Ok, so maybe you can’t run your entire small business with free portable applications, but I bet you can come close. In an article written by Greg Schulz for TechRepublic entitled “10 Cool Things You Can Do with a USB Flash Drive," number one on the list was “Run portable applications.”
USB thumb drives have always intrigued me and I’ve continually fought the urge to collect them. My next purchase will be a 16 GB thumb drive, but for now the largest one I own is 2 GB. The good news is, that’s plenty of room to do exactly what I’m writing about in this article, thanks to a site called Portableapps.com.
At Portableapps.com, not only can you download enough programs to do just about everything you need while on the go, you can also do it for free. And if you’re running your small business from your laptop, then you can likely do most of what you need using just these portable applications. And again, they are FREE.
What Portableapps is:
The PortableApps.com Suite is a complete collection of portable applications including a Web browser, email client, office suite, calendar/scheduler, instant messaging client, antivirus, audio player, sudoku game, password manager, PDF reader, minesweeper clone, backup utility and integrated menu, all preconfigured to work portably. Just drop it on your portable device and you’re ready to go.
Here’s what they tout – straight from the site:
Now you can carry your favorite computer programs along with all of your bookmarks, settings, email and more with you. Use them on any Windows computer. All without leaving any personal data behind.
PortableApps.com provides a truly open platform that works with any hardware you like (USB flash drive, iPod, portable hard drive, etc). The entire platform is open source built around an open format that any hardware or software provider can use.
The PortableApps.com suite and platform are free. It contains no spyware. There are no advertisements. It isn’t a limited or trial version. There is no additional hardware or software to buy. You don’t even have to give out your email address. It’s 100% free to use, free to copy and free to share.
The Portableapps.com platform is easily downloaded for free from the Portableapps site and actually comes packaged all-in-one with the standard Portableapps.com Suite. The platform provides you with a Windows-type program list so it’s very comfortable and familiar for the user. Plus, you can easily add and remove portable apps from the list of applications that are available to you. You can download additional free applications from the site — beyond the standard ones included in the standard suite download package — or you can download free portable apps from other sites and add them to the program/utility list.
What You Get with the Portableapps.com Suite
The Standard Suite download contains an entire suite of programs which will allow you to do everything you probably do now on your laptop. And this suite only includes a subset of what is actually available on the site.
All versions of the PortableApps.com Suite include the integrated PortableApps.com Menu (pictured below) and the PortableApps.com Backup utility along with a set of custom icons, an autoplay configuration, folders and a quick start shortcut. In addition, the packages include:
- Mozilla Firefox, Portable Edition (Web browser)
- Mozilla Thunderbird, Portable Edition (email)
- Mozilla Sunbird, Portable Edition (calendar/tasks)
- ClamWin Portable (antivirus)
- Pidgin Portable (instant messaging)
- Sumatra PDF Portable (PDF reader)
- KeePass Password Safe Portable (password manager)
- Sudoku Portable (game)
- Mines-Perfect Portable (game)
- CoolPlayer+ Portable (audio player)
- OpenOffice.org Portable (office suite)
- Writer (word processor)
- Calc (spreadsheet)
- Impress (presentations)
- Base (database utility)
- Draw (drawing)
The standard Portableapps.com Suite contains just a very functional subset of what is available on the Portableapps site. In all I count 94 applications available for free download in the areas of Accessibility, Development, Education, Games, Graphics & Pictures, Internet, Music & Video, Office, Operations Systems, and Utilities. With a list that long, you can fill just about any need your small business is likely to encounter.
Brad Egeland writes for www.BusinessKnowHow.com , a popular small business website that provides ideas and strategies for growing a business and making it profitable. The site attracts 3 million visitors a year, contains thousands of free articles about sales, marketing, internet marketing, business finance, ecommerce, and all phases of starting and growing small and home businesses. Visit Business Know-How and sign up for their free newsletter atwww.BusinessKnowHow.com.