55 Portable Apps for Making a USB Super Stick
Update: This post has been amazing and generated a lot of interest. To make things easier, I have compiled a USB Super Stick for you. If you are interested in a 1GB drive with all the apps [below] for $20 – shoot me an email: gmo<at>
getusb.info and I’ll send you more details.
USB flash is not (yet) a portable PC whereby any USB KVM monitor is your work station – but it will get there. In the mean time, making the most of your USB stick and creating a portable software suite isn’t hard – you just need a little guidance. So… for you road-warriors or super geeks the following list of 55 portable applications are worth taking note. With 2GB, 4GB and 8GB drives readily available at extremely cheap prices making a portable software suite and creating a Super Stick is quite easy.
When building your Super Stick there are numerous programs designed to run specifically from a USB drive. Best of all, almost all these programs are free, so put that Amex back in your wallet and lets start downloading. Here’s a list of 55 of the most useful USB programs around.
- Currports [47 KB | Freeware | Win 2000/XP/2003/Vista] If you need to know what’s running on your computer and where, CurrPorts can be useful. You can monitor and control the ports that are used on your computer and the applications that are using them. This allows you to terminate or close them if needed. You also can export the information you find into an html or text-based report.
- WinAudit [783 KB | Freeware | Win All] Crack down on your computer with WinAudit. It allows you to run a detailed audit of all the hardware and software on your computer so you know exactly what you have installed, license information, memory usage, startup programs, and network settings. Like Currports, you can obtain a report in text or html format and additionally spreadsheets.
- Damn Small Linux [50 MB | Freeware | Win All] Now you can bring your Linux operating system with you anywhere you go and even run it inside Windows. Why settle for using an OS you don’t love when you can bring the mini-me version with you? Tiny enough to fit on a USB drive, but powerful enough to run a nearly complete desktop system.
- StartupList [158 KB | Freeware | Win 98/ME/2000/XP] If your computer takes its sweet time starting up, you might have a bunch of programs you don’t really need to start when you boot your computer. StartupList will provide you with a list of everything that will start when your computer starts – and not just applications. You’ll see scheduled jobs and pending file operations show up as well. There are a few key points to remember though, as this application was developed for those individuals with at least a little computer knowledge, and you can’t change anything directly through the program.
- PStart [632 KB | Freeware | Win 2000/XP] Take your start menu on the road with you with PStart. You’ll have easy access to your files and applications, and you can organize them in to categories or groups that launch when you select that icon. PStart also supports a variety of other features such as a notes organizer, search feature and customizable icons.
- AIDA32 [2.94 MB | Freeware | Win 98/ME/2000/XP] A system information and benchmarking tool, AIDA32 can let you know about your computer components and what’s working correctly or potential problems. You can print and save the reports it creates to help you better maintain any computer you use.
- Restoration [299 KB | Freeware | Win 98/ME/2000/XP] Everyone has accidentally deleted something they shouldn’t have at one time or another, but now there’s an easy way to get it back. You simply scan your computer for any files that can be recovered, limiting your search within certain parameters unless you want to see all of it at once. But what if you don’t want to get your files back but want to make sure they’re gone for good? Restoration can help you wipe your files clean forever.
- RockXP [768 KB | Freeware | Win XP] RockXP can help you to easily retrieve your XP product key as well as any other keys for your other Microsoft products. This may not sound like a big deal, but it can be if you need to reinstall a program and you’ve misplaced the product key information.
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- avast! [398 KB | Freeware | Win All] You can make sure that any computer you use is clean and virus free with Avast! Virus Cleaning software for your USB drive. It can help you clean up any virus and worm infections and make the fixes to the registry and startup settings as well.
- Dr.Web CureIt [5.37 MB | Freeware | Win All] Another option for keeping any computer virus free is Dr. Web. Dr.Web is a little different than Avast! in that it only scans your computer on demand, it does not keep a constant lookout for any incoming virus or worm infections. While this might sound like a disadvantage, the program can detect a wide variety of viruses without installation.
- Omziff [407 KB | Freeware | Win 98/ME/2000/XP] It’s always a good idea to encrypt any files or data you’re sending or receiving on your computer, thanks to hackers. Omziff provides convenient encryption and decryption for the most common types of algorithms, as well as several other security tools to help you protect your information.
