How to create portable programs from applications installed in Windows

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Marie-Ange Demory
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In this article we will show you some ways to do this. But first we'll explain what i are INI files as we will talk about it a little later.

What are INI files?

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



these INI files, o In short Windows initialization file, were used until new methods emerged with new operating systems. Now that you have this clearer idea, 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 simpler methods. The advantage of having a Windows application which has an INI format is that you can convert it into a portable program. This is also possible with XML files used to save data.

Using a file from a portable application

As mentioned above, these steps can be performed whether the files you use are in INI format or are XML. With that in mind, let's move on to the steps you need to follow:

  • First you need to locate the application files you want to convert to Programs
  • If the application has been installed for a user, the files will be located in that user's data folder.
  •  Now you need to move the file to the application folder in the Program Files file.
  • You need to copy this folder and paste it on the removable device
  • Now you need to select the main program and create a link.

Convert an application to a portable archive using WinRAR



One way to perform this procedure is to extract the files found in the installer and create an SFX (self-extracting) archive, which can be run using the WinRAR or 7z program.

WinRAR is a program that has grown in popularity due to the fact that it is a complete enough program for compressing and decompressing or opening files. It is 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 currently used compression formats. It's time to move on to the steps you need to follow for extract the program files you want to convert.

You simply have to to extract files from the application installer. Doing this is very simple in some cases, since you just have to right click and choose the Extract Here option, but it doesn't work in all cases.

What are the steps to create the portable application?

Having already the extracted file, you need to locate the executable file, that is, the one that runs or starts the program (you can get it in the folder that has the name of the app)


You have to open this directory and select all the files, then right click where a small menu will appear and choose the WinRAR option: "Add to file ..."

In the box that will appear next, you have to 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 need to open the Mode tab and in Temporary mode you need to check the “Unzip to a temporary folder” box. In silent mode you have to choose the section "Hide all and in overwrite mode" choose "Overwrite all files".

And that's the whole procedure to follow, just click OK and WinRAR will proceed to create your portable archive.

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