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What is a Portable Application

Most programs have to be installed from a CD or DVD or from a setup package that you've downloaded from the Internet. This will add all of the necessary shortcuts and program settings to your computer. Programs will normally, by default be installed somewhere in the "Program Files" folder on your main system hard drive. However, there are also programs which don't need to be installed. These are often referred to as portable applications. Portable applications are convenient, since you can copy them onto a flash drive or other media and run them on any other computer which meets the necessary system specifications to run that program.

While most programs require installation, many applications also provide a portable version. Portable applications do not write anything to the system registry and no additional files, folders or shortcuts are created on your computer. Any files which you create using the application will typically be saved in the directory containing the application, along with any settings and configurations which are usually stored in files ending with the .INI file extension. In spite of this, portable applications are fully-functional and usually work in exactly the same way as their installable counterparts.

Portable applications are becoming more popular thanks to the increase in use of cheap, high-capacity USB flash drives. You can store all of your portable applications on a USB drive and take them with you for using wherever you go. When you load up a portable application on another computer, it will leave a minimal footprint behind, since any files which are created or modified by that program will remain in the same directory on the flash drive.

It's not possible for many types of applications, especially larger and more complex ones, to have portable versions made for them. This is because, for many programs, it is necessary to modify or create important system files which they rely on in order to work. Portable applications only access system files which can be found on any computer running Windows. The only thing that you need to pay attention to is whether the computer you're going to use the application on meets the system requirements of that program.


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