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Portable Apps has updated themselves to version 12.0.5, which has some minor bug fixes, but Portable Apps 12 has a huge array of new features and functionality. This program suite is a lot like the Live Disc Linux builds I love, which allow you to launch a full OS from a disc with a huge range of software. If you don’t already use it, Portable Apps is a platform that runs like a program in any Windows computer off of a thumb drive, external hard drive, cloud drive, smart phone, iPod, or anything else the computer recognizes as a storage device. I actually installed it to a MicroSD chip which I use in my camera to save photos and video to, and when I plug the camera into the computer I can run it off of that. It doesn’t have its own OS like the Live Discs do, but it certainly has the huge range of software. Also like a Live Disc, you never install any software on the computer you are using, it all runs straight from the media source.

When you launch Portable Apps, it opens a menu with whatever collection of software you installed on the device, ready to run on the computer you plugged it into. All the software has your settings included, so Firefox (or Chrome, or Lynx, or Opera, or SeaMonkey; I am not going to go through the list for each kind of program mentioned, but you get the idea) remembers your homepage and has all your bookmarks, Thunderbird has your mail server config and downloaded messages for offline reading/responding, Filezilla has all the connectivity info for uploading to your web servers or downloading from file repositories you like to visit, and so forth. They have over 300 programs organized in 10 categories, each of which has 5 to 10 subcategories covering anything from graphics/audio/video creation and processing to a portable web server with Apache, PHP, MySQL, and CGI-BIN, and a lot more besides. And yes, you can install WordPress to that server, or anything else you would want to have as part of a XAMP/LAMP installation. And the list of apps goes on.

The other way it resembles a Live Disc is that when you are through using your software on whatever computer you walked up to, you shut the computer down, unplug your media source, and when the computer is rebooted it has no trace of your personal settings or information, everything was saved to the Portable Apps media source. That means whatever new bookmarks you saved, files you downloaded, etc, all goes with you; you never lose it. If you are not already a major fan, download it and install it on something and try it out. I am betting you become a big fan of the project once you have seen just how powerful it is. All of the software is free, legal, and open source, and if you enjoy the freedom of never having to leave your favorite software behind, you might consider offering them a donation.