How to create portable programs from applications installed in Windows

In this article we will show you some ways to do it. But first we will explain to you what INI files are since we will talk about them a little later.

What are INI files?

Every time you install a program and use it on your computer, it saves its configuration in two ways that have been the main ones. First by storing it in Windows registry keys and second by using an IN I format text file to write a configuration file.

white pendrive connected to gray laptop

These INI files, or Windows Initialization file for short, were used until new methods emerged with new operating systems. Now that you have this idea clearer, we will proceed to the steps to follow according to the case of each file.

Make an application portable that uses an INI file

This is one of the simplest methods. The advantage of having a Windows application that has an INI format is that it is possible to convert it to a portable program. This is also possible with the XML files used to save data.

Using a file from a portable application

As we mentioned before, these steps can be carried out whether the files you use are in the INI format or if they are XML. With this in mind, let’s move on to the steps you must follow:

  • First you must locate the application files you want to convert in Program Files
  • If it is the case that the application was installed for a user, then the files will be located in that user’s data folder.
  •  Now you must move the file to the application folder in Programs file.
  • You must copy this folder and paste it on the removable device
  • Now you must select the main program and create a shortcut.

Convert an application to a portable archive using WinRAR

winrar icon purple background white letters

One way to accomplish this procedure is by extracting the files found in the installer and creating an SFX (self-extracting) archive. This can be accomplished using the WinRAR or 7z program.

WinRAR is a program that has increased in popularity thanks to the fact that it is a fairly complete program for compressing and decompressing or opening files . It is a software that you can download for free, but since it is a paid program, you can only enjoy its demo version, although it is still quite functional.

One of the great advantages of this program is that it supports all the compression formats that are currently used. It is time to move on to the steps to follow to extract the files of the program that you want to convert.

You simply have to extract the files from the application’s installer. Doing so is very simple in some cases, since you just have to right click and choose the Extract option here but it does not work in all cases.

What are the steps to create the portable application?

Already having the extracted file, you must locate the executable file, that is, the one that executes or starts said program (You can get it in the folder that has the name of app)

You must open this directory and select all the files and then right click where a small menu will be displayed and you will choose the WinRAR option: “Add to file …”

In the box that will appear next, you must choose in the small box called Understanding method: “The best” and in the options choose the second section called Create an SFX file.

In the Advanced section, click SFX Options and enter the name of the application’s executable file in the Run after Extraction box.

Finally, you must open the Modes tab and in Temporary Mode you must select the “Unzip to a temporary folder” box. In Silent Mode you must choose the section “Hide all and in Overwrite Mode” choose “Overwrite all files”.

And that is the whole procedure to follow, simply click OK and WinRAR will proceed to create your portable archive.

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