Running software directly from a USB flash drive (with images)

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Running software directly from a USB flash drive (with images)
Running software directly from a USB flash drive (with images)
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Windows users can run software from a USB flash drive by installing PortableApps.com, which allows them to search for apps to download. If you have a Mac, you can search for apps and install them on a USB drive via SourceForge. You can run the software directly from a flash drive to save space on your hard drive or avoid leaving traces of the software on your computer.

Steps

Method 1 of 2: Windows – Using PortableApps.com

Run Software Directly Off a USB Flash Drive Step 1

Step #1. Go to PortableApps website

This website provides a wide variety of open source and free-to-download portable applications, as well as a platform for organizing and accessing these programs.

  • PortableApps software is compatible with modern versions of Windows.
  • PortableApps isn't the only website where you can find software to run from your flash drive - but it's free and easy to use. Alternatives are http://www.portablefreeware.com/ and LiberKey.
Run Software Directly Off a USB Flash Drive Step 2

Step 2. Download PortableApps.com

This is a launcher (the launcher) to help "install" the portable apps and even update them automatically. It also offers an easy-to-use organization so that you can view the different apps classified by categories or release date. Click the 'Download Now-Free' button on the home page.

You can just download individual apps from the PortableApps.com website without having to download PortableApps first. The program is only there to make it easier to find, select and install apps

Run Software Directly Off a USB Flash Drive Step 3

Step 3. Make sure you have a USB flash drive

Keep in mind the number and size of files you want to run from the flash drive.

The more recent flash drives can store a large number of portable apps

Run Software Directly Off a USB Flash Drive Step 4

Step 4. Insert a flash drive into your USB port

You can usually find this port on the front or side of your computer.

Run Software Directly Off a USB Flash Drive Step 5

Step 5. Click on the 'Portable Apps' download in your 'Downloads' folder

A window will appear stating that you have chosen to open the '.exe' file of 'PortableApps.com_Platform_Setup'.

Run Software Directly Off a USB Flash Drive Step 6

Step 6. Copy the PortableApps platform to your flash drive

First click 'Save file' when asked: 'Do you want to save this file?' Then select your USB flash drive as the save location.

Run Software Directly Off a USB Flash Drive Step 7

Step 7. Launch PortableApps from your flash drive

The app directory will open where you can select and install programs you are interested in.

  • Some programs (such as Microsoft Office or Adobe Photoshop) will not be available.
  • Portable versions of OpenOffice, Google Chrome, Firefox, Skype and Dropbox are all available and free.
  • Programs that are not available are usually those that cannot run independently from a USB flash drive. There may be similar apps available as portable apps.
Run Software Directly Off a USB Flash Drive Step 8

Step 8. Go to PortableApps on your flash driver

Double-click StartPortableApps.exe in the root (e.g. E:\ or F:) of your USB flash drive.

Windows may ask if you want PortableApps.com to start automatically when you plug in the USB flash drive

Run Software Directly Off a USB Flash Drive Step 9

Step 9. Open the PortlableApps 'app library'

This can be found in the PortableApps menu.

Run Software Directly Off a USB Flash Drive Step 10

Step 10. Find portable apps to download

First click on 'Apps' in the menu and then on 'Get More Apps'.

Run Software Directly Off a USB Flash Drive Step 11

Step 11. Install the desired portable apps to your USB flash drive

An installer will automatically download and install these app(s) to your USB flash drive.

Run Software Directly Off a USB Flash Drive Step 12

Step 12. Run a portable app from your flash drive

Once you have selected and installed one or more portable app(s) via the PortableApps platform, double click on the app you want to open from the flash drive.

Method 2 of 2: Mac - Using SourceForge.net for direct downloads

Run Software Directly Off a USB Flash Drive Step 13

Step 1. Go to the Mac version of Source Forge

You will see a number of portable apps on the left and in the middle of the page.

Portable apps are more popular among Windows users, so don't expect to find just as many apps for the Mac

Run Software Directly Off a USB Flash Drive Step 14

Step 2. Click on the portable app you want to download

You will be taken to a page with a 'Download' option and instructions for installing and running the software.

Run Software Directly Off a USB Flash Drive Step 15

Step 3. Make sure you have a USB flash drive

Keep in mind the number and size of files you want to run from the flash drive.

The more recent flash drives can store a large number of portable apps

Run Software Directly Off a USB Flash Drive Step 16

Step 4. Insert a flash drive into your USB port

You can usually find this port on the front or side of your computer.

Run Software Directly Off a USB Flash Drive Step 17

Step 5. Download the portable app you want to install

Start by clicking the 'Download' button for the portable app you selected.

Run Software Directly Off a USB Flash Drive Step 18

Step 6. Install the portable app

Drag the file folder of the portable app to the icon of your flash drive.

Run Software Directly Off a USB Flash Drive Step 19

Step 7. Run the portable app from the USB flash drive

Double click on the portable app file from your USB flash drive. A small window will appear stating that the portable app has been opened successfully.

Warnings

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