Handy portable applications

What other productivity software are you working with...
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Posts: 30
Joined: 21 Oct 2020 23:33

Handy portable applications

Post by WirlyWirly »

I've only been using XYplorer for a few days, prior to this I was using Q-Dir, which boasts a unique feature that lets you have 4 panes at once (though I only ever used dual-panes).

That said, after using this for a bit and customizing it with various scripts, I love that everything is still portable. I can switch between my PC and laptop no problem. I do a backup of my entire PortableApps folder every night (which I keep XYplorer in), so once I'm done tinkering with XY, it's nice to know that I'll never have to re-configure my file manager again. That's what makes portable applications awesome; You can reset your computer or buy a new one and have all your applications just how you like them. No hunting down configuration files scattered across your system, nor will you have to re-install and re-configure a program a second time. Once and done! (As long as you make backups!). It's the #1 reason I use windows over Linux.

I've been using portable applications for the last half decade, and since I've started I've happily never had to re-configure my programs from scratch or lost any of my settings. I take advantage of this freedom and reset my pc every month to get that fresh-clean new-computer feeling (though it never gets dirty to begin with since all my portableapps keep my system pretty vanilla).

If you haven't already, definitely check out the list of programs for the PortableApps launcher. All of these are completely free to use, include automatic updates, and are of course fully portable. You'll find lots of popular ones too like FireFox/Chrome/Opera, QBitTorrent/Transmission/uTorrent, LibreOffice, KeePass(XC), and various others that you are probably already using.

Apart from the official list of PortableApps, check out these lists...
  • mwayne's PortableApps: Hidden inside the PortableApps forums, mrwayne has made and maintains portable versions of well known programs, all of which are packaged in the PortableApps launcher style. You'll find things like AutoHotKey, Kodi, Everything, MKVTool Nix, etc. These are all little gems that most people never know about unless they go spelunking. Check out the beta forums themselves for lots more portableapps created by various users
  • PortApps: Not part of the PortableApps project, but fundamentally the same thing. They have portable versions of things like Discord, Skype, VSCode, OpenVPN, WhatsApp, etc. Lots of big name stuff going on here!

Here's a few more honorable mentions that you should definitely have in your arsenal!
  • GitPortable: If you've ever used bash on Linux, you'll know how superior it is to the built-in cmd prompt on windows. Luckily for us, there exists the Git for Windows project, which includes a bash terminal and its core functionality! As a bonus, it includes the command line version of the Vim editor! Then, cherry on the cake, this guy goes and makes a fully portable version based on the PortableApps launcher! Awesome!
  • WinPython: If you write python, this is a portable interpreter that you can carry with you. You don't have to worry about python being installed on the host in order to run your scripts. With a portable interpreter, your scripts become portable and can be used in interesting ways. One way I use them is by launching them from XYplorer to perform various actions. The power of python everywhere you go.
  • Sizer4.0: This neat little program lets you create a preset window size and its position on your screen. Then, once you've defined your presets, you can use a hotkey to bring up a little menu that lets you pick which one you want to use on the current window. If you code, you probably have a bunch of windows open with various programs. Using this, you can maximize your screen space quickly, while keeping everything neat.
  • Rainmeter: Rainmeter is well known for customizing your desktop, but the nice thing about it is that they offer a portable download. I've asked the developer and he's told me that the portable Rainmeter download is indeed fully portable. Nothing gets left behind on the host. Therefore, this makes it perfect for creating a stylish/functional launcher for your portable applications. The built-in launcher of the PortableApps project is, in my opinion, pretty basic. It is handy for listing out all your applications, but there are obviously a handful that are used 100x more often than others. Having quick desktop access is nice, but regular shortcuts break between computers. Since the Rainmeter code supports relative paths, you can create shortcuts that never brake! My most-used programs are available to me through a Rainmeter skin, that I can bring to the top of my screen with a quick keyboard shortcut. I can either click the icon or use a corresponding hotkey to start that program. I rarely have to use the PortableApps launcher anymore.
  • Bulk Rename Utility: For those times when you want a functional GUI for performing batch renaming jobs, this tool has been the best I've ever used. Add prefixes, remove characters, numbering, regex, etc. This program does it all and works beautifully.
That's my ramble, I'd love to know about any other portable applications that people are using. I'm always looking for a portable program that can replace an installed one or that will be useful to have at the ready!

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