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Portableapps A fantastic way to run your favorite programs on any computer

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Have you been at the store recently and discovered that there are more choices to drives than you'd imagined? It's complicated enough deciding on storage capacity, little alone if you choose USB 2.0 or 3.0, microSD SDHC, etc. You also have to choose whether to get a U3 compatible drive or not.

For those of you who are still a little unsure what a U3 flash drive is, let me begin with that. U3, (which does NOT mean USB 3.0) is a close-sourced technology that you will find installed as part of your drive if you chose to purchase flash that includes or is compatible with it. What this platform allows you to do is run Windows programs on your flash drive without the need to install them on the PC. It operates like a start menu in the system tray listing all of the software you have installed into the system.

While it's a great concept, there are quite a few people who dislike the U3 system. For one, it establishes two drives on your PC, which is a pain to manage. There's also problems with compatibility and freeze-ups. But perhaps the biggest issue is that it not only is a close-sourced system, but they also charge publishers to make their software available on the U3 system.

A great alternative, whether you're through using U3 or you don't have a U3 compatible drive, there's open-source PortableApps.com. It's a great source of all the free and popular programs, and not only can you install it on a flash drive, but on any drive, such as an external hard drive disk. Whether you want to run Firefox with all the add-ons and settings that you are used to having, or you need OpenOffice to edit documents on a PC without any document programs, or you'd like to run a utility without permanently installing it.

You'll find a lot of popular software (with several choices) to install. The best part is how little memory it really takes up. Take for instance my 2GB drive. Amongst tons of programs I have Firefox, OpenOffice, GIMP, and Audacity installed, which still only takes up less than 1GB.

One other advantage that you apparently do not get with U3 is that the software is separate of PortableApps to the point where you can run it without the need to use the PortableApps platform, unlike U3 where you cannot run the software without going through U3.

Have a program you'd like to make portable? There are tools for that...specifically if the code is open-source. This is particularly nice if you have a small versatile application that you feel could be useful to people but you haven't quite made yourself known.

While U3 is fine if you are using it without any problems, I encourage you to check out PortableApps.com. Keep in mind that flash drives are still slower than the old-fashioned hard drive. It's great if you simply want to get a job done without installations, plan to restore your PC and need some software available immediately on start up, or you plan to work on a public PC! Hopefully this helps you decide.

Edited by Jonnyabc (see edit history)

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