I still remember the days when a Floppy Disk was the best thing you had to take your data with you. The typical floppy was the 3½-inch HD with an enormous 1.44 MB total capacity. Those days are gone, today we have smaller devices with 16K times more capacity. USB Flash Drives! On the days of the floppy disk, having a device like this was surely a dream.
Between using your flash drive to carry your documents, multimedia files, important work files, you can also use it to transport your little operating system with you. All you need is a convenient Portable App Suite. You can Manage your apps and data with these portable application suites. You can use individual portable applications in your flash drive, but with an App Suite you have a useful aggregation center for your apps.
There are quite a lot of options available. I only know/tried some of them. Bare in mind that each Suite may contain hundreds of available software, I haven’t tested them all. So visit their website, check the applications that interest you, and make your personalized app suite.
1. PortableApps Suite (Windows)
The most popular application suite. PortableApps.com Suite is a complete collection of portable apps including a web browser, email client, office suite (Open Office), instant messaging client, antivirus, etc. You can download each app individual from PortableApps.com or download everything in a suite. Portable Apps Suite is available in different sizes. If you want the Suite with the biggest community behind, then Portable Apps is for you. It’s a very polished packaged that just works.
Download: PortableApps Suite
2. winPenPack (Windows)
winPenPack is an applications environment of Free Softwares, modified for being run and used from an USB pendrive, without need of installation. Just like other Portable Apps Suites, winPenPack contains a large array of software. Depending on user USB pendrive size, is possible to choose between several winPenPack Suites, from the 2GB one to a personalized pack. You can also run winPenPack from a Hard Drive if you just want to take advantage of the apps.
3. LiberKey (Windows)
LiberKey futures a simple but functional menu that divides the software in categories. You’ll find your typical daily basis apps here, from a Web Browser to a FTP Client. It’s one of the most complete pack you can find, with the Ultimate pack having more then 150 applications. Something truly wonderful in the pack is the Update system, which will update your “installed” software with ease.
4. Tiny USB Office (Windows)
Tiny USB Office like its own name predicts, it’s a suite focused on size, it’s Tiny but it it’s still complete at the same time. It includes a Text processor, e-mail reader, PDF Creater, Spreadsheat Application, MSN Client, FTP Client, etc. Basicly anything you need on a daily basis, everything packed in a 2.86 MB. If you own a small Flash Drive and don’t mind about not having a lot to choose from, this Suite is for you.
Download: Tiny USB Office
5. Lupo PenSuite (Windows)
Lupo PenSuite includes over 200 selected portable programs and games. Lupo menu has a familiar look, it almosts looks like a fork of the PortableApps Suite menu. But Lupo PenSuite has it advantages, it’s most probably the most complete pack I’ve seen in therms of functionality. If you’re looking for a suite that has everything you might need, Lupo PenSuite is should be your choice.
Download: Lupo PenSuite
So, what’s the best Suite?
I don’t really know if there is a best one. The one I’ve been using for a long time now, it’s the PortableApps Suite. It has a large array of applications to choose from, an active and huge community behind it and it’s one of the oldest I know. The menu looks good and it just works.
So, what’s your favorite one?
PS – After using LiberKey more extensively I have to say it’s the best suit I ever used. The menu isn’t very friendly, but the automatically installation of apps and the update feature is awesome. Not to mention the several options on each software category.