Setting Up Your USB Storage Device as a Portable Application Library - Crucial Portable Applications
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In this section we'll discuss the most critical #1 priority portable applications that are required on a really frequent basis which no user should have to live without. They simply make our lives easier. These all together shouldn't take more than 200-250MB storage space.
WEB-BROWSER CLIENT: Firefox or Opera or alternatives
You're going to need a fast and reliable browser. Are you an enthusiastic FF fan? Or maybe you love Opera? Needless to say whichever you prefer and are familiar with is the right choice for you.
Take your pick; it's easy to download Mozilla Firefox Portable Edition, and Opera fans can check out Opera Portable, or "Opera@USB" from here. The latter two are different projects for the same browser. Installation is easy with the self-extracting archives. Also, you might want to check out Portable Safari if you're an OS-X junkie or just grab Lynx (here and/or here) if you want the "good ol' classy" text-based web browser.
E-MAIL CLIENT: Thunderbird or Opera or alternatives
Mozilla Thunderbird Portable Edition makes a perfect complement to Firefox. They're both very reliable and fantastic. "Opera@USB" can act as an email client too; it's definitely worthwhile to check out. Also, I can't forget about yMail. It can be used either as a standalone email client or as a spam filter for your existing client.
Now is a great time to add the above two applications into PStart (or your alternate launcher). I haven't forgotten about it. Create a new group by right clicking and selecting "Add group." For example, let's name it "Internet." We're going to add your browser and email client into that group. Select that group, right click, "Add file" and locate them one-by-one.
ANTIVIRUS: Clamwin or Stinger or alternatives
We cannot forget about antivirus software. Having a portable antivirus program is magnificent; you can run it on-the-fly. ClamWin Portable is the most popular and my personal favorite. I could also suggest checking out McAfee Stinger. It's a powerful standalone antivirus application.
Once again, don't forget to add your antivirus tool into your tray tool.
DOCUMENT PROCESSING: OpenOffice.org or AbiWord or alternatives
Wherever we go we might face a situation when we need to view and/or edit a spreadsheet, document, PDF, or presentation. That specific computer may not have an office suite installed and in that case we end up frustrated. Having a complete office suite that is portable can save the day!
OpenOffice.org is completely portable as a full-featured office suite (including word processor, spreadsheet, presentation tool, drawing package and database). Its incredible ~65MB size makes it truly magnificent.
The other alternative is AbiWord. This one is 6.3MB; of course it sports many amazing features (like grammar and spell checkers, multilingual menus, and so on). It's very similar to Microsoft Word but at least it is portable and open source.
As a side note, I must recommend my personal favorite, Notepad++. I tend to use it a lot for my coding endeavors. It supports several programming languages and was intended as a replacement for the original Microsoft Notepad. Check it out. It's small and very, very useful.
IMAGE PROCESSING: Irfanview or GIMP or alternatives
"Irfanview"... who hasn't heard of it yet? It's one of the most popular "viewers" worldwide. You can download it from here and install it on the USB stick; it saves the .ini configuration file and whatnot on the stick. When the file associations are about to be configured just skip that while installing; the rest is written onto your flash drive, therefore you'll be able to run it individually from whatever system you desire.
"GIMP Portable" is another famous Graphical Image Manipulation Software and needs no introductions. Download it from here and enjoy. The last alternative might be "Paint.NET" (link: here). Also, don't forget to add these and the above document processing applications into your tray tool application; that should be PStart.
ARCHIVERS AND EXTRACTORS: 7-ZIP or HJ-ZIP or alternatives
My favorite in this category is "7-ZIP Portable" and you can download it from here. It has a very large range of support and compatibility. Another one is "HJ-ZIP;" that one is pretty decent too, very fast and light. Grab it from here and give it a try.
PDF-related TOOLS: SumatraPDF or FoxIt PDF or alternatives
"SumatraPDF Portable" is very fast due to its size and optimized algorithm; download it from here. You won't be disappointed by its effectiveness. Also, if you'd prefer a PDF viewer similar to Adobe Acrobat, then "FoxIt PDF" is your best bet; get it from here. This one is also fantastic. I personally copied both of them onto my flash drive simply because each of them has unique features that I would miss.
MEDIA PLAYERS: VLC or MPlayerC or alternatives
"VLC Media Player Portable" has everything that you need to play various audio and video files on the go. Download it from here. It also offers multilingual capabilities.
"Media Player Classic" is also quite popular; you can get it from here. As for alternatives, be sure to check out this blog post because there is a link that leads you to "Portable BSplayer." Also, you might like "MPlayerHQ" (link: here), and you can set up "Winamp" as a portable application (link: here).
INSTANT MESSENGERS: GAIM or Miranda IM or alternatives
Dozens of people are addicted to Instant Messaging. Wherever they go they want to log into messengers, either via the web-based meebo.com client or by downloading and installing their favorite client onto that specific computer.
Probably the best solution is to use a multi-messenger client that supports ICQ, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, IRC, Jabber, Google Talk, and so forth. In this case the first client that comes to my mind is "GAIM Portable" (download here). It is just as powerful as the standalone client. The other alternative could be "Miranda IM Portable" (link: here). Miranda's plugin library is unimaginable-- currently well over 350 plugins.
Also you shouldn't miss out on "Trillian Anywhere" and "Skype Portable." You can download them from here and here, respectively.
CD/DVD BURNERS: DeepBurner or Ultimate CD/DVD Burner or alternatives
"DeepBurner Free Portable" is my personal favorite. It can run exceptionally well from my flash drive and it also keeps my settings stored on the drive itself. Download it from here. "Ultimate CD/DVD Burner" is great too. Its interface is very easy and intuitive but it also has many advanced features and options, therefore it's perfect for every user regardless of their level of experience. Give it a go (link: here).
Before we move on, you might be interested in checking out "CDRTFE" (link: here). It's a front-end GUI for the well-known basic "cdrtools" commands.
Now that your USB storage device is hooked up with the most crucial portable applications, do another check to see if you've added each of them into your launcher.
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