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How to create a portable application for Windows

In this article we present you a simple way to create a portable Windows application; check out the bonus section to see additional software for creating portable software and software virtualization. The benefit of portable applications lies in fact that you can run them without installing them; you can put them on your storage device, i.e. USB flash memory device or external hard, and run them on every computer just by double-clicking them.

Procedure of creating a portable application

Previously we discussed the topic of creating portable Linux applications, and in this article we focus on Windows and the application JauntePE, which will be used to create a portable application. The final section of this article is a bonus section, where you can find other tools for creating portable apps. If you had read the Linux article, you ended up with the conclusion of a generic procedure to make portable applications:

  • you run the software for making portable applications,
  • application behavior and changes are collected, in some way, including installation and normal running,
  • acquired changes are processed to make our final product – an application you can run just by double clicking it (with no installation needed).

I used free application JauntePE to create my portable application, as I previously used it successfully to create portable apps for my thumb drive (version 0.30). In this article I used version 0.60, which has redesigned software interface and new features.

Download: http://sourceforge.net/projects/jauntepe/files/

Application I wanted to make portable is PhoXo picture editor. Although you can download the portable version from PhoXo’s homepage, I wanted to create my own portable app for testing purpose.

Download: http://www.phoxo.com/en/download/

I want to highlight I wanted to try this procedure on Windows 8.1, 64-bit, but when you try to run JauntePE on 64-bit versions, the following window appears:

JauntePE system requirements

I don’t have another option, but to try this on 32-bit (x86) versions, although a 64-bit operating system can be used to perform the final portability test. I’ll consider my test as successful if I create a portable application on 32-bit Windows, and run it on 64-bit Windows. OK, I ran Virtual Box, the software for creating virtual machines, and saw that besides Solaris, Linux Mint, and Windows XP I also have a Windows 7 virtual machine (their interface is in German, though). This virtual Windows 7, 32-bit will be the perfect environment to create portable applications:

Running JauntePE in Virtual Box

 

How to use JauntePE to create a portable application?

OK, I started Windows 7 from Virtual Box, and then downloaded JauntePE and PhoXo installer (setup file); I ran JauntePE:

JauntePE main GUI

You start off by clicking on New, where a simple wizard appears; the first step is naming this project:

JauntePE create new software package

 

Choose default settings because it suits needs of this project (you can set advanced options, i.e. application isolation level and other):

JauntePE defining a default portability base

Don’t let this German labeled buttons confuse you – “Weiter” means “Next“; review of the provided information is displayed in the next window:

JauntePE software review

Choose Apps, because we have the setup file; you can add another data to your package, i.e. documents and Fonts:

JauntePE add application to package

Choose Install:

JauntePE choose setup file

Click on Browse… and look for your setup file:

JauntePE choose setup path

OK, the launcher is created, proceed with the PhoXo installation:

Run installer in JauntePE

In this step you have to install PhoXo application by using common “Next, Next, Finish” procedure. Note that you have to install application in Program Files folder (that’s default location, so don’t change that path):

JauntePE application installation monitoring

When you complete the installation, get back to JauntePE and click on Next (Weiter):

JauntePE create portable application launcher

Note that PhoXo (or other app you choose) isn’t really installed on your computer; its installation is performed in an isolated area (remember the sandbox concepts) in order to create a portable application. Click on Browse… to reference the main executable of your portable application:

JauntePE choose main executable

Select User Desktop, confirm with OK, and proceed further:

Run a portable application in jauntePE

In this step you have to do a little bit of playing with your application. I added a few drawings, applied some effects and saved my file; this is useful for JauntePE to collect all changes that this application makes while it’s running. Close application when you finish this step.

JauntePE a portable app up and running

At the very end, save your project using File / Save option:

JauntePE saving a project

I saved my project on Desktop, entered PhoxoPortable folder and ran and ran this newly created portable application. It works! And to conclude this test, I copied PhoxoPortable folder from virtual Windows 7 on my Windows 8.1 host system and ran this portable application without any problems. You’re ready to use your portable app everywhere:

Running portable application on Windows 8

Bonus: other software for making portable apps

This section encompasses other software with which you can make a portable application (software for application virtualization is also included):

VMware ThinApp – http://www.vmware.com/products/thinapp/
Evalaze – http://www.evalaze.de/en/home/
Spoon Virtual Application Studio – https://spoon.net/studio
Cameyo – http://www.cameyo.com/

Note that Cameyo offers a Cloud virtualization as well, so it’s possible to run your desired application in your favorite Web browser!

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Summary
How to create a portable application for Windows
Article Name
How to create a portable application for Windows
Description
Tutorial to create a portable application for Windows; see the list of additional software for creating portable apps and software virtualization.
Author
www.CreativForm.com