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Old 30. Jul 2013, 06:33 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Portable software only used on flash drives?

Ok..going to continue with dumb questions....

When you say or use the term "portable" my automatic assumption is that you are referring to programs that you put on a flash drive or a zip drive. In other words, not installed on your PC, instead, on some type of removable media.

However, this statement confused me:

Quote:
Once it is saved, cut and move the zip file to a location of your choice. In my case, I created a folder in my documents library named "Portable Apps". In there I have sub-folders for each of my portable apps.
When I think of my documents library, I think my Windows 7 "library" which are on my PC; on my hard drive. So, I'm confused; unless you've created a my documents folder on your flash drive or else have moved your libraries over to a flash drive?!

Again, by definition, aren't "portable apps" portable? In other words, they are not installed on your PC? Then, I have to assume that you are installing your pdf viewer on a flash drive?!
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Last edited by Anupam; 31. Jul 2013 at 07:18 AM.
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Old 30. Jul 2013, 06:34 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Kendall, portable software doesn't have to be run from portable drives. In this sense it merely means "non-installed".

For instance on my laptop I have a directory "D:\Portable Apps\" which contains a huge number of programs that I use a lot but which aren't actually installed, if you see what I mean. The advantage is that when I have to wipe/restore my C:\ drive, then I don't have to re-install all that software as it is already there on D:\ ready to be used.

That being said, portable software does come with its own set of issues and difficulties. Aside from the problem sometimes of getting them to work as default file-handlers, as in the case of PdfXchange here, it's also not guaranteed that they don't create registry entries and/or folders and files in Windows directories. A lot of "portable" programs do indeed write in the registry and in Appdata ... there's a difference between "non-install portable", and "stealth portable" which is a bit off-topic for this thread I think.

Also, Libraries aren't directories as such, but shortcuts to directories, or "symbolic links" to give them (I think) their correct name.

Last edited by Anupam; 31. Jul 2013 at 07:22 AM. Reason: Edited out content not relevant to the topic
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Old 30. Jul 2013, 06:40 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kendall.a View Post
Again, by definition, aren't "portable apps" portable? In other words, they are not installed on your PC? Then, I have to assume that you are installing your pdf viewer on a flash drive?!
Portable apps are indeed "portable", meaning they can be carried on a flash drive. Why? Because portable apps do not need to be installed like the other programs, and they do not create any folders in system folders, like Program Files, or Windows, and they do not write to registry(ideally). That is the reason why they can be carried on a flash drive and used anywhere.

So, portable does not mean that you carry them on flash drive necessarily. Portable essentially means that the program will have all that it requires to run in a single folder, and won't create any folders/files/registry entries in other parts of the system, like normal programs.

That is why Joe said that he keeps his portable collection of software in a separate folder, where he has created a folder for every portable program.
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Old 30. Jul 2013, 06:53 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by sicknero View Post
*Edit .. Kendall, portable software doesn't have to be run from portable drives. In this sense it merely means "non-installed".
Exactly. A portable software isn't just the one that's to be used on your flash drive. It simply means that the software is stand-alone. It doesn't edit the configuration of the PC (registry) and is only present on the storage device (hard disk or usb)

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Originally Posted by sicknero View Post
That being said, portable software does come with its own set of issues and difficulties. Aside from the problem sometimes of getting them to work as default file-handlers, as in the case of PdfXchange here, it's also not guaranteed that they don't create registry entries and/or folders and files in Windows directories. A lot of "portable" programs do indeed write in the registry and in Appdata ... there's a difference between "non-install portable", and "stealth portable" which is a bit off-topic for this thread I think.
To check the stealth of a portable application, I visit http://www.portablefreeware.com/ and from the information about Foxit at the site, it's stealth portable.
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Old 30. Jul 2013, 06:56 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Kendall if you have portable applications installed on your hard drive, then you could use portable launchers like Launchy or Portable Start Menu (which I use) for ease of use.
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Old 30. Jul 2013, 07:02 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Kendall, when I install a portable app, I choose the installation folder to be located at Users>Bo>My documents. The installation also makes a copy to Library>Documents. If I want to get rid of the install, I just delete the folder in My documents and both folders get deleted.

In my case, I sort of being forced into using portable apps. At least, thats the case with Foxit. I also use Libre office portable in my W7. In both cases, I am very happy to be using the portable version. Most portable programs install everything in one folder but I know there are exceptions. I think Firefox portable does install a folder in AppData out of the portable folder, in the real system.

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Old 30. Jul 2013, 07:30 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Putting a portable app in \My Documents\ doesn't actually cause a copy to be created in Library\Documents, it's just a shortcut. Library locations aren't "real" locations.

The same thing happens if, for example, you right-click a folder full of pics and select "Include in Library"... it doesn't create a copy of the folder but a shortcut which you will see whenever you open Libraries\Pictures. This is the whole point of Libraries, it's intended as a way of organising your personal folders without having to actually move them in reality.

Last edited by Anupam; 31. Jul 2013 at 07:23 AM. Reason: Edited out content not relevant to the topic
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Old 30. Jul 2013, 07:48 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by sicknero View Post
Putting a portable app in \My Documents\ doesn't actually cause a copy to be created in Library\Documents, it's just a shortcut. Library locations aren't "real" locations.
You know how portable apps work better than me, I called it a copy because it seems to me that it is occupying space.

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Last edited by Anupam; 31. Jul 2013 at 07:23 AM. Reason: Edited out content not relevant to the topic
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Old 30. Jul 2013, 08:05 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Sorry for the confusion Kendall, but by "documents library" I do mean the one under Windows on my C: drive.

I also see you have had some very useful replies in the short time I was away. All of the points made are very valid. Of note are the ones about whether a portable app is truly self-contained or "stealth".

Like Bo said, you can choose any location to save by "browsing" when you download a program. Personally, I like to make it a habit to download to my "Downloads" folder while in a sandbox; scan the download; recover the sandboxed file; then move it as I please.

Sicknero, I see I made a mistake and quoted the wrong function in my previous post, it should be Control Panel-->Programs-->Default Programs-->Make a file type always open in a specific program. Just scroll down to .pdf and click it; click the Change program box; if your chosen program doesn't show up in the next window, use the Browse button to navigate to it's .exe file.

Actually, I wanted to start a thread to ask other members what they think about portable apps, but I see a lot of that is coming out in this thread already.
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Old 30. Jul 2013, 08:19 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Aha thanks Joe, I wondered if that was what you meant. The same end can be acheived by using the Open With context menu item, or the dialog that pops up when you try to open a file that has no assigned program.

There's also the very useful Default Programs Editor which includes several neat features such as allowing you to add icons to the menu entry and so on.

I was just curious, as learning how to manually add programs to the Default Programs manager in Control Panel is one of my pet projects at the moment.

I think a thread on portable software in general is an excellent idea... I use such programs a lot and I don't doubt we could have a very interesting and useful discussion of the pros and cons etc.
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