Reviewed Free Portable Apps and Games for USB. Here you will find the best free portable games, software and applications for Windows that can be stored and then run directly from a flash drive, pen drive, thumb drive or other removable storage device. Bring your favorite office applications, email, web browser, instant messaging, games, graphical editors, media player, antivirus, recovery tools, encryption utilities, P2P file sharing utilities and more with you on a removable USB drive.
What is a Portable Application?
A portable application, also known as a portable app, is a stand alone software program that was designed to be used from a removable storage device, such as a USB flash drive or an external hard drive, without needing to be installed on a computer's hard drive. Because they are self-contained, they can be run directly from the removable storage device, without being installed on the host computer's operating system.
Standalone applications are popular because they allow users to easily carry their favorite software programs with them to use on any computer without leaving any trace of their activity behind. They are also useful for people who need to work on multiple computers and don't have administrative rights to install software on all of them.
How do Portable Apps for USB Work?
In most cases, portable apps work by storing configuration settings and changes to a configuration file (such as an ini file) on the USB drive. This config file can usually be found in the directory where the application is stored. Making it easy to keep your preferences the same when running the software or game between multiple computers. With the portable apps format, a data file such as portable.dat is used to force those ini configuration file changes to remain in that local folder.
Note that a program that offers no user configurable preferences might also be considered a portable standalone application, if the software doesn't write preferences back onto the host PC.
The Best Free Portable Software for USB
On this site you will find a neatly categorized extensive selection of only the best-portable-apps, tools, utilities, and games that are free to run from USB. Most of these are self executing programs and games for Windows, though I plan to review and include Mac OS and Linux portables at a later point in time.
Most of the software reviewed here has been created by their respective authors with the intent to be run entirely from external removable USB devices such as a flash drive. Sometimes even allowing users to save their changes and personalized settings back to the same device.
Additionally, some may also be available as a stand alone executable. In which case everything is self contained. Making it so you do not need to keep track of multiple folders and files.
What are some Popular Portable Apps and USB Games?
Here are a few popular recently reviewed or updated portable apps and free games that can be stored and run from USB. You can browse the free portable software categories to find many more.
Warsow is a Free First Person Shooter Game. One of the best free portable, fast paced, multiplayer 3D (FPS) first ...
YUMI (Your Universal Multiboot Installer), is a MultiBoot Live USB Creator Tool or MultiBoot ISOs Utility created by ...
Advanced IP Scanner is a portable free network scanning tool. This LAN scanner allows you to scan and analyze your ...
TeraCopy is an app that can be used to perform a fast file transfer, enabling you to copy or move files at the maximum ...
Free Mind is a Free Open Source Mind Mapping tool. This high productivity brainstorming app allows users to create ...
Those are just a handful of the free applications, USB games, portable apps for work, and other useful flash drive tools and software that I have personally found, categorized, and reviewed over the years. All shared with the world in hopes that you and others might also find them useful.
Do you know of any missing free software, application, tool, or game that should be listed? Are you an author who would like to have your portable utility or game reviewed? If so, feel free to contact me with your submissions and or suggestions.
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