Sunday, May 17, 2015

Portable Application General Usage Guide for Newbies
Many of the most common issues that arise when using portable apps are addressed here. Please read through the various topics to see if any of them address your question. If none of them do, and you can't find the information in a search of this website or the web, you can also send a question from the contact page.
Please note that these instructions only apply to applications packaged in PortableApps.com Format. In all examples, AppName Portable refers to the name of the application you downloaded and x.x refers to its version number.

Portable App Issues

Installing a Portable App

Browse to the location of the AppNamePortable_x.x.paf.exe file you downloaded. Double-click the file to start the installation. Follow the on-screen prompts and select the location you'd like to install to. If the installer detects an existing PortableApps folder on one of your attached drives or within your USERPROFILE folder, it will automatically select that. Otherwise, the current folder will be selected by default. Within the folder you select, an AppNamePortable folder will be created containing the portable app. Note that installing to the C:\Program Files or equivalent is not supported.

Using a Portable App

Browse to the folder you installed the AppNamePortable and then double-click the AppNamePortable.exe file. Then, just use the app as you'd use the regular version.
While using portable software, there are a couple of things to keep in mind:
  • Stay Safe - When using portable apps, it's always a good idea to practice Safe Portable App-ing.
  • Close Apps Before Ejecting/Shutting Down - When you're done, close all your portable apps. Select the 'Safely remove [device]' option from the icon in the system tray. If you remove the drive while it is in use, you could corrupt your apps and lose your data. If you shutdown Windows while a portable app is still running, it may not get to save its settings and remove any local data before closing.

Upgrading a Portable App

Browse to the location of the AppNamePortable_x.x.paf.exe file you downloaded. Double-click the file to start the installation. Follow the on-screen prompts and select the location you'd like to install to. For upgrades, you should select the parent folder of the AppNamePortable directory in which the app is currently installed. For example, if the app is within X:\PortableApps\AppNamePortable, you'd want to select the X:\PortableApps directory in the Browse Folder window. After clicking OK, it should show X:\PortableApps\AppNamePortable. All of your current settings and data will be preserved.
As precaution, it's a good practice to backup the whole AppNamePortable folder or just the Data folder of your current AppName Portable. Should the upgrade went wrong, you can always go back to your previous AppName Portable version, by:
  • Extracting your whole AppNamePortable folder backup, or
  • Install the previous version then overwrite the Data folder with your backup.

Uninstalling a Portable App

Unlike traditional apps, a portable app isn't 'installed' with an entry in Add/Remove programs, so uninstallation is quick and easy:
  • Close it properly—make sure there are no PortableApps.comLauncherRuntimeData-AppNamePortable.ini file in the Data folder.
  • Delete the AppNamePortable folder to completely remove the app and all its settings.
  • Done!

An app says it 'did not close properly' when started

You may see an error stating that
AppName Portable did not close properly last time it was run and will now clean up. Please then start AppName Portable again manually.
When you see this, it means that the portable app's launcher did not close and clean up properly the last time the app was used. This can be caused by a system crash, an unsafe drive eject, or shutting Windows down without first closing an app. When this occurs, the portable launcher may not have been able to remove app data from the local disk, restore local app data back to the proper location, move portable app data to the proper directory for backups and upgrades, or similar.
Ideally, the error message should be dismissable and not require another launch of the AppNamePortable.exe launcher. Unfortunately, this is not possible at present due to the way the PortableApps.com Launcher is written. Adding this feature will take a major rewrite of sections of the PortableApps.com Launcher and PortableApps.com volunteer developers do not have time at present. Just hope they will add this in a future release.
Additionally, it would be good to adjust the PortableApps.com Launcher to detect and respond to Windows shutdown messages directly. This will likely require a rewrite of the launcher in a different programming language, so it will take quite a bit of time and effort to achieve.[]

This article is an adjusted copy from PortableApps.com's "Portable App Support".