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Portable How To

A lot of people use portable applications by just dragging and dropping them into a portable device
In this tutorial we will show to you a safer way to organize and manage your portable applications.
Portable applications store a lot of personal data into folders,ini files, temp files etc... so it is wise to hide these personal information from curious eyes.

Before you start, some hardware recommendations :
For your portability needs you can use :

  • Portable hard disks 2.5'' or 3.5''
  • Serial ATA hard disks (2.5'' or 3.5'') with an appropriate hard disk case
  • Solid State hard disks with an appropriate hard disk case
  • USB Sticks
  • A Compact flash card with a USB adapter
  • A secure digital card with a USB adapter etc ...

Some hardware proposed solutions for portable use ...

Portable hard disk Portable case for portable hard disk
a portable case opened some portable solutions like a hrad disk and a usb key
usb rally 2 keys 32 gb and 8 gb

Once you determine your needs, please pay attention at the reading/writing speed of your portable device.
The portable devices suffer in velocity so try to buy a high speed portable device specially if your needs in space are bigger.

Software needed for this tutorial :

In this example we will use a 1GB USB Kingston stick.
Since the portable device is not always in a safe location it is highly recommended to encrypt your data.
For this step we will use TrueCrypt. First of all decide how big you want to be your encrypted partition from the not encrypted.
In this example we will divide equally the two partitions (512 MB).
Please notice that all of your portable applications is always better to be stored at the encrypted partition
Another important information is that TrueCrypt does not support partition resizing so please decide wisely your partition sizes.

partition example design

Now download and unpack (with the help of 7zip) at the root of you portable device these three portable applications :

Freecommander is necessary to copy or delete files to both of your partitions encrypted and unencrypted.
Freefilesync helps you to mirror your files and applications from your desktop computer to your portable device.
Truecrypt will help us to encrypt our 512 MB file partition.
At the end of this operation you will have something like the picture below :
The folder My NON encrypted Stuff is an empty folder in order to put all your unencrypted files.

We are ready to create our encrypted partition using keepass.
Run "TrueCrypt.exe" and press the "Create volume" button.
Now select the "Create an encrypted file container" and press "next".
In the next step select "Standar Truecrypt volume" and again press "next" .
Now press "Select a file" go to your root of your portable device and as file name give something like "HIDDEN" and press save.
Now press "Next" .
As encryption algorithm select "Serpent-Twofish-AES" and as HASH algorithm use the RIPEMD-160 now press "Next" .
To volume size give 512 MB and press next.
As password select a really long password that you can remember. Please (again) select a very long and secure password.
Now press next.
As file system select NTFS and cluster default.
Now press the "format" button and wait until the operation finishes.
Now press "Exit"

You can easily find your encrypted partition named HIDDEN at the root of your portable device.
In order to open(mount) the encrypted partition we run "truecrypt.exe" again.
We select a drive ex Z:
We hit the "Select file ..." button and we load the HIDDEN file.
Now we press the mount button and we give our secure password.
Go to start - My computer . There you will see a new mounted disk called Local Disk Z
In that disk you can now place all your applications securely.
I for example will include keepass, vcl and ccalc as shown in the picture below :

It is always recommended that you use keepass for your passwords.
Of course at least this application must be included at the encrypted partition.

We are almost done. If you do not have a lot of applications you can always manage them by folders but it is very
useful to have a program to launch them easily if the number of your applications raises a lot.
Two programs for this scope are slickrun and PStart.
Both of them you can include them on your encrypted partition like the photo below :
PStart always uses relative paths so adding your executable portable applications on PStart will be not a problem at all.
You can catalogize them by using folders and sub folders.
Slickrun is a little trickier since does not uses by default relative paths. To solve this problem is really easy.
Let's say that your application that you want to manage is the VLC and it is resident at the relative path
"Z:\VLC\VLCPortable.exe". You add a new magikword with slickrun and you give as magicword "vcl" and as filename or url
This is a relative path for slickrun.
Now you can lunch vlc by using "ALT + Q" and writing vlc.

A last but very useful trick for your portable applications is how to create portable shortcuts.
Lets say that you want to create a shortcut to PStart at the root of your encrypted partition.
Firstly create an empty text file
Open it with notepad or any other text editor and write in the relative path of PStart.
In this example we simply write :
We save the file as "Run PStart.bat" and we put it at the root of our encrypted partition.
So finally we have a result like this one :
Now by double-clicking the "Run PStart.bat" we launch PStart.

I hope you enjoyed this "Portable how to" tutorial.


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