I guess it depends on what your definition of portable really is. For me it’s an app that will run from any folder or external drive such as a flash drive. It should not save any (settings, config, etc) files or what have you to your user directory/folder, or to your Windows folder. Nor, should it add anything at all to the Windows registry.
I should be able to move it from one location to another and it should continue working in the new location.
However, this isn’t always the case. And, in fact, it is rarely the case. Very few portable apps do not save something outside the directory/folder it was extracted to.
I have no idea why, but a lot of them do. And usually you don’t realize it until you accidentally stumble upon a folder or file related to it by accident.
Only a very small percentage of portable apps store everything within the folder it was extracted to. And, I do mean a very small percentage.
I have found portable apps that store files and settings all over my computer. Even in the Windows registry itself.
Generally that’s why I go with a portable version whenever possible to avoid cluttering and fragmenting the Windows registry.
Installer versions will add to the Windows registry, and if you uninstall the particular app there is almost always something that gets left in the registry.
It’s like the developers and programmers can figure out how to get it into the Windows registry, but not out upon uninstall for some reason.
I know they will leave traces, sometimes hidden or hard to find registry entries for trial software. You know the ones you can try/demo for 30 days, and then they stop working.
They leave something in the registry so you can’t uninstall the program, then re-install it to get another 30 days.
Whatever it is that they have left in the registry says no you already tried our software for 30 days sorry.
Now that I can understand to some extent because otherwise people would be uninstalling and re-installing all the time to get additional trial time.
But, apps that claim to be free and portable should store everything in the folder they were extracted to, and no Windows registry entries whatsoever.
To delete a portable app you simply delete the folder that it was extracted to and it should be 100% gone completely.
But, very few portable apps do this. They almost always store something somewhere on your computer. Which to me is not only annoying, but it adds clutter that shouldn’t really be happening.
So, I guess they should be called semi-portable app maybe? I don’t know what else to call them because they are not truly portable in my opinion. Even though they will run from another folder. It’s the extra stuff that they create that makes it non-portable to me.
I just hate clutter, and especially hate it when a portable app adds entries to the Windows Registry.
Unfortunately they do not tell you this. They just say our portable app … blah … blah … blah. Or, download the portable version …
So, you never know what you are really going to get with a portable app, how much, or what it will store elsewhere on your computer.
I still go with the portable version whenever possible because a lot of times I will move it to a flash drive while I’m testing it. And, to me it’s easier to remove when all I have to do is deleted the folder it was extracted to.