Best free portable apps
Your favourite software, anywhere…
1 LibreOffice Portable www.libreoffice.org/download/portable-versions/
LibreOffice Portable is the largest portable app here, but it’s still amazingly compact considering it’s a full MS Office substitute. You’ll need an external hard drive if you want to carry it, but you can easily keep it in the cloud (the free version of OneDrive, for example, gives you 5GB to play with, while DropBox gives you 2GB).
LibreOffice Portable includes almost all the programs from the installable version: Writer (word processing), Calc (spreadsheets), Impress (presentations), Draw (vector drawing), Math (formulae), and Base (databases). The only thing missing is Charts – although you can create graphs and other visualisations using Calc.
Like many portable apps, LibreOffice Portable is made using open source code. This takes some time, so it’s a few versions behind the installable version of LibreOffice. However, that time has been well spent and it’s well optimised for use on the move, with easy access to documents stored on a networked drive, an FTP server, or Google Drive.
2 GIMP Portable https://sourceforge.net/projects/portablegimp/
The portable edition of GIMP (AKA the GNU Image Manipulation Program) – the finest photo editor money can’t buy – is too large for all but the most expensive USB sticks – particularly if you want to change settings or download extensions – but is ideal for other storage media such as external hard disk drives.
It’s a hefty folder thanks to all the necessary resources, including brushes, plugins and fonts. The need to access all of these means GIMP Portable takes a little while to launch, but once it does you’ve got the perfect tool for advanced photo editing, wherever you are.
It’s easy to open files from a local drive, networked storage, or even a URL, making GIMP Portable brilliant for editing almost any picture remotely.
The portable edition is based on the full version’s current stable release, so you’ll get all the latest features and built-in extensions.
3 VLC Media Player Portable http://bit.ly/2xvNQnx
VLC, from the VideoLAN project, is one of the most capable and widely-supported open source media players around. Its main appeal lies in its ability to play pretty much any audio or video file (including MKV, MP4 and WMV), plus almost any audio or video stream, without the need to download additional codecs.
That flexibility makes VLC Media Player Portable particularly handy. Keep it in reserve and if you come across an awkward file that won’t play nicely with your regular music or video software, then you’ve got the perfect tool for the job.
VLC Media Player Portable can handle files from any location, including local drives, network storage, and streams. You can even supplement it with easy-toinstall and freely available extensions to integrate it with specific services – although you should bear in mind that this will add to the application’s 22.3MB portable footprint considerably.
4 CCleaner Portable https://www.piriform.com/ccleaner/download/portable
CCleaner from Piriform is the biggest name in computer system maintenance – and is a perennial favourite here at Windows Help & Advice magazine. It makes it easy to clear out clutter like temporary files and cookies that not only takes up valuable space, but can also put your privacy at risk.
CCleaner Portable is a handy toolkit that you can run on any PC in need of a good spring clean. The download includes both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the program, so you can pick the right one for the OS that is running on the afflicted machine.
CCleaner Portable is ideal for helping out friends and family members whose machines have started to slow down – although you should always check before deleting their cached logins.
Oh yes, and if you’re running it from your Downloads folder, don’t worry – it won’t try to delete itself.
The portable version of LibreOffice is almost as fully featured as the installable version.
Get your image editing kicks with the portable version of GIMP.
VLC Media Player Portable is one of the most versatile audio and video players around.
Quickly solve PC problems with this CCleaner Portable.