How to convert normal programs to portable software
Get our unique weekly Newsletter with tips and techniques, how to's and critical updates on Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Google, etc. Join our 460,000 subscribers!
Subscribe and get our monthly bonuses - free!
The Windows 7 Guide, Volume 3: Advanced maintenance and troubleshooting provides advanced tools for keeping Microsoft's premier operating system up and running smoothly. Get this excerpt and other 4 bonuses if you subscribe FREE now!
Any program that can be run from a standard .exe file without the need for installation can be run perfectly well from a USB stick. However, quite a lot of .exe files are actually installer files or special archives containing multiple files. Universal Extractor is a free utility designed to extract the individual files from many different kinds of archives including msi, .cab and a wide range of .exe installer packages. Once you have extracted the files, it may be possible to find a stand-alone executable for use on your USB stick, though it’s more likely that you will also need the supporting dlls. Be aware that many programs absolutely require installation and simply wont work as portable apps. It is surprising though, just how many you can get to work. Another trick worth trying is to install the application on your normal PC and then copy the whole installation directory to your USB drive. This often works fine though note that your newly created "portable app" may write to the registry of the host PC. Universal Extractor is a free, open source program. It works on all Windows versions and is a 4.59MB download.
= Paid content
All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2007-12-13: