Applications that write to the registry, are they portable?

Discuss anything related to portable freeware here.
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middlenamefrank
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Is this confusing?

#46 Post by middlenamefrank » Sun Jun 10, 2007 9:29 pm

It seems pretty obvious to me. 'Portable' means I can walk up to a victim machine and run an app from a 'portable' medium like my thumb drive, without installing it or any supporting files. Did it record my presence? I don't care. It didn't install any files, in particular any dll's or other libraries that may affect the system, that's all I care about in this instance. It was UNINTRUSIVE.

'Stealthy', however, means the app leaves no footprint, no deleted files which can be unerased to record my presence, and damn right I care about leaving a record, in the registry or anywhere! That's what 'stealthy' means, isn't it?

The current rating system is more than adequate to ascertain these levels of 'portability', aren't they? I vote we keep them just as they are.

Doug

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Rafael Castro
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completely portable?

#47 Post by Rafael Castro » Tue Jun 12, 2007 1:43 pm

I believe, that if the adjustments of application ( options, setup ) are put in the registry , it is not completely portable.

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Andrew Lee
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#48 Post by Andrew Lee » Sat Aug 11, 2007 5:53 am

I am moving recent comments about TCPView's use of registry here:
BrianJ: I find it interesting that this is a 'portable' website, yet there seem to be MANY times when the webmaster writes '...I accept this app as portable.' Perhaps we should review the definition of 'portable ?' NO REGISTRY ENTRIES. Thank you. There are MANY other sites for apps that insist on writing to the registry, and are therefore, NOT truly portable. [2007-08-10 06:59]

* John Jimenez: BrianJ,

I am tired of people complaining about Andrew's choices. He is running this site for free, does not require any information from you do view the listings, and does not limit your viewing if you are using an ad-blocking client.

There are plenty of other sites out there devoted to portable apps, and some are more stick than others in regards to what is acceptable as "portable". From what I have seen, the majority of '...I accept this app as portable.' labeled apps have no other "truely portable" alternative.

At least here, the app is clearly labeled, and you can make the decision if you want to use it or not.

~John [2007-08-10 07:23]

* Fan of the PFC - Crid: > He is running this site
> for free

Exactly. No one has done more for the usefulness, enjoyment, and data integrity of my computer in the last ten years than this website. (Maybe ever.) This guy is waging a one-man crusade for sanity against some of the powerful corporations in the world.

I loaded the trial of Vista a few months ago, and noticed that the "installed" apps had better video resolution than the portable ones. Get the picture? The software on this site threatens a lot of really rich people, and they're going to do what they can to make it stop. The issues Andrew deals with are closely related to the battles over copyright and fair use.

Even when a piece of software he reviews isn't fully portable, it's a thoughtful review of a utility, And then he links to it! What's not to like? Every visit to this site is like Christmas morning. [2007-08-10 08:44]

* J Johnson: TCPView is portable as I can run it on my usb drive. Yes, it does write a few registry settings but it is still portable.

I personally classify portable as something I can 1) run on removable media and 2) I do not need to install anything to run it.

Keep up the great work Andrew! [2007-08-10 09:12]

* JCW: I have to agree with Brian. IF this is going to be a 'portable' site, then it should stay just that. Yes, the owner of the site does a great job and a great service, BUT there are SO MANY other sites for non-portable apps. Please consider keeping this site for TRUE portable apps. And yes, I also agree that true portable apps don't tough the registry, UNLESS they erase what they write when the app is closed. [2007-08-10 10:35]

* Fan of the PFC - Crid: > IF this is going to
> be a 'portable' site,
> then it should just...

If you have such prissy standards, why don't you start a blog of your own? They're free nowadays, you know. When communications are so cheap, there's no point in writing letters to the editor to complain about things... You should just say what you want to say.

If there's a finer resource for software on the world wide web than this site, please let us know where it is. Even Andrew would like to know about it. [2007-08-10 12:39]

* Firewrath: oi,
ok, i had a whole post here, but screw it,
ive said it all before somewhere else,

bottem line,
its Andys site and he can do whatever he wants,
and its a Great site at that,

the fact that he wants to add non-stealth apps is Fine with me,
he tells us they write to the registry, and they're not 'stealth', so, really, who cares?
its a handy app and its not like he's Forcing you to download it, nor is it really taking up all that much space,
you dont want it, dont download it, just ignore it and go on, -_- [2007-08-10 13:06]

* Rooster: Excellent job Andrew!
I like it just the way you do things now.
You go out of your way to check things out & warn us if there might be any special considerations about the software.
Keep up the Great Work and thanks for providing such a valuable service. [2007-08-10 23:06]

* Bill S: No offense intended, but it would be nice if there was at least one TRUE portable app site - not 'sometimes we deviate a bit' - where we could be sure there would be ZERO registry entries. That would also be my definition of PORTABLE. Not an application that leaves traces behind on computers you use... Again, NO OFFENSE INTENDED, but there are hundreds of other sites that carry NON portable apps. Why not make this site unique ? [2007-08-11 06:15]

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Andrew Lee
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#49 Post by Andrew Lee » Sat Aug 11, 2007 6:11 am

To follow up...

