get better.

Right now, I can confidently say that the interface is the best it’s ever looked and is probably the easiest one to use that you’ll find.

PA Interface   PortableApps.com Suite: The Best Portable Applications Manager & Database

Key Features That Make PortableApps The Best

I might quickly say to refer to Jessica’s article which I referenced to earlier, as it goes into perfect detail of some of the best features in PortableApps. Since there is that article, I will only briefly cover each one, reminding you again to read her article.

Organize Apps With Smart Lists

I love this feature. I’m all about organizing files and programs into the most logical and easiest accessible way, so when PortableApps added this feature I was pretty excited. It’s nice to have several different options depending on your preference. Personally, I like organizing by category.

PA Options General App List Organization   PortableApps.com Suite: The Best Portable Applications Manager & Database

Easily Backup & Restore Your Apps

So you have accumulated quite a few applications now, what happens if you lose that flash drive or your portable hard drive fails? Well, PortableApps thought it all out and included a backup/restore feature. Note that this isn’t just for your applications, but it can also back up all your files.

PA Backup   PortableApps.com Suite: The Best Portable Applications Manager & Database

Theme & Customize Your Interface

Everyone enjoys a program that they can customize to be their own. PortableApps allows you to do just that. There’s several styles and colors of themes.

PA Options Themes   PortableApps.com Suite: The Best Portable Applications Manager & Database

In addition to changing the style and color of your PortableApps menu, you can also make some other changes like whether to display the scrollbar or hide the word “Portable” in front of app names to save space.

PA Options Advanced   PortableApps.com Suite: The Best Portable Applications Manager & Database

Of course both of these features can be accessed simply through the Options link on the menu and then by selecting the appropriate tab.

Download New Apps & Updates Within The Manager

Another more recent feature of the PortableApps Suite is the ability to download and install apps right from the manager itself, instead of going to the website, searching for the app, downloading it and then running the executable file.

PA Download New Apps   PortableApps.com Suite: The Best Portable Applications Manager & Database

To update existing apps (including the PortableApps Suite itself) click Apps, then Check For Updates.

Easy Access To “Popular” Folders

Lastly, PortableApps allows easy access to your “most used” folders such as Documents, Pictures, etc. I place “popular” and “most used” in quotes because this can’t be changed by you and is only assumed to likely be the ones you want to access most of the time.

Hopefully a feature will come out soon that will allow a little more control in this area, but if not, this is still a great benefit as it is.


Now that you are familiar with PortableApps, you need to get the best portable applications, which you can see right here on MakeUseOf.

The PortableApps.com Suite is certainly not the only application out there that manages your portable applications, but I feel it is certainly the best given its plethora of apps, excellent all-inclusive features, clean, easy-to-use interface… need I say more?

Now let’s hear from you! What do you think about PortableApps? And if you haven’t tried it, has Jessica’s and my articles convinced you to?

The comments were closed because the article is more than 180 days old.

If you have any questions related to what's mentioned in the article or need help with any computer issue, ask it on MakeUseOf Answers—We and our community will be more than happy to help.


Areeb Majeed

Nice Tool!

Declan Lopez

sounds pretty cool

Paul Girardin

It’s time for me to take a second look @ Portableapps

Thanks for the heads up!

Ramon Mondragon

definitely putting this in my usb drive.

Ashwin Ramesh

Sounds good… Thanks Aaron!

Deekshith Allamaneni

I was using it from years. Its a great piece of software and the tools are many. Only one thing is it is available only for Windows and I use Linux most of the time.

Garey Boone

I use this as well as liberkey


Is Liberkey still supported? I stopped using it as it was not providing updates. Updating applications individually was bothersome.

Garey Boone

Now that you mentioned it I took a long look at their forum and it looks like the project has been abandoned.I think it’s time to just use portable apps.If liberkey is not actively updating the software that leaves a lot of possible security risks. Thanks for the info I had no idea.

Garey Boone

This software is great on a usb thumb drive but it’s even better if you reuse an old laptop drive with something like an IDE to usb adapter which you can pickup pretty cheap these days also easier to carry than a laptop too.Totally worth it if you happen to be the family and extended family tech guy.

Vampie C.

