Organizing Portable Applications...

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Organizing Portable Applications...

#1 Post by Marc » Mon Dec 12, 2011 11:55 am

Hello, ever since my toolkit of portable apps grew over 100 I started categorizating them.
Now I have around 1000 portable apps in 350 categories more or less.
The big question is how have you categorizated them?

This is more or less how my categorization scheme looks like...

(ASuite menu)

Worth noting and asking too, what about what directory structure you use?
For example, do you keep portable apps from the PA Suite in the same folder as the rest of non-paf portable applications?

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Re: Organizing Portable Applications...

#2 Post by tproli » Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:52 pm

I used PStart about 3 years ago, then I realized no need to categorize (and no need of PStart). I put all portables in one directory, each in its own folder.

I use Assox ( to create shortcuts for my portables in Executor's ( subdirectory, and Executor is set to read those when it starts ($h$\links).
So all my portables are only a few keystrokes away.

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Re: Organizing Portable Applications...

#3 Post by dany » Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:00 pm

/p/ contains all things portable:
  • audio/ players, editors, etc.
  • video/ players, editors, etc.
  • image/ viewers, editors, etc.
  • system/ system tools.
  • net/ internet and network stuff.
  • devel/ code-editors, IDE's, etc.
  • bin/ scripts and command line tools.
  • misc/ other stuff.
Other than this I don't sub-categorize, and even this is kinda cosmetic, as I do the real categorizing in PStart. PStart has the same structure/categories supplemented with some sub-categories where useful, and some often-used favorites in the root menu. I don't have much in the PA Suite format so I don't separate them from the rest.
GFA/P/S/SS$/O d- s: a>? C++ UL++++ P++@ L++ !E W+++ N++@ o K+ w O M V- PS+++ PE Y+ PGP++>+++ t++ 5+ X++@ R !tv b+>++ DI++ D+ G e+++ h-->- r% y+

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Re: Organizing Portable Applications...

#4 Post by joby_toss » Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:07 pm

On my home PC I'm using this directory structure:


I'm using PowerPro to launch applications using 3 methods:
- a menu I've made myself, with few categories and my most used apps
- ARB v3.2 (Executor-like launcher for PP)
- an automatic created menu, using PPs browsing capabilities (I've set it to show me all the folders and all the .exe's) with all the apps (close to 1000).

On my main usb stick, currently I have a folder with my most used apps (very few, but important ones, each in its own folder). I used to have menus like ASuite, but no more. This is the most suited method to my work environment.

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Re: Organizing Portable Applications...

#5 Post by freakazoid » Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:47 pm

Mine are all in one main directory, but I've been thinking of organizing my portables because my list is quite long now making it hard to find certain apps!

@tproli - Assox looks cool! I use Executor as well though I rarely find I need to associate programs.
is it stealth? ;)

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Re: Organizing Portable Applications...

#6 Post by the_watcher » Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:52 pm

i'm having all portables each to its own folder under a portableapps directory [so as to ease the installations / updates of portableapps software]. i've set up traylauncher with a few general categories, like internet, music, video, system etc, and a quicklaunch/most used category, with those apps i use most often, and i use coffee for portable file associations

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Re: Organizing Portable Applications...

#7 Post by tproli » Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:13 pm

I do not use Assox for association filetypes, only for creating shortcuts for Executor and startup items.
All my filetype associations are made using Total Commander's internal file association.
I also use TC as a launcher sometimes, there's a dedicated locked tab for my portable directory and TC is set to jump for typed letter. So launching Executor for example needs typing "ex..." and hitting Enter, then again a bit of typing to launch the .exe.

I also had a dedicated partition to my portables (they are about 10 GB in size) but unfortunately currently I have not enough HDD space to do that.

Edit: Assox is great if you set up a computer for someone (who doesn't care about portables). I have a small package of important applications and after installing the OS, I only copy this package to the Program Files and run the preconfigured Assox to set up file associations, shortcuts, right-click menu items, startup items, start menu items, etc. It requires only a few seconds instead of hours of installing and configuring, and there is less chance to omit something.

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Re: Organizing Portable Applications...

#8 Post by Marc » Tue Dec 13, 2011 10:39 am

I have as well a dedicated partition where I keep portable apps and installers I use most in a separated folder (same partition).When I need to set up or help someone's computer I check the installers folder and the categories (they are like a reminder for me - tell me what apps are for x) and just copy to my usb what I need for the moment. That way I can easily reformat the usb in case of infection.

@joby_toss PowerPro is an oldie (from the web last updated in 2008) but looks like an intriguing app.

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Re: Organizing Portable Applications...