If I rename this website "The list of freeware that Andrew considers portable", would it make you guys happier? :D

There are so many different interpretation of "portable" if you read just this thread alone.

- Portable EXE
- Portable settings
- Portable paths
- Stealth
- No dependencies on IE/codec/DirectX/whatever
- Must run under guest account

To follow all these Draconian rules to the T is crazy! The database won't be very useful to me, and this website will lose the purpose of its existence (which is to serve ME).

Come on guys, gimme a break. I will try to write as much information about the app as possible (with help from some of you), and you can pick and choose which suit your needs. Or start your own database and list only the ones you consider portable, and I will make sure I point to you in the "Links" section. OK?

Or do you really want me to rename the site? :lol:

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Firewrath
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#50 Post by Firewrath » Sat Aug 11, 2007 5:30 pm

Andrew Lee wrote: If I rename this website "The list of freeware that Andrew considers portable", would it make you guys happier? :D
Actually, thats what i was thinking, ;)
like:
TPFC*
(*And other useful programs.)

...but, i was tryingto keep my comment serious, so didnt say it, :P
"It's not that I'm Evil, just that I'm unwillingly Good."
-Stolen, but oh so fitting. ^-^

It might take me a while to reply to any post or comments, I only have internet access once a week.
So if I don't reply or miss a question, this is why.

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#51 Post by JohnW » Mon Aug 13, 2007 9:34 am

Overall I'm quite happy to go with Andrew.

The definition which causes me most problems is
It must not rely on any particular platform runtimes]
I am not bothered if the app requires .NET or Java . I'm satisfied that such apps should not appear in the Database.
But I hope that they are mentioned in the Forum. An example is TrIDNet. A useful app which requires .NET but is otherwise portable. There must be many others.

Picking up on an earlier Andrew comment, he moves between Home,Office, Friend, Wife. Now- for the sake of argument - if Java and NET were installed on all these machines why would he then reject a 'portable' app which need one of these environments. My guess is that in those circumstances he wouldn't. He started the site to help himself and it's mushroomed to become a major asset.
For me - I just want to know about significant ones.

Andrew writes
I will write up as much as I can about each app (dependencies, settings location, access rights, stealth etc.), and you decide for yourself whether it is portable.
This should cover all my concerns provided apps are submitted to the Forum first.

I just wonder if Andrew would post direct to the Database and so would have already have decided on what he considered portable.

Another point on the definition is that the reverse is untrue. Many apps rely on the O/S NOT being Vista for example. Certainly many apps rely on early VB runtimes and the early help engine.
The System Requirements field is, as most will be aware, somewhat unreliable.

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m^(2)
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#52 Post by m^(2) » Tue Aug 14, 2007 1:45 am

JohnW wrote:Overall I'm quite happy to go with Andrew.

The definition which causes me most problems is
It must not rely on any particular platform runtimes]
I am not bothered if the app requires .NET or Java . I'm satisfied that such apps should not appear in the Database.
But I hope that they are mentioned in the Forum. An example is TrIDNet. A useful app which requires .NET but is otherwise portable. There must be many others.
Regular TRiD doesn't reqire .NET
JohnW wrote:Another point on the definition is that the reverse is untrue. Many apps rely on the O/S NOT being Vista for example. Certainly many apps rely on early VB runtimes and the early help engine.
The System Requirements field is, as most will be aware, somewhat unreliable.
Is it a problem to take VB runtimes with you? Taking .NET is harder.

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#53 Post by JohnW » Tue Aug 14, 2007 2:55 am

# m^(2)
1. You state
Regular TRiD doesn't reqire .NET
True but by implication you seem to be saying that all command-line utilities should be included in the Database because that is what TrID is!
IMHO command-line utilities should continue to be excluded.

2. You ask
Is it a problem to take VB runtimes with you?
That's a fair point and I do in fact have a collection of such runtimes but it's a 'pain in the arse' running an app which you discover requires a 'standard' runtime which is not actually installed.
If you add all the VB runtimes to each application the drive becomes bloated.

As for you remark 'Taking .NET is harder', that's not my point.
If all the machines that I use have .NET installed why should I reject a 'portable' app that requires it?

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#54 Post by m^(2) » Wed Aug 15, 2007 12:41 am

JohnW wrote:IMHO command-line utilities should continue to be excluded.
I DEFINITELY do not agree. Try to automate some task with GUI tool. Example? TrID plugin for Total Commader. Try to do this with TrIDNet - sure, possible, but extremely uncomfortable.
JohnW wrote:2. You ask
Is it a problem to take VB runtimes with you?
That's a fair point and I do in fact have a collection of such runtimes but it's a 'pain in the arse' running an app which you discover requires a 'standard' runtime which is not actually installed.
If you add all the VB runtimes to each application the drive becomes bloated.
Start all your programs with batches like this:

Code: Select all

set path=%cd%\..\lib;%path%
start yourProg.exe
Place all runtime libraries in the lib directory...and you're done.
JohnW wrote:As for you remark 'Taking .NET is harder', that's not my point.
If all the machines that I use have .NET installed why should I reject a 'portable' app that requires it?
It's just another example that portablility is highly subjective. It works for you-ok, use it. But I'm one of these people who want to have something more objective, something like "Program is portable if it's portable for 95% of it's potential users". Even regular firefox can be portable for sb. - if he uses default settings and on no machine he uses is a customized FF. Bookmarks? You can live without.

