Portable Applications: Part 1
Posted: February 19, 2013
This column was inspired by a group of geeks discussing the current Windows operating systems — including Windows Registry and the way applications are now installed. We came to the consensus we would change both.
The registry is a component of Windows, which sets up hardware, software and any attached devices in a large database with information about each.
When you open an application, the registry is pinged and all the data pertaining to that app is loaded into the program to help it run more quickly and be more stable.
As for application installation: In older operating systems, a program installed all of its related elements into one folder.
If, for instance, if you installed a program named, “Double Click anagrams” it would likely install into a folder named something like, “DCAna.”
Then, when you wanted to delete the program, deleting that folder was all that was needed.
Today, when you install a program, it likely installs many files in one folder. It makes additions to the registry, adds configuration files, DLL files and other library files throughout the hard drive.
When you uninstall these applications using the Windows 7 “Programs and Features” module, it tries to uninstall them all, but usually misses some.
This creates a problem similar to “cruft,” which is the irrelevant data in codes which have been rewritten. The crufts I’m talking about are junk files left behind when an install is not successful.
Wouldn’t it be nice to go back to the good ol’ days, and take the easy way out … to delete apps completely?
Sometimes, when you install a new program, you are given the option of normal or portable versions.
The “cruft-monster” can be defeated if you opt for the portable version.
Portable apps are entirely autonomous. When installing, you select one folder. Once in that location, you find that program and all of its related files in that folder.
They are completely self-contained, which means that you can move the folder to any other location on your computer or copy it to another computer and it works.
It also means, if you do not like the program, you can delete the folder it is in and it is gone … totally.
We will talk more about portable applications next week.
Contact Ron Doyle at firstname.lastname@example.org.