Lesser-known advantages of portable software

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ownedbycats
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Lesser-known advantages of portable software

#1 Post by ownedbycats » Sat Feb 23, 2019 11:53 am

A lot of us already know the big advantages of using portable freeware. What are some of the lesser-known advantages? I have a few:

1. Updating the software won't constantly recreate the start menu or desktop shortcuts. (I like to keep my menu clean by putting everything into subfolders.)
2. It's far, far easier to run multiple versions of the same software side-by-side.
3. Far less hassle than installing/uninstalling when you just want to use something for one task.

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webfork
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Re: Lesser-known advantages of portable software

#2 Post by webfork » Sat Feb 23, 2019 3:35 pm

I've been building a comprehensive list of portable software advantages off and on over the years, but can definitely point to a few things I'd never have considered before I started on the site:
  • Easier testing - If one configuration is causing problems, just generate a new instance, make changes, and see if the issue resurfaces.
  • Data recovery - a lot of tools out there will encourage users to save to a separate drive to avoid file overwrites, but I've seen none of them suggest actually running the program itself FROM a separate USB, which is always ideal outside of fully disconnecting the drive and inspecting it from a separate system.
  • Browser plugin suites - It's possible but not easy to run multiple browsers with multiple different plugin setups, but portable software can handle this easily. That said, I know that some browsers are better than others about isolating browser plugin settings. I'd probably trust Firefox to keep adblocker settings separate between browser instances, but I haven't tested this.

Specular
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Re: Lesser-known advantages of portable software

#3 Post by Specular » Sat Feb 23, 2019 4:40 pm

May have been mentioned in a previous topic about advantages, can't recall, but I've read of some users synchronizing portable programs via cloud hosting (eg: Dropbox) which is a curious and convenient way of keeping multiple systems current with your settings and data.

bitcoin
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Re: Lesser-known advantages of portable software

#4 Post by bitcoin » Tue Feb 26, 2019 8:17 am

one of the disadvantages i've thought is that the portable programs won't properly update themselves to their portable location but i haven't actually tested it out

is this the case? does anyone know?

also, i notice that laptop computers i've bought the last few years have the HDD partitioned into "C:Windows" and "D:Data" now so perhaps more people are getting the idea that its nice to separate most of their stuff away from the OS partition

ownedbycats
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Re: Lesser-known advantages of portable software

#5 Post by ownedbycats » Tue Feb 26, 2019 5:36 pm

Specular wrote:
Sat Feb 23, 2019 4:40 pm
May have been mentioned in a previous topic about advantages, can't recall, but I've read of some users synchronizing portable programs via cloud hosting (eg: Dropbox) which is a curious and convenient way of keeping multiple systems current with your settings and data.
Back when I had multiple systems, I did this!
bitcoin wrote:
Tue Feb 26, 2019 8:17 am
one of the disadvantages i've thought is that the portable programs won't properly update themselves to their portable location but i haven't actually tested it out

is this the case? does anyone know?
I'm not sure I follow what you mean here. For the occasional PortableApps installer I've sometimes ended up with a second portable version nested in a subfolder under the first. Or are you referring to drive letters?

Anyways, another advantage I thought of: Being able to share the same settings between different users.

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Re: Lesser-known advantages of portable software

#6 Post by webfork » Tue Feb 26, 2019 8:33 pm

bitcoin wrote:
Tue Feb 26, 2019 8:17 am
is this the case? does anyone know?
Yes, this is one of the primary reasons for the PortableApps platform: an update plan is built right in. I've gotten around this 90% of the time by just manually moving the settings files, but this is time consuming and the PA platform does both the download and the settings management much faster.
ownedbycats wrote:
Tue Feb 26, 2019 5:36 pm
Specular wrote:
Sat Feb 23, 2019 4:40 pm
May have been mentioned in a previous topic about advantages, can't recall, but I've read of some users synchronizing portable programs via cloud hosting (eg: Dropbox) which is a curious and convenient way of keeping multiple systems current with your settings and data.
Back when I had multiple systems, I did this!
Yes, very common. Maybe moreso than USB drives now. PA actually lists this as one of the uses on their homepage.

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Midas
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Re: Lesser-known advantages of portable software

#7 Post by Midas » Wed Feb 27, 2019 4:16 am

bitcoin wrote: i notice that laptop computers i've bought the last few years have the HDD partitioned into "C:Windows" and "D:Data" now so perhaps more people are getting the idea that its nice to separate most of their stuff away from the OS partition
I have been doing this for ages and it's good to see it finally becoming a standard in my old age.

In fact, I have now regressed to a single partition, since I keep Windows in a VHD file... :|

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