35 Portable Applications that Every Tech Needs

USB Icon Updated Top 35 of the Best Portable Apps for Techs

I have compiled and updated this new, more exhaustive list of the best 35 portable applications for techs. All of these apps run directly from your USB flash drive and require no installation.

Introduction to These Top USB-Portable Utilities

As you may know, I am a tech and I have found all of these portable apps to be very useful. I’ve expanded on this list over time so this list will jump-start you to your own collection of the best portable apps to carry on USB.

Don’t let the portability fool you. They belong in any computer technician’s software toolkit! Be sure to carry them with you.

A long time ago I wrote an article called 18 Portable Apps Every Tech Needs. Since then a lot has changed. I thought I would share this updated list with you. Feel free to add more in the comments to help others or share your own experiences.

This may be of Interest to Some Computer Techs

If you are in IT (and reading this page, there is a good chance you are!) then you might be interested in something I am interested in at the moment.

It is called Atera, and it would be great for anyone with a small to medium sized IT services business.

If you’re interested or want to learn more, See more information here!

So moving on, all of the computer technician software in this list can run directly from your USB flash drive. I hope you will find them useful too.

Archiver and Extractor

7-Zip Portable – An open source file archiver that supports 7z, ZIP, GZIP, BZIP2, TAR, RAR as well as others.


SIW – A system analysis tool that gathers detailed information about your hardware and software.

WinAudit – Audits all of your hardware, software, licenses, and network settings.

CPU-Z – Gathers detailed information about your processor, motherboard, and memory.


Infra Recorder Portable – Portable CD/DVD burning software.

Disk Utilities

JkDefrag – Disk optimizer and defragmenter.

Document Viewers

OpenOffice.org Portable – A portable version of OpenOffice.org which includes a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation tool, drawing package and database. Can also open most Microsoft Office documents.

Foxit Reader – A portable PDF reader.


FileZilla Portable – One of the best open source FTP programs available. I use FileZilla, for example, to access the large volume and size of files this website when I want to download backups.

Firefox Portable – A portable version of Firefox. Very useful when working on a computer that has been overwhelmed with spyware.

PuTTY Portable – An open source Telnet/SSH client.


PStart – A launcher utility that allows you to organize and launch all of your portable applications.

Malware Removal

ClamWin Portable – One of the best free antivius programs as a portable version.

Avast! Virus Cleaner – Scans the computer for a specific set of viruses and worms.

RootkitRevealer – An advanced rootkit detection utility.

HiJackThis – A hijacker detector and remover. Outputs information to a log file so you can share the results with others when needing help.

McAfee Stinger – A stand-alone utility that scans for and removes specific viruses.


Angry IP Scanner – Scans a range of IP addresses so you can see which ones are in use. Also tells you hostname, MAC address, open ports, computer name, workgroup, and logged in Windows users.

CurrPorts – Allows you to see detailed information about all of the TCP/IP and UDP ports being used on the computer including which program is using them. Also allows you to close out the port and kill the process that opened it.


CCleaner Portable – An optimization utility that cleans the registry and removes unwanted files from the computer.

PC Decrapifier – Uninstalls trialware and annoyances from new computers. Makes cleaning up a new computer much easier and saves a lot of time.


TiddlyWiki – A self-contained wiki that is great for storing a lot of information in one place.

Recovery Apps

Restoration – Scans any drive for items that have been deleted and allows you to restore them. Can also wipe files beyond simple recovery.

Learn more by viewing How To Restore Deleted Files After Emptying The Recycle Bin.

Unstoppable Copier – Copies files from disks that have physical damage.

TestDisk – Data recovery software that can recover lost partitions or make drives bootable again.

Remote Control

PcHelpware – Remote support software that lets you control remote computers. Learn more by viewing How To Remote Control Computers Using PCHelpWare.

Top Security Apps

LockNote – A simple text file that allows you to store whatever you like using a password and 256bit encryption.

KeePass – Securely store all of your passwords in one place and access them with one master password.

TrueCrypt – Disk encrypting utility that can encrypt hard drives and storage devices including your flash drive.

System Portable Utilities

Process Explorer – View detailed information about the processes running on a computer.

WinKeyLite – Easily view and change Windows Product Keys without having to edit the registry. Learn more by viewing How To Find And Change A Windows Vista, XP, And 2003 Product Key.

Unknown Devices – Helps you find out what the unknown devices in your device manager are.

AutoRuns – Comprehensive information about all of the programs and processes that start up when you boot up the computer or log into Windows.

DriverBackup – Backs up all of your drivers. Most useful when needing to reload a computer or when needing to copy a driver from one computer to another.

PC Stress Testing Software

prime pc stress test softwarePrime95 – One of the best apps for CPU stress testing. The Blended test option can be useful for stress testing RAM. This one replaces the following as an update:

Stress Prime 2004 – A stress test for CPUs and Memory. [Sorry this site no longer seems to be responding, so we found that Prime95 is available at the above link -Ed.]

