Sunday, July 17, 2016

FAQ item: why doesn't portable software integrate with my computer?

This is unfortunately one of the trade-offs of using portable software; while PortableFreeware has easy backup/sync, transport, and generally cleaner behavior on a home system, it often doesn't smoothly integrate with the home system.

  • The fastest and simplest way: right-click on a file, select "Open With..." and choose a portable program, but you'll have to do this on every computer and every file association.
  • Some programs have a built-in associations manager that you can enable, but must be done on every computer.  XNViewMP for example has a program called "Associate files with XnViewMP.exe" while XMind has "Associate_XMind_File.bat"
  • Programs like CAFE/Coffee (and others) have appeared to try and address this integration question but generally require some energy to enable.

Related threads

Developing FAQ items

The following are items I hope to recommend for addition to the FAQ in the coming months.  Some are unclear or what they're trying to describe is something I'm still piecing together.

What's wrong with writing to the registry?

Although we still accept programs that write to the registry, we generally favor “stealth” programs that avoid this behavior.  This is because the more settings written over time, the slower and less stable the computer becomes. Many people I know make it a point to reinstall or re-image their entire computer every year to deal with this.


The Windows registry is a poorly-managed toolset designed (as far as I can tell) to enable trialware. If it weren't for the registry, a lot of people wouldn't buy Photoshop and instead would just reinstall every 30 days. To enable this, settings are written all over the place throughout a complex series of files across a given system. The system resists edition because manually removing these settings can cause system instability.

(I've also thought about another designation for a long time called "registry green" which make clear that registry entries are more problematic than AppData writes.)

What do you have against registerware/registrationware?  Answer/background.

Should this program be added?  What criteria makes a program ideal?  Answer/background.

Do we list apps that are in beta?  Yes. (more)

What do you have against adware?

Am I running 64-bit?  How do I know which version of the program to download?  Possible answer/background.

How do I test for portability?  Possible answer.

Why haven’t you looked at this program?  Possible answer.

Various flashdrive-related links (part 2)

USB Lock – use a USB drive to lock your computer (there's a ton of programs like this that I've been wanting to test for a long time)

USB drive Letter manager – to give a little more control over you portable programs, great if your system doesn't use relative links.  For example, the "G:\" drive rather than whatever drive a program is running on.

ImageUSB – write USB images to multiple drives, great if you're giving out a lot of small, cheap drives as part of a promo


See Part 1

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Various HOWTOs

I put together some HOWTOs that I use to solve problems using PortableFreeware.
  1. Check for duplicate links (inside a single page) with Xenu Link Checker
  2. A trick for helping with LibreOffice image anchoring
  3. Batch Word-to-PDF conversion process that includes use of FileOptimizer to compress everything (warning: command-line based)
 Two others that are just for Microsoft products:
  1. Enable old spellcheck in Microsoft Word (the new one sucks)
  2. PowerPoint trick keep an object on top (great when you have to markup 100 different slides)

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Introductions to portable software

I've been trying to put together a more formal introduction to portability for some time and have made some headway: