Ten Portable Applications I Can’t Live Without

I’m constantly amazed at – and depressed by – how many computers aren’t capable of performing what I consider the most basic, essential day-to-day functions, let alone handle or manipulate even fairly widespread file types. I know, I know already – just get a Mac; Macs do everything. Right, rabid fanbois, I know, I know. Shaddup, already. A Mac is not an option when you need to give data to someone, or do something on a friend’s/coworker’s/client’s computer. What is a geek to do?

Carry around a whole bunch of portable applications on a thumb drive, duh!

These are the ones I find most useful; your mileage may vary:

PortaPuTTY – an SSH client, of course, and also a telnet client (which is mainly useful for debugging remote network services), and even a poor man’s VPN, if and when needed.

WinSCP – For all your data- and file-transfer needs.

WinRAR Unplugged – the portable version of the archive compression/decompression utility. (It’s amazing how many computers have nothing installed that can open even a .zip file!)

FireFox Portable – because friends don’t let friends use Internet Explorer. (I heart Flashblock.)

Sumatra PDF Portable – a PDF reader that works consistently and reliably.

PDFTK Portable – a utility to split, merge, and otherwise manipulate PDF files. Unbelievably useful.

AbiWord Portable – I really prefer SUN’s OpenOffice, but where size, speed, and ease-of-use are concerned, it’s hard to beat AbiWord. (It was also the first – and for a long time, only – word processor I used under Linux, so I’m perhaps unreasonably fond of it.)

Portable GIMP – because, inevitably, no matter what project you’re working on, one day someone is going to want you to crop, resize, or otherwise manipulate an image file on a computer with no image-manipulation software.

Restoration – a small, simple, effective file-recovery tool. Restore the deleted file(s), save the day, get the girl (or boy).

DataRecovery – another undeletion tool. Sometimes this one works, and Restoration doesn’t; sometimes it’s the other way around. Increase your odds of recovering the file, saving the day, and getting the girl (or boy).

It sounds nuts, but I find I can do 99% of the things I want or need to using just these ten programs..

Published in: Geekiness, General | on February 6th, 2009| Comments Off on Ten Portable Applications I Can’t Live Without

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