What Is The Process Of Converting An Installed Program/Application Into A Portable Program/Application?

Hello. I have a question to ask you.

What is the process of making or creating (in essense converting) an installed program/application into a portable program/application?

I am totally new to this process and I like to know the process. I am willing to learn. I have heard EE experts here on this EE Forum and other forums state that they have done this often with satisfactory results.

What I need to know:

1. I need to know and be able to understand the principles and methodology of this process?Any good website link(s) that provide a good explanation and instruction you can recommend?  

2. I also need to know if any third party programs/applications (free or paid) are necessary to the modifying or changing installed files so they are portable files? Which third party applications (free or paid) are available to use and what do you recommend if you know more than one? What is the best one(s)?

3. Are there any legal or copyright infringement issues associated with this for one's own personal use or not? Please explain.

Please provide your own detailed steps with suggestions, hints, and tips; and/or the best possible  well written, detailed and documented website links hopefully with images and demonstrations along with the instructions.

DO NOT USE LMGTFY.com or similar-like web links in your reply. I consider its use very unprofessional for EE experts. If you do, you will not get acknowledged and receive no credit.

NOTE: Obviously your asking what operating system are we dealing with. Answer: This applies to Windows 7 Professional 64-bit.

Please reply.

Thank you!
Who is Participating?
Ivano ViolaConnect With a Mentor System AdministratorCommented:
To create portable programs you normally would use a clean install of Windows (XP or Win7). This can be a physical computer or a virtual (using Virtualbox https://www.virtualbox.org/). Bu clean I mean just the basic operating system and with nothing added. Even turning off services which are not needed.
The only program you need is the program you use to create the portable program. There are a few programs you could use, free and licensed. Some are:

Free:Cameyo  http://www.cameyo.com/
Licensed: VMware ThinApp http://www.vmware.com/products/thinapp/overview.html
Licensed: Spoon Studio http://spoon.net/studio/

In a nutshell: The program takes a snapshot of the system (the OS). Install the program you would like to make portable then when ready you take an after snapshot. The program then takes the changes and creates a portable version of the program. I've found that there isn't one program (that creates portables apps) that works for all programs. You need to use more that one program. You should start with Cameyo as it's free and works pretty good.

No sure about legal or copyright infringements. My personal view is that if you use the program as intended and do distribute the portable app, then you are in your rights to use that program as a portable app or installed app.

Here is the manual for Cameyo. You'll find that it's pretty straight forward and easy to use.

It's actually fun to learn and do.

Dave BaldwinConnect With a Mentor Fixer of ProblemsCommented:
These people http://portableapps.com/development provide portable versions of common Open Source software and they have development info linked on that page.
dbruntonConnect With a Mentor Commented:
To be portable an application must not depend:

on the registry.  Some apps install registry entries which they refer to for configuration information (and other data).  If those aren't there they won't run.

on installed files.  Most applications install under one folder but others may drop files into other directories such as \Windows.  Again if they aren't there they won't run.

You can test by copying an installed application to a flash drive and taking to another computer and trying to run it there.  If it runs there is a good chance it is portable.

>>  3. Are there any legal or copyright infringement issues associated with this for one's own personal use or not? Please explain.

Most applications have terms of use or licenses.  You generally agree to those when you install the application.  GPL apps are usually OK.  Freeware ones might be OK but check.  Commercial ones will probably be NOT OK.
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rindiConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Normally you can't make an installed software portable, but VMware has a tool that can help build portable applications. What it does more or less is before you install the application, it makes a snap shot of your system and registry, then you do the installation and it saves your changes. It then moves those to a sandbox-like environment and repackages it.

Check the VMware site for VMware Thinapp. There should be a trial version you can get. The apps you make portable with it will stop running after the trial period has expired:

David Johnson, CD, MVPConnect With a Mentor OwnerCommented:
@dbrunton registry: incorrect as thinapp handles this  other directories: incorrect thinapp handles this.  
karunamoorthyConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Portable Application Vs Virtual Application

Portable Application:-
The Portable Applications is essentially for software that requires no installation and works as a standalone program (all it's files and dependencies contained within its own folder/structure). However, there is a variant of this and they are known as Virtual Applications/Programs,

Virtual Application:-
An application and all of the files it uses into a single EXE file. Unlike self-extracting ZIP files, the new EXE runs completely in the compressed state and never needs to extract any files to the hard drive. It works completely in user space, rather than as a device driver, which means it can run on all versions of Windows 95+, and without requiring Administrator rights or a system reboot.

In a nutshell, Portable application works only where the application installed in a particular Windows version (i.e. if you make portable using windows xp machine, then this may or may not work in windows 7 machine)  and on the other hand,
Virtual application is a self contained single exe application which works on any windows machine.

