Description: Toucan has a simple interface for syncing and backing up. It allows you to easily keep the same files and folders on multiple locations. If you want to sync to a flash drive, just use its "mirror (update)" function to periodically add new programs and remove unwanted programs from the flash drive. Or use its backup tab to archive your folders and files to a backup location. The encryption and other components look much more complicated for some users. But it comes with a help manual if you need its advanced features.
"If you are looking for a light weight portable backup solution this little app has your number. It supports incremental and differential backups, zip or 7-zip compression, AES 256 bit encryption using ccrypt, and a simple restore feature." Verified TruPortable.
Another interesting approach is to backup portable apps or your essential archives to a secure online backup site. For example, Windows Live Skydrive allows 25 GB of space, or use DropBox if you don't need as much space and want to share files. See our review for other options.
Description: Keeping software up-to-date is sometimes essential for security, especially with critical Windows updates and risky software (browsers, office document apps, media players, PDF viewers, Java/Flash player plugins, etc.). Secunia OSI is an excellent online app to run every once in awhile, but it requires the Java plugin. It searches for apps with security flaws, and it scans for Windows patches to make sure you haven't forgotten or ignored the sometimes annoying Windows update messages! But it's limited to risky and common software.
To check for newer versions of the rest of your software, you can use a general software update monitor to automatically search your PC for applications in need of updates. FileHippo's Update Checker is "easy to use and provides direct download links" from a very reliable site. You can also click on "Settings" and add custom search locations, such as for your portable app folders. But it only searches for the updates of apps listed on its download site, so it may not be enough on its own and may require supplemental manual update checking. Writes setting changes to registry.
Description: Again Windows comes with only very basic screen capture features. You can use the "Print Screen" button to copy the screen to the clipboard (or hit ALT at the same time to copy an active window to the clipboard), but PicPick has better flexibility and features, and many additional tools. It's "user friendly and suitable for most average users. A right click on the tray icon shows a context menu for capturing full screen, active window, window control, rectangular, fixed or freehand region. Supports auto-scroll, dual monitors, sound effect and multiple formats. An image editor is included, plus extra features such as a color picker, screen ruler, protractor, cross hair and whiteboard." Verified TruPortable.
Alternate Products: FastStone Capture (TruPortable)
Description: If you have had two or three windows Explorers open, then you might benefit from a feature rich file manager. xplorer² lite "is easy to use and learn, has a similar interface to Windows Explorer, and supports dual panes and folder tabs." Now, if I could just remember to use it! Verified TruPortable.
Description: Encrypts your files to protect your personal information while in transit or in cases of stolen or lost computers or flash drives, or just to lock out prying eyes and malware from your personal or private files. "TrueCrypt is a seasoned, widely-used encryption program. Its open source status allows the all-important peer review of the source code required for a trustworthy encryption program." Limited function in portable version and writes settings to registry.
Other types of freeware also encrypt to some extent, such as file archive and folder sync programs.
Alternate Products: FreeOTFE (Creates entries in registry)
Description: A much better app for archiving is the portable 7-Zip. It allows you to compress, encrypt, and set passwords for your backups. I found it easy to use. It was especially good for uncompressing files/folders in its file manager. "It's easy to install, gives meaningful error messages, and is capable of uncompressing from multiple embedded files. Even though it handles fewer archive types than some other programs, it's a fantastic program that will fill 99% of all your file archiving needs." Verified TruPortable.
Use Peazip or IZArc (etc.) below if you need additional formats.
Editor's Advisory Note: IZArc is now bundled with OpenCandy. See this article for more information.
Description: Recuva is a "quick simple solution, copes well with the flash memory used in digital cameras, MP3 players, or USB drives". It recovers files from damaged or formatted drives, deleted emails (Outlook, Thunderbird Windows Live), and deleted iPod music. On its default settings, it has fast scans, but if you need to do a deep scan to find a deleted file, then it will take much longer. Make sure to recover files to a different drive to improve your chances of recovery. As a nice extra, it can erase most files it finds. Verified TruPortable.
Description: Windows has some built-in system information features in its control panel. But SIW is a much better option and it does even more than all the scattered Windows tools lurking in unseen places. It "displays detailed specs for motherboard, BIOS, CPU, devices, memory, video, disk drives, ports, printers, operating system, installed programs, processes, services, serial numbers (CD keys), users, open files, system uptime, network, network shares, as well as real-time monitors for CPU, memory, page file usage and network traffic. It also displays currently active network connections, passwords hidden behind asterisks, installed codecs, and more."
I did receive an antivirus warning for its Eureka password revealer, but that's a false positive if user initiated. The network activity meter didn't work for me (probably my firewall is the culprit). And I much prefer to use the handy Process Explorer to view running processes and CPU/Memory activity. But the great thing about SIW is that it brings together all your system information into one portable app. Verified TruPortable. Advisory: SIW is bundled with OpenCandy. More information here.
Description: "It finds files on your hard drive faster than any product we’ve tested. Even on a terabyte sized drives containing hundreds of thousands of files your search results appear near instantaneously. That’s impressive in itself but there's more. Everything indexes your disks in seconds rather than hours. That means no more laborious background indexing that slows your computer to a crawl. Everything only searches file names not the contents of files. However in this role it is a product without peer." Verified TruPortable.
Related Portable Apps
- Duplicate File Detector (All TruPortable): CloneSpy | Easy Duplicate File Finder
- Disk Analyzer: TreeSize Free | Folder Size | WinDirStat
- Virtual Desktop Managers: VirtuaWin | Yod'm 3D
- Process Viewer: Process Explorer (Writes settings to registry)
- Rename Utility: Lupas Rename | Bulk Rename Utility
- Clipboard Replacement: ArsClip (TruPortable) | Ditto
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