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#55 Post by JohnW » Wed Aug 15, 2007 6:15 am

m^(2)

I don't want to labour this small thread; I suspect that we'll continue to differ/agree on some aspects. Just proves though what an interesting Forum this is.

I will pick up on one point.

Whilst I'm no fan of these console apps (I had my fill of them in the early 80s), you make a very good point using the TrID plugin as an example. In this case (and I guess there are many others) the Host program (Total Commander here) is taking care of all the parameters. Another example (I think) is Universal Extractor; this does include a number of console apps but the individual apps are not included in the PF database.

I suspect that if such console programs were to be included the site might become too difficult to cope with (So my vote is Exclude).

But there's no doubt that you do have a point.

The thought goes through my mind that there might be a special section in the Forums where users could post console apps that they found useful. The best of these might well attract a GUI front-end from a keen programmer and migrate to the database.

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#56 Post by Local » Wed Aug 15, 2007 8:23 am

The thought goes through my mind that there might be a special section in the Forums where users could post console apps that they found useful. The best of these might well attract a GUI front-end from a keen programmer and migrate to the database.

That is a great idea.

In the forum it shouldn't mean any extra workload for the site and we (Lazy people with lousy memories like me) could always do with more GUI front ends :D

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#57 Post by m^(2) » Wed Aug 15, 2007 8:55 am

Local wrote:
The thought goes through my mind that there might be a special section in the Forums where users could post console apps that they found useful. The best of these might well attract a GUI front-end from a keen programmer and migrate to the database.

That is a great idea.

In the forum it shouldn't mean any extra workload for the site and we (Lazy people with lousy memories like me) could always do with more GUI front ends :D
Agree, really good idea :)

++support;

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"portability"

#58 Post by ohiozzz » Wed Aug 15, 2007 11:22 pm

Portable to me means,I can run a app from any machine without installing it first. Anything else is up to each user. What if the machine you plug your thumb drive into has a keylogger,screen capture utility. If it does than it dosn't matter if you leave any registry entries or not. I like apps that keep my settings when transfered to different computers. Personally I have quit using windows unless I can't get around it. I use a version of Linux called Pizzapup. I run from live dvd and it runs from ram. So I don't have to worry about leaving traces on host computer. Andrew has done a great job with this site,so have the moderators and all of us who put in our 2 cents. Really people can anything ever really be stealthy. Remember where there's a will there's a way. If someone is willing to take the time nothing is impossible.

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teobromina
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All we exist as well

#59 Post by teobromina » Thu Nov 15, 2007 12:33 pm

Andrew Lee wrote: this website will lose the purpose of its existence (which is to serve ME).
Andrew: I think, IMHO, that ALL WE are contributing, according to our capacity, to the success of this great site. :roll: Therefore, presently all we (deserve to and) take profit from its existence.

To change the name of the site will not add any contents or extra information, but, for a while, will lead to loss of presence, due to the need to change the links of many pages that point to TPFC, at present.

I think the information given with any program or application is enough to have one very accurate idea of what one can find when trying or using a program of the database.

This is still more true if we consider that this site is not for everybody, but for the ones that think, like us, that to make (and use) an application portable is useful and better that to use an installed one instead. So, people using our site know or must know the implications and nuances related to writing to registry, using an INI file, needing a DLL or a runtime... as they know presently and can live with the knowledge that a program could be not stealth.

Lets to go step by step and maintain the line followed until now that has been useful. A risky change does not leads always to a better situation (by the way I do not like the change from DSL Linux v 3.4.5 to 4.0, which is an example of a radical change)

I invite everybody to contribute by helping to improve, instead to insist in a non productive discussion, as sometimes we do. :wink:

Regards.

*JT.
"Lo que tengas que hacer, hazlo pronto" (Juan 13, 27) / "What you do, do quickly" (John 13, 27)
http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teobromina / http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theobromine

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#60 Post by brad » Mon Dec 24, 2007 9:16 am

For me, portable isn't just so I can load the program off a USB key. I just built a new computer for instance, and via using 99% portable apps, there's basically nothing installed on the system, which is great! Now portable by definition to me means NO registry use of any sort. If it uses the registry, it might as well have an install program as well. What's worse with these so called portable apps that use the registry is that there isn't even a way to cleanly uninstall it and get rid of whatever it put in the registry.

Rather than accepting certain applications as "sorta" portable, contact authors and have them make a real portable version. It's not hard AT ALL to say switch a program from using the registry to using an ini or xml files.

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