12 Must have Portable Apps for your USB drive

I use my 2GB Kingston U3 enabled USB drive a lot. The reason? The availability of a variety of portable applications and most of them for free. For your reading pleasure, here are a few of my favorites.


  • Mozilla FirefoxVery handy to have if you frequent your IE using friends or relatives. (Firefox 3 beta 4 is available as a portable app right now)
  • GreatNews – A portable feed reader I am very fond of.
  • Trillian – Excellent IM chat application.
  • myPodder – Great tool for podcast lovers – needs a podcastready.com account.
  • KeePass – Password manager on the go. Uses good encryption.


  • OpenOffice – A full fledged alternative to Microsoft Office. AbiWord is an excellent choice if you just looking for a Microsoft Word alternative.
  • EditPad Lite – Supercharged Notepad with lot of nice features.
  • FoxIt Reader – A simple and fast PDF reader. Download the zip file for a standalone app.
  • 7-zip Portable – Excellent archiving tool supporting multiple formats like zip, unzip, tar, etc.


There are many open source portable applications available at PortableApps.com. Or if you are a U3 user, then at U3.com.

If you don’t want to mess with individually downlading each of these, Portable Apps offers a PotableApps Suite in 3 flavors to download a bunch of apps at one shot.

PortableApps Suite (Standard Edition) – 89.5MB

PortableApps Suite (Lite Edition) – 30.4MB

Now, you can put that USB drive you won in a contest or the one they gave away in a conference or the one you bought from a SlickDeal to good use. Never be without your favorite app anymore.

If you have found some cool portable app that is not in the list, I would love to know.

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35 Responses to “12 Must have Portable Apps for your USB drive”

  1. Nirmal July 18, 2007 at 10:36 am #

    That was an excellent post. I too carry 2 GB USB drive. I didnt know about many of the portable applications.

  2. K-IntheHouse July 18, 2007 at 12:04 pm #

    Nirmal.. really glad you found it useful! It’s funny when you write a post you wonder if it is too trivial an information. It made my day that it atleast was useful to one person. :-)

  3. Kyle Eslick July 19, 2007 at 3:49 pm #

    This is a very useful list. I keep a backup of my contacts and browser bookmarks on my USB drive and my external harddrive. I also keep my feeds on there (although I need to update that soon) for my desktop feed reader.

    I love the GreatNews selection, I love my GreatNews feed reader!

  4. Stephen Cronin July 20, 2007 at 9:08 am #


    Great post. I almost never use U3 (except for Skype) – I use PortableApps more.

    Most important to me are a) Xampplite, which lets me carry my Apache/PHP/MySQL development environment with me and b) SciTE which is a text-editor with syntax highlighting for most programming languages (there is a U3 version, but the normal version is portable anyway).

    I’ll try out the GreatNews reader, although I don’t want it to be good – I’m using Thunderbird, which sucks for RSS, but I’ve started writing an extension, so I don’t really want to change! Damn! :)

  5. K-IntheHouse July 20, 2007 at 9:03 pm #

    Kyle.. I do that as well. I use FileHamster to automatically sync certain directories to my USB drive so I have a backup of some stuff on the go. Me love GreatNews too.. :-)

    Stephen.. thanks for stopping by man! I should try the Xampplite and SciTE. Thanks for the mention.. I bought a U3 drive at a good price and was very close to moving to PortableApps because U3 is proprietary. But, the U3 shortcut maker makes it very simple to add any standalone program to the U3 menu. So, I’m still with it. :-)

  6. digitalnomad December 10, 2007 at 9:01 pm #

    I write about portable apps, not just Portable Apps, quite often.

    Always looking for new ideas. Some of these are my favorites, too.

    Open Source will rule some day.

  7. K December 11, 2007 at 3:25 pm #

    Hey digitalnomad.. I see the difference you mention :-) I stand corrected and I am going to click over to see your posts. Thanks for stopping by!

  8. digitalnomad December 11, 2007 at 3:34 pm #

    Good deal. I think most software for personal use will be open source and online eventually.

    Too many to list.

  9. Sandeep January 30, 2008 at 12:15 pm #

    If you have a U3 Smart Drive then you can download lot of portable applications at:


    Sandeep’s last blog post..Free Rapidshare Account Giveaway!!

  10. USB Dani March 9, 2008 at 8:00 pm #

    Thanks for the apps – allready testing! Dani :wink:

    USB Dani’s last blog post..USB Tassenwärmer und USB Hub in einem mit Wecker

  11. K March 11, 2008 at 4:08 am #

    You are welcome, Dani!

  12. Sandeep April 17, 2008 at 3:44 pm #


    Now offers 100′s of U3 Applications to put on your hard drive

    Sandeep’s last blog post..Apple Safari 3.1.1 Portable U3

  13. Zoltan@carbon nanotubes May 7, 2008 at 9:02 am #

    Glad to see this post. These are new apps fot me. :)

    Zoltans last blog post..Application of MCM-41 in single walled carbon nanotube production in a fluidized-bed reactor

  14. Zath May 19, 2008 at 4:37 pm #

    I removed the U3 from my Sandisk memory stick as I was having an issue with Vista, but have instead installed the full Portable Apps suite – I really like it, definitely worth taking the time to set up on your USB stick!

    Zaths last blog post..Free Tesco Mobile Sim Card

  15. andy@ecommerce web site software July 11, 2008 at 10:29 pm #

    Great list! Definitely good enough to get started to say the least. Yeah, open source programs are my favorite. I hope more and more good ones get developed.

    andys last blog post..How to Choose the Right Ecommerce Website Software or Service

  16. Anurag September 6, 2008 at 12:33 am #

    Nice post…
    Thnx for sharing these apps..
    was not knowing many of them…

    Anurags last blog post..Save “Copy Protected” Photos From Websites/Blogs/Orkut Album.

  17. Sandy February 5, 2009 at 4:41 pm #

    Excellent! Thanks so much for sharing these great apps. Lot’s of useful info. on your site. I will definitely return.

  18. Jim November 8, 2009 at 9:39 am #

    It’s important to have all the apps you need with you on the go. My favorite is the KeePass because when you go portable, you have to be protected!
    .-= Jim´s last blog ..Top Rated Netbook =-.

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