- SmartSniff [57 KB | Freeware | Win 98/ME/2000/XP] Monitoring your network traffic on the go can be made easy with SmartSniff. SmartSniff allows you to keep track of your network traffic and even to color code traffic depending on where it’s originating.
- KeePass Password Safe [1.17 MB | Freeware | Win All] KeePass is a password manager that allows you to carry your passwords around with you in a secure and encrypted database. It offers several options for entering usernames and passwords and many additional security features. You can even add on to it with various plug ins (also free).
- AdAware [4.63 MB | Freeware | Win 98/ME/2000/XP] Spyware and Malware infections can render a computer almost unusable, so take the ability to get rid of these bothersome programs with you no matter where you go. With AdAware you can scan the affected computer and delete the programs you determine aren’t ones you want.
- RoboForm2Go [2.84 MB | Freeware | Win 98/ME/2000/XP] Take your passwords with you securely and conveniently (who wants to remember all those passwords anyway?). RoboForm2Go allows you to quickly fill out forms and passwords in IE or in other browsers with the click of a button. Your information will remain secure. And, as soon as you remove the USB drive no traces of the program are left behind and the passwords remain encrypted on the USB drive. The free version stores up to 10 logins.
- CryptoAnywhere [1.2 MB | Freeware | Win 95/98/ME/NT/XP/2000] Don’t let your emails go out unencrypted simply because you’re not on your home system. Bring the encryption security with you. CryptoAnywhere allows you to add strong encryption to any email you send to keep out pesky snoopers.
- IZArc2Go [3.19 MB | Freeware | Win 2000/XP/2003] IZArc is a great addition to any USB drive. It’s a powerful yet compact system for opening and compressing files in a variety of the most popular formats. It’s great for anyone who tries to cram as many files as possible into limited storage space. Additionally, it comes with features that repair broken archived files, password protection, and the ability to easily email your archived files.
- UK Kalender [321 KB | Freeware | Win 98/ME/2000/XP] No need for a PDA with applications like UK Kalendar. This program allows users to easily organize a schedule with reminders, color-coding, and alarm settings. It can even bring up the necessary documents associated with events on your calendar as well.
- Country Codes [1.32 MB | Freeware | Win All] For those who do business internationally, a list of country codes is an invaluable resource. The Country Codes app provides all the information you’ll need with maps, ISO numbers, IDDD country codes, and even the current time for each country.
- LockNote [296 KB | Freeware | Win 2000/XP] LockNote works as a virtual memo pad, as it allows you to make quick notes to yourself and carry them easily on your USB drive. Not only can you make notes, but you can also make sure that they are secure. Simply type your memo, close it, and you’ll be prompted to create a password to secure your data.
- TreePad Lite [866 KB | Freeware | Win All] TreePad Lite is a great way to manage your personal database of notes, email, text and hyperlinks. Styled after Windows Explorer, the program is easy to use and can help you quickly store and retrieve your data.
- Convert [152 KB | Freeware | Win 98/ME/2000/XP] Convert is the ultimate conversion tool. You can convert distance, time, temperature, pressure, and the list goes on and on. You can also add your own custom conversions if the list falls short.
- ToDoList [99 KB | Freeware | Win 95/98/ME/2000/XP/2003] Paper to do lists can be lost easily, so why not digitalize your tasks? ToDoList helps you break down your projects into manageable parts and you can keep track of all the things you need to get accomplish in an easy to use format.
- Essential PIM [1.5 MB | Freeware | Win All] If you’re trying to reduce the amount of places where you store data that you use on a daily basis, Essential PIM can help you get organized. It can consolidate information from Outlook, TreePad, GoogleCalender, and others.
- Anim8or [610 KB| Freeware | Win 95/98/NT/2000/ME/XP] While making 3D graphics on the go isn’t always priority one, Anim8or can be a useful tool for spicing up presentations (and provide a bit of entertainment when you’re bored). Create 3D scenes and models and apply different textures and lights to create 3D animations. Not too bad for something that fits on a USB drive.
- Mozilla SunBird [5.6 MB | Freeware | Win 2000/XP/Vista, Linux] For those who use Mozilla SunBird calendar on their PC, you can take your calendar and to dos with you. This is a great addition for individuals who use a variety of computers, but who also want to keep their schedules up to date and accurate.
- FoxIt PDF Reader [1.83 MB | Freeware | Win 98/ME/2000/XP] For those who are fed up with Adobe Reader, FoxIt can be a great alternative and one that you can easily carry around with you. Though it lacks some Adobe features, it still has the most basic and important ones including browser integration and the ability to copy and paste from text.