This is something I have on my usb stick and on my external HD for some years now.

I even installed it locally on my PC on the D disk.
This way, I have “portable” programs on my hard disk, witch dont’ impact my OS. :-)

Great write up :-)


Portable Apps is definitely the easiest way to use a great many programs; I have it on a USB stick and an external hard drive. For a completely free offering like this, the amount of time the people behind it give to the project is tremendous. Support them as much as you can.

Ahmed Khalil

Is the portable applications usually free or it is like normal one need licence and bay for it

Vampie C.

All the programs that you can install with portableapps are free.
You should never pay for a portable apps program.

Laga Mahesa

… however, many apps have been made portable using cracked versions. Without the crack, it wouldn’t be possible to make them portable.

Dimal Chandrasiri

is it ok to stress the USB device by using this apps! :( M worried.

Laga Mahesa

‘Portable’ apps are usually distributed as a single EXE, which is basically a self-extracting archive – the REAL launch exe is inside. The best way to minimize the impact on an important USB drive is to unpack it yourself and directly run the exe, via shortcuts… this is probably necessary, as the launcher menu will doubtlessly no longer work with that app.

Florian Chevallier

Sounds to be a great tool, thanx !

Hatem Sindi

cool, will give it a try

Laga Mahesa

The fact that such a tool is necessary makes me sad. The nightmare that is the Windows registry, the horrific habit that major developers have of dribbling DLLs all over the place, and Microsoft’s ENFORCEMENT of this behaviour in Windows 7 has pretty much put an end to an era when nearly every application was portable, as everything was in the one folder with the possible exception of user settings.


Liberkey seems dead …. I haven’t had an update in months.

salim benhouhou

sounds good to me


Thinks it time for me to create one – would be handy to use when using friends computers and never find apps I can use (as a mac user I don’t fell familiar with all windows apps)


One neat thing about this site is that you can also just download the single portable app by itself, you don’t need the whole launcher.
This is great if you’re on a public computer and decide you need some program (like another browser) but don’t have your flash drive, you can just download Chrome or Firefox individually and run them.

You can also just extract the contents of the installer most of the time and it will run fine.

Jack Hecker

I carry a USB drive with these everywhere I go. Very handy at work, as well.


I prefer Pstart. It lets you choose your own portable apps. Far better and far more customisable that PortableApps suite. Also lighter on resources.

sri charan

wonderful app!!

Mark Alsisto

since it will run through the usb port, wont it affect performance of the portable apps u opened?


I have used this app for years. I would highly recommend it.

Edwin Williams

Nice article! Gonna get on this quick!

Laxminarain Ragunathan

Sounds interesting!

Charles Fillinger

I find Portable Apps to be both useful and FUN. A great combination for work and home time.


Time to check this out! Thanks

Igor Rizvi?

On my second computer i use usb stick with this little toolkit,not a single program installed :)

Nethu Alahakoon

i use portable VLC since my crappy university doesn’t allow me to watch any videos in their lab!

Alex Perkins

What apps will be on the Lacie Cookeys? Does anyone know if it will be a selection or all of them?

Jacob patton

I’ll have to give portable apps a try again. I looked at it a few years ago, but didn’t end up using it. (and now that I have several 4GB flash drive, I’d be glad to have a portable system. )

Aaron Couch

I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised Jacob. Thanks for reading and feel free to let me know what your thoughts are on PA now.

Douglas Mutay

I use Liberkey but it seems like this PortableApps.com Suite has some cool features and apps Liberkey doesn’t have. Thanks, will give it a try.

Anandu B Ajith

How did you put your image in it

Aaron Couch

Questions such as this are best asked at MakeUseOf Answers (http://makeuseof.com/answers/ask/).

However, here’s the instructions via PortableApps on doing this:

“…just move your mouse over the upper-right region of the menu. A highlight box will appear. Click it and select the picture you wish to add. 48×48 pixel images work best. To remove your personal picture, just right-click on it. You can use BMP, JPG or PNG files. Transparent PNGs are supported and when you choose a PNG, the outline is removed.”

Link: http://portableapps.com/support/portable_apps_suite#personalpicture


cool and very useful when you go to travel