Bonus – reset a password and more

Some of you may know about Hiren’s Boot CD. Well you can install it on a USB too. You just need to download the right file. See my article on how to perform a Hirens boot cd password reset here. Use this method if you need to reset a Windows 10 password.

Your thoughts?

What portable apps do you like that aren’t on the list? Please feel free to share in the comments below.

Summary of my selection of the best Portable Apps for Techs

These USB portable utilities are very handy. Since one or two might be hard to find now, I have a bonus USB utility for you below.


About The Author


Casey (Surname withheld for contractual reasons) successfully started his own IT consultancy well over 10 years ago. He started training and mentoring other computer technicians who want to create a part time or full time income as an IT consultant. See the 'About Us' for more.


  • Anonymous

    Reply Reply January 9, 2008

    Nice list. Perfect for the sysadmin or dekstop support tech.


  • archshrk

    Reply Reply January 9, 2008

    This is a great list even for the average user who visits their parents. At least, this is how I spend my time with family.

  • Casey

    Reply Reply January 11, 2008

    Haha yeah that is pretty much how I spend time with my family too.

  • the0ne

    Reply Reply August 26, 2008

    great list

  • cdb

    Reply Reply November 19, 2008

    really, im surprised to see two things missing from this list I use on almost every other job, Malwarebytes and AdvancedWindowsCare. Even though they are not as “portable” almost every “virus” removal I do, I use at least one of those two programs. Maybe it is because they require local installation, but seriously any tech with a flash drive should have these two installs with them at all times.

  • eRealMedia.com

    Reply Reply December 23, 2008

    Great list of nice tool. One problem most of technical guy face is finding and installing hardware drivers on new system. Most of the audit tools only detect and give details only after drivers has been installed-they simply read the existing driver information for your hardware. Please let me know if there is any tools which can be installed on system with no hardware (or system with hardware driver) problem and it will find and tell what driver to install and if possible URL links where to get them, if case if you have no driver system CD.

  • Clarkson

    Reply Reply January 4, 2009

    Nice, maybe a couple more hacking/cracking tools 🙂 If you’re into that…

  • Galatorg

    Reply Reply February 17, 2009

    I would suggest Process Monitor to be added(it’s part of the sysinternals suite like ProcessExplorer). It watches what’s going on with your computer, you can see what processes access what. It’s more useful for an admin working with domain users. Great for locating what may need permissions changed to run a program or just seeing all what a process gets into. TIP: Make sure you use the filter.


  • Phaoloo

    Reply Reply February 26, 2009

    Nice list.

  • annoyed

    Reply Reply April 10, 2009

    dude, you MUST test carefully the programs YOU recommend.

    SIW fucked my Windows Vista!!!

    • Casey

      Reply Reply April 10, 2009

      Actually I do and I just used SIW without any issues. If you have a problem you should contact Topala Software Solutions who makes SIW. http://www.gtopala.com/tss/contact-us.html

    • Brenton

      Reply Reply April 27, 2009

      I just ran it on Vista Ultimate x64 with SP1. Worked perfectly!

  • DumbDude1994

    Reply Reply April 18, 2009

    hey a good website that sometimes puts new programs is http://www.portableapps.com (creative name eh) they have pretty good apps and also another program that i use is clean up it deletes temporary internet files and things of that sort (clean up isn’t really considered a portable app but it is easy to move to a flash drive) also flv player (another creative name) is a flv (video only) player that can be put in a flash drive similarly to clean up


    Reply Reply December 26, 2010


    RECUVA …. ITS AWESOME !!!!!!!!!!!!! AND FREE

  • Malwarebyets Voucher Code

    Reply Reply February 15, 2011

    Malwarebytes is the coolest to remove identify theft I would highly recommend it but you must also get another software on your computer such as antivirus as malwarebytes say’s you get a full best protection for your PC

  • ash

    Reply Reply November 16, 2012

    driver pack solutions, will find all drivers that arent installed, and ones that need updating. then install them. very easy and fast piece of free software. its 3 gig but amazing

  • gettingold

    Reply Reply September 1, 2015

    Any chance of an update? This may have been good but…

  • Brian Sullivan

    Reply Reply September 6, 2016

    Yes, an update would be great. What are you using now? What do you deem “essential” here in 2016?

  • Keaton

    Reply Reply October 8, 2017

    Top 6 in my go to tools are as follows:

    1. CCleaner
    2. MalwareBytes
    3. JRT(Junkware Removal Tool)
    4. HD Tune
    5. BSOD(Blue Screen of death utility by Nirsoft)
    6. Ninite
    7. If no antivirus is installed I also utilize Avast boot time scan to get any remaining remnants of malware/viruses after running JRT and Malwarebytes
    8. Also I go in and change the default boot time from 30 seconds down to 3 seconds and it makes the other user think its running super fast now (just a trick I would like to mention)

    • Keaton

      Reply Reply October 8, 2017

      Make that 7 tools and one tip.

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