#9 Post by donald » Tue Dec 13, 2011 4:47 pm

I use the following categories:

Folders = folders on the flash-drive

Web Browsers = Web Browsers (12)

Documents = Office software, substitution, clipboard, simple text and rtf editors, etc
sub-folder PDF = PDF creation/viewing/editing/conversion to other formats

File Utilities = File Associations/recovery/sorting/archiving/transfer/encryption/splitting/joining/hashing

Cleaners = defrag, antivirus, erasing, cleaning, uninstalling, tweaking

Images = Image viewing/editing/capture/paint/icons

Video = Video players (5)

Audio = pod catchers, mp3 players, stream players, audio editors text to speech, rippers etc

Utilities system utilities for hard drive, CPU, system information, registry, etc
sub-folder Password Utilities = retrieve lost archived passwords, find correct password to files

Backup = various backup utilities

Burners = various burner programs

Ejectors n Shutdown = various disk ejection scripts, and programs and system timer-scheduler/shutdown applications

Video Editing video editing/capture/conversion/creation

Games small light weight games

Auto-run Apps all the applications I auto-run

Unsorted applications that are not sorted into a category or which I am trying out.

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Re: Organizing Portable Applications...

#10 Post by Marc » Wed Dec 14, 2011 1:36 am

These are my top-level categories (translated from spanish).

+ Update Monitors
+ System Management and Configuration » Uninstallers
--+ Task and Process Managers
--+ Process and File Managers (Includes Soft. such as Unlocker, Process Monitor and OpenedFiesView)
--+ Monitors of Changes
--+ Search of Files and Keys
--+ System Information
--+ Startup Management - Boot
--+ File Associations
--+ File Browsers
--+ Disk Management
--+ Sincronization
--+ Commands - Editors - System Utilities
--+ Shutdown - Reboot - Suspend the System
--+ External Devices (Includes Mobile Devices)
--+ Uninstallers - Installation
--+ Scheduled Tasks (Includes Automatization Soft).

+ Explorers » Browsers
--+ Browsers
--+ Browsers's Utilities
--+ Virtual Explorers - Atlas (Soft like Stellarium, Celestia, Google Earth)

+ Optimization - Cleaners - Recovery
--+ Cleaners
--+ Optimization (Incl. More subcat such as top optimization tweakers, followed by memory, services, etc)
--+ Disk Defragmenters
--+ Registry (Incl. Registry Defrag Category)
--+ System Tools (Incl. subcat such as Filesystem and Disk Sectors, System Restore,..)
--+ Recovery (Incl. Subcat. Such as System Recovery, Data Recovery)
--+ Files Integrity
--+ Backups - Safety Copies (Incl. subcats such as Disk Images, Registry, Files, ..)

+ CD - DVD - Edition - Copy
--+ Burning
--+ Ripping
--+ Edition
--+ Disk Images
--+ Information

+ CSS » Design
--+ Graphics Creation - Vectors
--+ Image Editors
--+ Icon Editors (Incl. Punters subcat.)
--+ Image Viewers
--+ Image Tools (Incl Subcats such as Color Picker, etc etc etc)

+ Players - Codecs
--+ Players
--+ Audio Editors
--+ Video Editors (Incl. Subtitles Editors and DVD Editors)
--+ Information
--+ Codecs

+ P2P » Download Managers
--+ P2P
--+ Download Managers
--+ Music
--+ Videos
--+ Images
--+ Utilities - Tools

+ Security
--+ Antivirus (Incl. Antispyware soft)
--+ Anti-troyanos
--+ Antirootkits
--+ Antikeyloggers
--+ Removal Tools
--+ Tools and Utilities (Incl. several subcats such as Forensic Tools, System Restrictions= Groups Policy, File Permissions, User Accounts Restrictions, etc etc)
--+ Encriptation

+ Operating Systems
--+ Virtualization
--+ Live USB
--+ Activation Tools (I bet you are thinking about warez tools, not really here is one, Advanced Tokens Manager)
--+ Updates (Includes tools such as WSUS Offline Update and Auto Patcher)

+ Conversion - Compression » Modify Files - U
--+ Compression
--+ Conversion (Incl. Several subcats..)
--+ Modification of Files (Soft such as Resource Hacker, Bulk File Changer..)
--+ Extraction (Tools like Universal Extractor...)

+ Instant Messaging » Mails
--+ MSN Utilities
--+ Mail Managers
--+ Mail Utilities

+ Presentation Tools » Office
--+ Suites
--+ Text Processors (Incl. PDF and ebooks / not sure about this organization though)
--+ Office Tools
--+ Text Editors (Incl. CSV subcat)
--+ Text Tools (Incl. several text manipulation subcat...)

+ Installers
--+ In Categories (contains subcats similar to the top-level ones, but for installers)
--- (soft. / Installers most used listed...)

+ Disconnect the USB

+ Drivers & Plugins
--+ Drivers
--+ Backups and Updates
--+ Cleaners
--+ Information
--+ Plugins

+ Encripters » Passwords - Recover Passwords
--+ Encriptation
--+ Steganography
--+ Recover Passwords
--+ Windows and Office
--+ Browsers
--+ MSN and Mails
--+ Networks and Connection
--+ Files

+ Networks - Connection
--+ Networks (Includs several subcats such as Local Area Network, Wireless N.
--+ Packet Capture
--+ Remote Access
--+ Anonymous Networks
--+ VPN
--+ Utilities and Tools

+ Appearance - Interface » Desk
--+ Interface (Incl. Main tweakers such as Ultimate Windows Tweaker)
--+ Screen Captures
--+ Menus and Windows
--+ Mouse
--+ Keyboard
--+ Zoom
--+ Fast Keys (Incl. Boss-Key Soft.)
--+ Desktop (Incl. Virtual Desktops subcat)
--+ Icons
--+ Calendars (incl. tv- programming, mayan and lunar calendars subcats)

+ Games
--+ Strategy
--+ Cards
--+ Logic
--+ Game Tools (soft like Save Game Backup, Game Booster, Poke, etc and emulators subcat.)

