Portable Apps - Why does it want to INSTALL?

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by Alan, Jul 2, 2009.

  1. Alan

    Alan Guest

    Hi All,

    I was looking at the portableapps.com site, and thinking I'd download
    some of the apps to carry with me on USB.

    I downloaded the Pidgin portable app:


    However, when I double click on the exe file, it wants to install
    something on my machine.

    Now, I realise I am probably missing something here, but surely the
    whole point of a portable app is that it doesn't need to be installed,
    and just runs from the exe file??

    I was expecting, at most, that the exe would just be a zip file (well,
    actually, I was expecting a zip or rar or 7zip file to be honest) and
    that it would just extract some files that I would put on my USB

    If it installs something on my machine, then it isn't very portable is

    Alan, Jul 2, 2009
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  2. Alan

    victor Guest

    When it asks where you would like to install it, choose your USB key.
    victor, Jul 2, 2009
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  3. Alan

    Cima Guest

    Yep, those portable apps just unpack to wherever you want, they're not
    Cima, Jul 2, 2009
  4. Alan

    Mike Dee Guest

    No, that's just a typical Installer app defaulting to locating the boot
    drive to install to.

    Point it toward what you want to install it on (USB stick) and then
    run the installer.

    You managed to download Pidgin from

    But you must have missed the "Support" sub-heading on that page (scroll
    down the page a bit) and click the link titled: "Installing Pidgin
    Another page for you to read, perhaps?

    Mike Dee, Jul 2, 2009
  5. Alan

    Alan Guest

    So why do I need to run an installer at all?

    Surely it would be better to just provide a zip (or whatever)
    compressed file and I extract it to my USB key.

    Call me suspicious, but I just don't trust a programmer who insists on
    'installing' a portable app when it is not necessary. Either they are
    doing something nefarious, or they are being dim. Neither is a good

    Alan, Jul 2, 2009
  6. Alan

    Alan Guest

    I looked again, it doesn't seem to say that is a support page, but I
    must be missing something.

    However, I clicked on the 'installing Pidgin portable' link, and all
    that says is:

    "To install Pidgin Portable, just download the portable package at the
    top of the Pidgin Portable page and then double-click it. Select the
    location you wish to install to and click OK. A PidginPortable
    directory will be created there and all the necessary files installed.
    That's all there is to it.."

    Again, they seem to want to install something, when all I want are the
    files to put on my USB stick.

    The whole point of a portable app is *not* to install anything.

    Is there somewhere that I haven't found where I can download just the
    files without risking their 'installer'?


    Alan, Jul 2, 2009
  7. Alan

    Enkidu Guest

    More likely they are assuming that the users are going to be dim and
    won't know how to copy the files to a USB drive.


    Enkidu, Jul 2, 2009
  8. Alan

    victor Guest

    When they say
    Select the location you wish to install to and click OK.
    Thats what they really mean.
    Select the USB key or portable harddrive or ipod or whatever

    Portableapps has a menu applet for all the apps installed on your
    portable storage device
    victor, Jul 2, 2009
  9. Alan

    victor Guest

    When you install each Portable application onto your USB key the
    installer configures the launcher applet to add a menu item.
    Typically users carry several apps not just Pidgin.
    victor, Jul 2, 2009
  10. Alan

    Alan Guest

    What on earth would I need a launcher app for?

    Won't the applications even run independently on their own?

    I am more and more confused about what they are trying to do here...

    Alan, Jul 2, 2009
  11. Alan

    Alan Guest

    Okay, but I don't want some 'menu applet' or whatever crap that is.

    I just want the apps on my USB drive.

    Is there somewhere I can get them without all the other extraneous


    Alan, Jul 2, 2009
  12. Alan

    victor Guest

    Fair enuff, please yourself,
    I carry round a mini USB key with a PortableApps Light Suite on it so
    I'm quite happy with the launcher.
    Its great for carrying movies with the VLC player, it has a pdf reader,
    gnumeric, abiword and audacity, its a power tool.
    Its obviously not for everyone.
    victor, Jul 2, 2009
  13. Alan

    Alan Guest

    All that sounds great and is exactly what I was hoping for, but I just
    don't understand the need to have a launcher installed on my machine
    to make the apps on my portable USB stick run. It seems to be against
    the whole point of the apps being portable.

    Why can't I just run the apps directly from the USB drive like any
    other app by running its exe file?

    Clearly I am missing something here.

    Alan, Jul 3, 2009
  14. Alan

    Mike Dee Guest

    You can. You just need to open the folder your app is in and run it.