Essentially free programes are not having legal or copyright infringement issues. But in the case of paid programs definetly you should accept legal or copyright infringement issues are there. There is no escape.

Some of the paid portable application making softwares are
VMWare ThinApp
Drive Snapshot
Xenocode Virtual Appliance Studio
(You can watch a demo Video......here...http://www.xenocode.com/Videos/Simple%20Jar.htm)
Thinstalled Native Instruments Absynth 4 ( CPU @ 100% )
Xenocode Native Instruments Absynth 4 ( CPU @ 10-12 % )
Looks like we've got another toy to play with .....

Here let me know you which one you want either virtual application or portable application. Which one you want to use. Let me know first of all, why you want (any specific reason) to make the application either portable/virtual.


Hi Hi Hi.....It is not a good practice to ask so many questions like a school home work here.
I doubt this is homework...


You might want to reference that info you posted, as it looks like a copy/paste from another site, which is a tos violation of EE
upalakshithaConnect With a Mentor Commented:
normally these applications do not virtualize runtimes like .net ,  java. that means you need to install runtimes seperately to pcs which are going to run virtualized  applications.but spoon studio can virtualize those . so read about it also. it is not free
David Johnson, CD, MVPConnect With a Mentor OwnerCommented:
xenocode is now spoon studio
RegulaOneAuthor Commented:
@ DaveBaldwin, ivanoviola, dbrunton, rindi, ve3ofa, karunamoorthy, johnb6767, and upalakshitha:

Hello. I have to say nice to meet you ivanoviola, karunamoorthy, and upalakshitaha! Thank you for your comments. I want to say hello again to DaveBaldwin, dbrunton, rindi, ve3ofa, and johnb6767! Thank you for all your comments.

I first have to say this, I am very inquisitive and I am now researching at this time on converting an installed program/application into a portable program/application. I would very much like to do this for the first time in the near future. I have no current project awaiting this conversion process at this very moment. I am at the research stages at this point. I just wanted to clarify a few of your expert comments in that you believed I was actually ready to begin the conversion process. I will say I received a plethora of information, not only the applications that are applicable to the conversion process, but also SO MANY suggestions, hints, and tips!!! As a combined source of information from all expert comments in this question/thread is a excellent reference on how to convert an installed program/application into a portable program/application. This is a totally new domain and therefore a new challenge for me.

Right now my head is overwhelmed with the information and data presented by your expert comments. Due to my serious lack of prior experience with this area and some comprehension with some of the indirect references to other programs made by experts, I do have enough information to begin to practice from your expert comments and your weblinks instructions and information. Unfortunately, I am not going to leave this question/thread open indefinitely for my first testing experience. Therefore I have closed this question/thread.

My solution titles and awards are going to be based on the information you have provided me without any testing experience that is not typical of my normal question/thread evaluations procedures. However, like I said, I will not leave this question/thread open for a few weeks while I am testing and learning this in my limited free time. It is not fair to you. Therefore everyone will be awarded solution titles and points for their expert comments since I see all expert comments viable information. Now in terms of awarding that ONE "Accepted Solution", I have found ivanoviola as providing me the most instructions and the most selection of free and paid applications that many other experts have suggested to use. I have to say that this is NOT a poor means to award the "Accepted Solution" since ultimately, how would one award the "Accepted Solution" from the information presented? Yes, I could find my own 'favorite' program from one of the experts over another, but most of you are in agreement with ivanoviola's program/software recommendations anyways. That is why everyone will receive points with their valuable information. Without my in-depth testing and experimental researching with your responses prior to this threads , I normally award points 'evenly' per se regardless of the "Accepted Solution" or "Assisted Solution" to expert comments. To be honest, even if I did some assessmentsfrom your expert comments, I the results I am about to present would be the relatively the same conclusion as well. This is the fairest I can be. The breakdown in chart form for easier interpretation:

1. DaveBaldwin - comment - Assisted Solution - 60 points            
2. ivanoviola - comment - Accepted Solution - 80 points
3. dbrunton - comment - Assisted Solution - 60 points
4. rindi - first comment - Assisted Solution - 60 point  
5. ve3ofa - first comment - Assisted Solution - 60 points
6. karunamoorthy - first comment - Assisted Solution - 60 points
7. upalakshitha - comment - Assisted Solution - 60 points
8. ve3ofa - second comment - Assisted Solution - 60 points

I want to take a moment to thank johnb6767 and rindi for your efforts to demonstrate legitimate "fair and proper posting practices" that I do uphold! Please, lets all of us ollow proper EE polices and procedures. We all appreciate that. :-)

Again, thank you all!!!
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