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USB Apps

USB applications, more commonly known as USB apps are defined as portable software that solely operates from a USB flash drive rather than its host computer. Portable USB apps have increased in popularity over the years for their on-the-go access and their ability to do similar if not exact applications of a PC or Mac while keeping it close to you at all times. A majority of this USB software is free to download from third party sources.

A flash drive's registry cannot store these software files; otherwise installation is required on the host system. Consequently, software settings must be written to the drive. Temporary files and settings for these applications are not placed on the computer’s drive. Once the thumb drive is removed from the USB port, the software also leaves the computer without a trace.

All USB shows you a list of some popular portable USB apps by category to give you a brief description of what each can offer:

  • AbiWord Portable AppAbiword: This free downloadable app is ideal for word processing. This compatible program can read common document types that include Microsoft Word, Google Docs, Word Perfect as well as html pages. The fast software will convert documents to the file format of your choice. Additionally, it carries the all-important spelling and grammar check.

  • Ccleaner AppCCleaner: This maintenance application tidies and purges unwanted temporary files, cookies and history. It will also take care of unwanted entries in your registries. CCleaner’s clutter elimination not only makes your system run faster, but it secures more privacy. Its portability enables you to use it on the go in case the systems of other individuals are weighed down with excessive files.

  • Clamwin AntivirusClamWin: Anti-virus protection goes open source with this handy program that runs from a flash drive. Clamwin Antivirus USB software has high detection rates that will run on any PC and leave zero trace of its existence when unplugged. The simple interface makes for easy use. Its portable nature means that there are no scheduled virus checks; you have to perform manual scans.

  • FileZilla PortableFilezilla: The free and portable version of the popular FTP tool that handles both client and server functions. Its simple yet thoughtfully designed interface enables portable file editing plus a drag-and-drop tool. Filezilla also has download and upload capabilities and timeout detection. This lightweight app is a testament to the power of open source software and an essential tool for file management on the go.

  • Portable FirefoxFirefox: A portable USB version of the web browser allows you to feel like you’re online at home. This app will carry your bookmarked favorites, passwords, web history and even cookies. Its full features extend to pop-up blocking and automatic updates. The program is compatible with Windows and Mac. By utilizing this web browser, the system you’re working from stays safe because it does not have to be accessed.

  • Puppy LinuxPuppy Linux: Software for USB drive-compatible operating system. The size renders fast boot-up and efficient for thumb drive use at approximately 128 megabytes. A simple, yet visually appealing desktop layout enhances its ease of use. Puppy enables the use of a selection of web browsers like Firefox, Opera, Netsurf and more. This system contained within just a USB flash drive can do all of the basic functions and more: web browser, word processor, file manager, media player, email, disc burner, graphics editor, ftp and data compression are just the start.

  • Portable SkypeSkype: Skype is one of the world's most popular communication tools, and it's easy to see why! This portable version most if not all of the same features found in the desktop version. Enjoy a wide view for video interfacing along with crisp image and sound quality. Make Internet voice calls, files transfer and complete instant messaging with all of your global contacts. This application also eliminates lag time and runs without installing to your hard drive.

  • Sudoku AppSudoku: This challenging puzzle game is one of the most popular titles developed in recent years. This app brings the excitement with you wherever you go by storing it on a flash drive. Choose from several different levels of difficulty depending on your skill set. The user-friendly interface allows you to adjust the number size to suit your vision. If you’re stumped on the puzzle, there is a command that lets you view the solution.

  • TrueCrypt AppTrueCrypt: To keep your USB files safe for travel, this intensive portable encryption app supplies privacy and protection for sensitive information in the event of theft or loss with close to a dozen real-time encryption algorithms. You can set up an automatic mounting process to the destination computer if need be. Create hard-to-crack passwords with the help of the program. However, the loss of these passwords can cause your files to be irretrievable. Once the passwords or keys are decrypted for computer use, the files will operate as normal.

  • VLC Media Player AppVLC Media Player: a portable USB app for a simple yet versatile media player with minimal startup time. It supports a variety of files and formats including DVDs, CDs and digital streaming. Preview audio and video files during downloads. The media player’s layout is rather plain, but this leaves more room and less distraction for viewing purposes. Built-in codec packs mean that you don’t have to download any separately, and the large number of files supported means that you likely would not need to retrieve more.