- TexNotesPRO [11.7 MB | Shareware $50 or Free Trial | Win 2000/XP] TexNotesPRO can be used to edit text documents, organize them, and allows easy publication. It has many features including keyboard shortcuts, an icon library, drawing tools, drag and drop capabilities, and much more. Just be advised, however, that this isn’t one of the free options.
- Atlantis [3.79 MB | Freeware | Win 95/98/NT/ME/2000/XP/Vista] A compact word processor, Atlantis uses a control board to help you edit and create text documents. You also don’t have to worry about security, as private documents can be encoded and secured. And for those who like to personalize their applications, Atlantis is fully customizable.
- EditPad Lite [2.9 MB | Freeware | Win NT4/98/2000/ME/XP/Vista] Another text editor, EditPad Lite is a compact and portable application that has many useful features. For example, multiple documents open in tabs rather than in separate windows. You also have the ability to undo changes after saving, and you have support for any text file regardless of the OS it was created on.
- eTextReader [279 KB | Freeware | Win All] If you didn’t have room to pack that bulky novel, you don’t have to go bookless. You can read on the web using eTextReader and Project Gutenburg. eTextReader allows you to adjust the font, change background colors, adjust margins and basically lay out the text to your preference. Let’s see a regular book do that!
- Reach-a-Mail [2.1 MB| Freeware | Win All] Need an email client you can use on the go? Put Reach-a-Mail on your USB drive and use it to download, send and forward your email. It also includes a simple address book so you can add new contacts or import them from Outlook. You can hook it up to several email accounts to download the messages or leave them on your regular server to access later.
- JBMail 3.2 [554 KB | Freeware | Win 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP] JBMail provides an easy way to access all your online email clients in one easy program without ever actually downloading anything to local storage. JBMail is extremely portable, loaded with features, and it’s and ideal email solution for the person on the go.
- Portable Thunderbird [6 MB | Freeware | Win 95/98/Me/2000/XP/Vista, Linux] Mozilla’s Thunderbird fans will be pleased to know that there is a portable version of the software so you can bring your contacts and email with you. Users can also rest assured that their personal information is secure – the application leaves no trace on any computer you plug into.
- The Quick Mailer [20 KB | Freeware | Win All] If you need to just jot down a quick email, Quick Mailer can be the way to avoid having to load up your main email client. You don’t even need to install it, just use it directly off of your USB drive.
- Trillian Anywhere [8 MB | Freeware | Win 98/2000/ME/XP /Vista] The popular chat program Trillian is also available in a portable version. It allows you to bring your contacts and settings to any computer you use. Trillian allows you to access your AIM, ICQ, MSN, Yahoo!, and IRC accounts from one central client making keeping in touch even easier than ever.
- Miranda [2.25 MB| Freeware | Win All] Miranda is very similar to Trillian in that it supports multiple protocols for instant messenging on one platform. It’s a lightweight program that requires no installation and users should know that there are almost 350 plug ins available to increase its functionality.
- Easy Message [240 KB | Freeware | Win All] Easy Message is the smallest portable instant messenger out there at only 240K. It allows you to access MSN, AOL, Yahoo!, or ICQ. Its incredible portability makes it ideal for taking it on the road or using on multiple computers.
- Portable Firefox [6 MB | Freeware | Win 98/Me/2000/XP/Vista, Linux] Even some of the most loyal Microsoft customers have been converted to Firefox. Despite its popularity, it’s been my experience that many computers still don’t have it installed; but no matter, just bring it with you along with your bookmarks and settings.
- OperaUSB [8 MB | Freeware | Win 98/ME/2000/XP] The geek’s geek knows there is no browser like Opera, and now you can take it with you instead of being forced to use a sub par browser on another computer. It won’t affect any of the other browsers on the computer and it won’t leave any of your personal data behind, either.
- Portable Safari [1.64 MB | Shareware $.99 | Mac OS X] While a majority of these programs are for PCs, portable Safari is for the Mac user. This shareware allows you to take the standard Mac browser anywhere with you. It isn’t free (but very, very close!), but for the cost of a downloaded MP3 you can take your Safari to any Mac you’d like.
