PortableApps.com is a website offering many free, commonly used Windows applications that have been specially packaged for portability. These portable applications can be used from removable media such as USB flash drives. User data is stored in a subfolder, allowing the user to upgrade or move the software without affecting the data.[3] To remove the software, a user can simply delete the main folder.[4]

Portable apps logo.png
PortableApps.com Platform menu
PortableApps.com Platform menu
Original author(s)John T. Haller
Developer(s)Rare Ideas, LLC[1]
Initial releaseNovember 20, 2006; 14 years ago (2006-11-20)
Stable release
17.1.1 / 9 September 2020; 4 months ago (2020-09-09)[2]
Operating systemMicrosoft Windows
Size8 MB
LicenseGPLv2, LGPLv2, MIT License, MPL 1.1, wxWindows Library Licence

The site was founded by John T. Haller and includes contributions from over 100 people, including developers, designers and translators.[1]


The project started out of a portable version of Mozilla Firefox[5] in March 2004. John T. Haller then expanded the project to include Mozilla Thunderbird and OpenOffice.org. Soon the open-source group of portable programs outgrew Haller's personal website and he moved it to a community site, PortableApps.com. The site currently hosts various projects created by forum members. The site is also used for bug reporting and suggestions.[6] Some PortableApps distributions are hosted on SourceForge.[7]


Application installers designed for use with the PortableApps.com menu follow the convention of using filenames ending in a .paf.exe extension, include HTML documentation and store data in the Data directory, allowing for simple backup of data with the PortableApps.com Backup utility. Installers intended for use with the PortableApps.com menu should be NSIS installers, generated with the PortableApps.com Installer, but can be compressed archives with self extractors, or any installer executable.

The majority of applications can run on most computers with Windows 2000 or later.[8] Many apps will also run under Wine on Unix-like operating systems. Older versions of many apps support Windows 95/98/Me, but no new releases support these systems.[9]

PortableApps.com LauncherEdit

The PortableApps.com Launcher (also known as PAL) is used to make applications portable by handling path redirection, environment variable changes, file and directory movement, configuration file path updates and similar changes, as configured.[10] The PortableApps.com Launcher allows software to be made portable without the need to write custom code or make changes to the base application. While some of the software packages released on PortableApps.com currently still contain their own custom launchers, the PortableApps.com Launcher is used in all new apps released.[11] The installers are made with Nullsoft Scriptable Install System.

PortableApps.com PlatformEdit

The PortableApps.com Platform is not required to run portable apps, but it is available to provide a more integrated experience. Features include:

  • A menu of installed portable apps
  • Apps Directory to find and install new apps.
  • Search functions for your USB flash drive.
  • An updater to keep installed apps up to date
  • Portable Fonts
  • Backup tools

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Our Team". PortableApps.com. Retrieved 2011-11-27.
  2. ^ "PortableApps.com Platform Changelog". PortableApps.com. September 9, 2020.
  3. ^ Yegulalp, Serdar (25 June 2013). "Keep Apps Portable for Painless Upgrades". IT Migration Zone. Enterprise Efficiency. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
  4. ^ Schofield, Jack (30 November 2012). "Mini-laptops versus netbooks, and other queries". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
  5. ^ "About PortableApps.com". Retrieved 2013-02-11.
  6. ^ Haller, John T. (February 22, 2008). "PortableApps.com Update (Week of Feb 18, 2007)". PortableApps.com - General Forums » General Discussion. Retrieved November 4, 2012.
  7. ^ Haller, John T.; Morgan, Chris; MarkoMLM. "PortableApps.com: Portable Software/USB". portableapps project on SourceForge. Retrieved February 11, 2013.
  8. ^ "Application Compatibility". PortableApps.com. 2012-07-10. Retrieved 2012-11-04.
  9. ^ Haller, John T. (2010-04-27). "Ending Windows 95/98/Me Support". PortableApps.com. Retrieved 2012-11-04.
  10. ^ "PortableApps.com Launcher". PortableApps.com. 2012-07-10. Retrieved 2012-11-04.
  11. ^ Castle, Alex (14 January 2013). "Turn your flash drive into a portable PC survival kit". PCworld. Retrieved 15 April 2014.

External linksEdit