    PortableApps has a suite of freeware apps that people find useful to use,
    so they bundle these apps as a complete download, with an installer. As
    the apps have already been configured to run from the thumb drive or some
    other portable media, I use the term installer loosely. That is it is more
    of a compressed executable file than an installer of the traditional
    sense. Sure it will install the app or suite of apps into a directory (of
    your choice) but that is all it will do. It has been designed to copy the
    portable apps to a location (again, your choice) on some portable media,
    so that the apps from the PortableApps site get placed into a conveniant
    (for you to locate) area of your removable media.

    From that point on, you can locate the executable that you want to run,
    double-click it and away you go.

    You do not have to install the entire suite or any part of it. You can DL
    individual programs (such as Pidgin Portable) and install it by itself (to
    a location of your choice) once that is done you can locate its folder
    containing the executable and double-click it to go, if that is what you
    want to do.

    Myself, I run the portableapps ClamWin portable as a standalone on a USB
    drive. I don't have any other apps from the PA Suite on that drive. I just
    double-click its icon to run it, it does nothing to my system(s) and runs
    You must be.

    You might be more interested in looking the portable apps from this site:
    <http://www.portablefreeware.com/>, but unlike PortableApps.com which has
    already done the hard work of making their apps portable, for you,
    "the Portable Freeware Collection" needs you to make many of the apps
    mentioned "portable". Its a good site BTW, has a lot of user
    input/comments and advice on how best to make an app portable, if it isn't

    They do link to PortableApps.com for software on the PA Suite, so you
    won't find an alternative for Pidgin here, but there are a lot more apps
    mentioned there than what you'll find at PA.
    Mike Dee, Jul 3, 2009
  15. Alan

    victor Guest

    You are
    The launcher is installed on the USB key, not your PC.
    When the USB key is plugged into the host computer you get a menu on the
    task bar, like a applications menu.
    victor, Jul 3, 2009
  16. Alan

    Alan Guest

    Hi Victor,

    What task bar? In a browser?

    See, this is what concerns me that they are installing stuff, when all
    I want it a bunch of executables that I can run off the USB stick that
    explicitly don't need to be installed or include any other stuff with

    I don't understand why I can't, for example, download Pidgin as a
    single executable file (or perhaps with an ini file and a chm help
    file), and just copy them onto my USB stick, and run manually from the

    Yet, when I download Pidgin from the portableapps site, and run the
    exe, it wants to install (I just cancel at that point).

    Does that make sense?


    Alan, Jul 3, 2009
  17. Alan

    victor Guest

    Sys tray ? is that what its called ? Where you click on the network icon
    down in the right hand corner of your screen.

    I'm running out of ways to say it doesn't install on the PC it installs
    on the USB stick.

    You can probably just run the exe on the usb stick if you don't want to
    run the menu applet.
    victor, Jul 3, 2009
  18. Alan

    Enkidu Guest

    Maybe a neuron or two. The launcher is installed on the USB drive. I'm
    sure that if you don't want to use the launcher you could invoke pidgin
    directly off the USB drive. However, when you plug the USB drive in, I
    assume that the launcher will give you a list of the apps on the USB
    drive that it knows about.


    Enkidu, Jul 3, 2009
  19. Alan

    Enkidu Guest

    Get a Mac.


    Enkidu, Jul 3, 2009
  20. Alan

    Mike Dee Guest

    You can. Pidgin Portable can be run as a single executable file.

    Pidgin Portable is a single executable file. BUT before you can use
    it, it is in a compressed format, which you need to decompress
    first, to a location (of your choice).
    Some apps can be used in this manner but not all - without having to
    download and decompress them first.
    No, you are _way off_ the mark. It is simply a compressed executable
    file. Compressed because it makes it easier for people with perhaps
    dial-up only to download files off the net. <rhetoric> Why is it in
    a compressed format and not a ready to run app, you ask? <\rhetoric>

    A compressed file that is also executable? Why? ~ Because they tend
    to make it easier for people to (a) elect where the actual zipped
    file can decompress to and (b) they take up less space and waste
    fewer resources on the depository servers (PortableApps after all,
    are offering it to you, for nix, gratis, free as in beer).

    It somehow beggars belief as to how you managed to install MS
    Windows get an internet connection and post to usenet using OE,
    actually. I mean, how many installers have you run before you threw
    your hands up and cried "No more!"?
    Mike Dee, Jul 3, 2009
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