How to Run Software and Applications Directly from Your USB Drive

USB drives are handy devices that are more versatile than most people would expect. The main use for them is transporting files between computers or for storing files. However one fantastic application of USB drives is that they can be used to run software or applications directly. If the USB drive has the software or application directly on it already then it is quite easy to use them to run the software itself. Read this article to learn how you can achieve this.


Whilst it is true that a lot of software can be run directly from your USB drive it's unfortunately not true for every software application. Some programs need to be run on the same physical drive as the Windows copy. Software such as Microsoft office or Photoshop which is far more memory intensive will need to already be on the hard drive and tied to the operating system for it to work. You could try installing them onto a USB drive, but they would still only work on the original PC they were from due to the license key.

However there are a wide range of apps and software that are specifically designed to be run directly from a USB drive. The key to whether software can be run directly from a USB drive is if it needs installing or not. If it needs an installation then it cannot be run directly from the USB drive as this would require it being connected to the operating system. Software that can run from USB drives will be software that is a self-contained program so therefore they can run on any computer capable of running them.

What they can be used for?

One of the most common uses for flash drives with software on them is to run security software directly. If your computer has been infected with a virus then using a USB drive with security software on it is one fantastic option.

For those who know a bit more about computing USB drives can even be used to boot entire operating systems. There is a utility software called WinToFlash which will copy installation files to flash drives to allow for portable operating system installations!

You can use a USB drive to store information such a web history or bookmarks so when you swap computers you do not need to spend a long time trying to find the same pages you have searched before.

Running Portable Applications

Now that you know what USB drives can be used for in terms of running software it is time to learn how to do this. The first step is to actually have a USB with enough memory space on it to store the software. There are many different websites offering downloads to software which will open up your USB drive to be able to run far more portable software. The choice is up to you, but for this article we are going to look at Portable Apps Software.

Therefore you will need the initial software on your USB drive to access more portable software. Go to the website to download the software and find a long list of various portable applications and software that can be installed on your USB drive. You need to now ensure that you have downloaded the software and installed it specifically on your USB drive.

Launch the software directly from your USB drive (you're already doing it now!) and you will find a drop down list of the portable software available. Using this list you can pick and choose software that you like the look of and install them directly to your USB drive.

As with a conventional computer you can place the various software applications into specific folders if you want a bit more organisation. These software applications can now be directly run from your USB drive by simply opening them like you would any program on a standard computer.


As you can see USB drives have many uses and this is extended further with their ability to run software directly. This allows you to have more portability with software so you can install it on more computers than just the one you use normally.

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