+ Ketarin (apps not categorized yet...) such as.. WikiTaxi...

+ Shortcuts (folder shortcuts to system special foders by OS..)
--+ Sistem
--+ (folders from the usb)

<del>I will add a bit more info once I translate the sub-categories.</del>

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Re: Organizing Portable Applications...

#11 Post by SYSTEM » Thu Dec 15, 2011 12:40 pm

On the disk, I have a dedicated partition for portable applications. Because I use PStart for categorization, nearly all applications are at the root of the partition. There are only two subfolders:
My categories in PStart are the following (translated from Finnish):
  • Internet
  • Multimedia
  • Information
  • Pictures
  • Office
  • Administration (= system administration)
  • Compressed files
  • Study
  • Programming
  • CD/DVD
  • Audio processing
  • Other
My YouTube channel | Release date of my 13th playlist: August 24, 2020

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Re: Organizing Portable Applications...

#12 Post by outskirter » Sat Dec 17, 2011 7:17 pm

Anything portable here goes into the Documents folder on my Windows 7 netbook. I try to keep them categorized, as follows:

If the portable app has anything to do with dictionaries or reference material, it goes into its own individual subfolder beneath "Documents\Reference". The main Reference folder itself is for storing various reference documents in PDF, HTML or text format, including whatever useful information I can gather for freeware apps that lack help files (happens quite often).

I have several portable imaging editors and viewers. They go into the folder "Documents\Image Apps".

Then there's my folder "Documents\YouTube Videos". Any downloaded videos go there, and the YouTube downloader app is in its own subfolder beneath them.

Then there's "Documents\Organizer", which contains reminder, note-taking and outliner apps, plus a freeware calculator, all of them portable. Any of those apps that write data files share a common data folder beneath "Organizer".

Two of my portable apps are used for more than one purpose: my default text editor and my media player. They each get their own folders under "Documents". I didn't know what to do with PDF-XChange Viewer, so it's in a subfolder of "Miscellaneous", which contains anything else I can't find a category for.

Currently the only apps I now have in "C:\Program Files" are the ones that came preinstalled on the computer. They're also the only ones that show up in the control panel's uninstall list. Even some non-portable apps that required installation have since been copied to the Documents folder and then uninstalled.

Another thing I do: If I stop using a portable app altogether in favor of a new one, I move its entire folder to a USB stick inside a folder called Unused Apps, just in case I decide it was better than the new program and want to put it back in service.

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Re: Organizing Portable Applications...

#13 Post by tproli » Sun Dec 18, 2011 12:02 am

I also have a Backups\Portable directory where I store older versions of the apps. Sometimes they are made with different methods (JauntePE, NSIS, AutoIt, etc) and it is safer not to delete them. Otoh some of them are made by me (launchers/wrappers) and having the source code always at hand is also useful.

I use SyncBack Free to make backups weekly of my portable settings. Rules for Opera is *.dat, *.adr, *.ini for example. Beyond that I have another rule that scans my portable directory for source codes (*.nsi, *.au3, etc) and makes backup of them. Both of them saved my ass several times :)

Forgot to mention that I have scheduled a weekly appointment in Google Calendar to remind myself of creating the backup. I don't use GC but it sends me an email so I know it is time for backup.

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Re: Organizing Portable Applications...

#14 Post by samoguz » Sun May 06, 2012 4:25 pm

I have over 100 portable application in one folder that resides in a second partition I made. I use a portable application menu and launcher called Appetizer.
In appetizer I can create groups and shortcuts, so it works like this:

I create categories (groups) and then I create shortcuts for all my applications.
Then, I drag and drop the icons into the appetizer window and from there I can move them to any category I want. I did this only ONCE and then I just copy the Appetizer folder to other computers where I also have the portable applications and it works perfectly.

Appetizer is portable and it allows relative paths meaning that no matter which computer I am using I can simply open Appetizer, click a category, click a program shortcut and the program opens.

I have several categories for example if I click on my video players category I see all the shortcuts shown in the picture.


When I need to format my computer I just reinstall the operating system, and I don't care about reinstalling programs or creating shortcuts since I mostly run portable applications.

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Re: Organizing Portable Applications...

#15 Post by abc » Sun May 06, 2012 8:56 pm

I don't have really organized I just dump all my apps in one main folder on my external drive, sometimes I put apps that have the same developer in a sub folder e.g. PortableApps, Nirsoft, Sysinternals, Piriform, etc. No folder structures for app classification e.g. "Internet -> FTP Client", I use ASuite for that.

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