USB Apps

I'm a fan of portable applications. One of my professors used portable Firefox in class once, and now I'm hooked. It's so handy to have every program I need right at my fingertips on any (windows) machine I use. So what apps are on my 1Gb disk's right now?

PStart Menu


This little system-tray launcher is the backbone of any good USB apps setup. Easy to configure and handy to have around.

Eclipse and JDK 1.5

Thats right, I've got a Java compiler wherever I go. I haven't had any problems with this yet, and since it's got the JRE in there too, Eclipse can run anywhere. This was a little more trouble to install than most, but really not all that bad. Instructions.


Nothing better than having all your extensions with you, and all you cache and history to yourself. Thats really all there is to say. If there is one app that I use the most on USB, it's Firefox

PuTTY Config


This is the terminal application to use on Windows. It's easy to use, small, portable, and reliable. I use it almost every day to get onto Vulcan or my home machines.


This falls into the same category as PuTTY. It's a great all-around file transfer client with secure protocols built in. Great application.


For a long time I was looking for a simple text editor that had syntax highlighting, but was light and easy. I tried cream for a time then I found Notepad++. It works quite well.

RealVNC Viewer

For those times when you can't get something done over SSH in the terminal, I use RealVNC to get to my desktop and take care of it.

Xlight FTPD

Take an FTP server with you wherever you go. Not useful very often, but when it is, it's great.

KisKis Entry


Keep It Simple, Keep It Safe. This is a good java password manager. It's java, thus cross-platform, which is key for a password safe.

Photoshop CS

This one is a bit shady. I bet you didn't know that Adobe made a portable Photoshop CS. They don't.


Gaim is an instant message client, you can do AIM, MSN, Jabber, even IRC.


The best RSS reader I've ever found. Plus it's java, so with some tweaked scripts this can run on linux and windows, all of the USB stick.

Foxit PDF Reader

I hate Acrobat Reader with a passion. Foxit is light and free.


In addition to my standard programs I have a few simple batch files I made to ease the use of my USB apps. These are simple one-liners, but they are handy to have around. First among them is my Explore_USB.bat. I got tired of all the effort involved in opening an explorer window on my drive. Since I have a my portable apps separated from the rest of the drive I used .. to jump to my drive root. This one comes into use most of all the batch files.

@start explorer ..


This one is another obvious one, launch a "dos" command window without getting the start panel involved. Like I said, these are really simple shortcut files.

@start cmd


This is a nice, full distribution that uses Knoppix to pack a ton of apps into a 50 meg disc. I use the "embedded" version which comes with qemu binaries for windows and linux. No matter where I am I have a linux machine. As long as its not on a mac I guess. This has it's own 1 gig stick, lots of /home space.