- Yamipod [4.39 MB | Freeware | Win 98/ME/2000/XP] Can’t install iTunes on your computer at work? Not a problem – you can use Yamipod to access your iPod’s contents without having iTunes. You can copy files to and from your iPod, import and export play lists, search for songs, remove duplicates, and create and edit notes. Yamipod also includes a built in music player. If you don’t have a USB drive you can put Yamipod on your iPod.
- Beneath a Steel Sky [8 MB | Freeware | Win 95/98/NT/2000/ME/XP] While I myself have spent many a wasted hour playing Minesweeper and Solitaire, sometimes I look for something a little more satisfying. Beneath a Steel Sky is an old game (1994 totally old school) that was brought back as freeware. While it sounds like a dogfight type of game, it’s actually about a bleak future where oppressed citizens live in a polluted city. The game is a point and click adventure similar to LucasArts games from the same era.
- Flight of the Amazon Queen [7.2 MB | Freeware | Win 95/98/NT/2000/ME/XP] This is another rerelease of an old game originally created for the Amiga (I totally had one of these back in the day). The game is also a point and click adventure with attractive graphics and creative dialogue. The puzzles should keep you entertained for at least a few hours, and if you can’t beat it all in one go you can always take it with you.
- Zoom Player [1.4 MB | Freeware | Win All] Zoom Player is useful for the common user as well as for the more advanced user who wants to be able to manipulate their playbacks to exact specifications. The slick interface looks great, and the program runs quickly while providing numerous advanced features.
- foobar2000 [1.6 MB | Freeware | Win 2000/XP/Vista] foobar2000 is a great little audio player and small enough to be usefully portable. It plays the most common audio formats (and some less common ones) and is incredibly customizable, especially for those who are computer savvy.
- Media Player Classic [2.12 MB | Freeware | Win 95/98/NT/2000/XP] On some computers, simply trying to watch a video can be an ordeal with video programs that haven’t been updated since they were installed. Circumvent this problem by bringing your own video player along. Media Player Classic plays a majority of media types and has a simple, easy to use interface.
- TrayURL [1.86 MB | Freeware | Win All] If you’ve ever been frustrated at another computer when you try to remember a website that you’ve conveniently bookmarked on your own, TrayURL can help you out. It allows you to carry around your favorites on your USB drive and access them from the system tray as easily as you would on your own computer.
- GreatNews [ 1.29 MB | Freeware | Win NT/2000/XP] Get access to all your favorite news (or other) RSS feeds from anywhere using GreatNews. You can play around with the views and create custom labels and alerts. It’s a quick and easy way to keep up on your Web reading and requires no installation.
- Http File Server (HFS) [512 KB | Freeware | Win All] If you like to share files on the go, this program can make your task easy. This standalone program allows you to drag and drop files you want to share using a simple HTML page. For those of you who are so inclined, the page can be customized to suit your needs or integrated with Internet Explorer.
- WhoisThisDomain [42 KB | Freeware | Win 98/ME/2000/XP] Internet business types can find the owner of a domain quickly and easily using WhoisThisDomain. It provides the name and registration information for any URL, generic or country code, simply by copying and pasting the it into the program.
- Quick ‘n Easy FTP Server Lite [355 KB | Freeware | Win 98/ME/2000/XP] Quick ‘n Easy FTP Server Lite is a simple but effective means for managing your FTP needs. The tiny program comes with features such as IP blocking, remote administration, and server statistics, as well as all the usual FTP goodies.
- FTP Wanderer [210 KB | Freeware | Win 98/ME/2000/XP] FTP Wanderer is another portable FTP program with drag and drop uploads/downloads. It’s designed for easy navigation of file sites but not necessarily for more advanced web management.
- Angry IP Scanner [108 KB | Freeware | Win All] If you’re in need of a quick and easy IP scanner, Angry IP can be your portable solution. It pings each IP address to see if it’s working, establishes the hostname, and then, optionally, can connect. It can also display a wide variety of other information depending on your needs.
- FollowMeIP Lite [152 KB | Freeware | Win 98/ME/2000/XP] If you want your IP address displayed even though you’re hidden behind a firewall, you can use FollowMeIP. You don’t need to install the program – just run it and your IP address will be displayed.
USB drives aren’t just for carrying around your music and important files, they can also be a great way to bring your most important or favorite applications with you. A majority of these programs are free to download, so give them a try. It’s a painless way to make the most out of a great technology, and maybe impress a few of your friends with a Super Stick, all-around portable work horse (provided they aren’t geekier than you).