How-To Geek

Portable Extension Warlock Creates Temporary File Associations While Using Portable Apps

Windows: If you’re looking for a quick and dirty way to create temporary file associations while using your portable apps on a computer, Portable Extension Warlock makes it easy to open files with the apps you want.

Portable Extension Warlock (PEW) provides a great middle ground between permanently altering the associations on the computer you’re using (not feasible and/or polite if you’re using an internet cafe computer or a friend’s computer) and having to open each individual file in the portable app itself (slow and nowhere near the click-and-load experience you get at home). PEW does two things: first, it helps you create a database of file extensions associated with portable apps on your USB drive. Second, it creates a temporary drop zone on the screen where you can drag and drop files. Any files dragged onto that little drop zone icon will launch with PEW’s alternate set of file extensions.

It’s not a perfect solution in that it doesn’t completely recreate the experience of double clicking your file and having it open in the application you want, but given the limitations of using a non-administrative account and respecting the file permissions already set by the computer’s owner it’s a great work around.

Portable Extension Warlock is a free tool, Windows only–requires Microsoft .NET Framework be installed on the host computer.

Portable Extension Warlock [via Freeware Genius]

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 01/9/12

Comments (6)

  1. Anomaly

    Programs that require the .Net Frame work should not be referred to as portable, they are not portable if they depend on it to run.

  2. DarkReality

    Yeah, but these days, everybody’s got .NET Framework. It’s no longer obscure, and “but it requires .NET” is just a copout when nothing better exists. has been trying to do portable file associations for a couple years now and still have nothing they consider worth putting on their platform. And if you know John T. Haller (the project’s founder and lead dev) you know he’s a perfectionist. He will hold back a feature for years (see folders/categories) until it works how he wants.

  3. Milo

    Check out Liberkey. They have portable file association built in. Plus the menu doesn’t look like a kid’s toy (I’m looking at you PortableApps).

    They also have an auto-checker-for-updates.’

    Basically one of the best suites I have ever used!

  4. Anomaly


    Many people still use XP and don’t have .Net Framework installed. Also many people using Vista and Windows 7 don’t bother to update .Net Framework since they are some of the most trouble prone Windows updates out there. Since there are several versions of the framework and they aren’t being updated regularly by people there is a good chance you will end up on a machine were this program will not work because it depends on the .Net Framework.

    Portable apps should not have to depend on something like that to run. if they do they are not truly portable.

  5. Ruud

    I’m with Milo on this one!
    Liberkey ( is a portable app manager/collector which has this feature for a long time! If i am correct, even without needing .NET.
    I use almost all my tools from the Libekey suite exclusively.
    You have the option to switch file associations to all the appropriate apps within your Liberkey suite and back again to the systems local associations. And, as Milo mentioned, all apps are updated from within the suite.
    With Liberkey synced between all my workstations using DropBox or, more recent SugarSync, all tools and settings are available everywhere I work (and a not-so-up-to-date copy on USB for occasional throuble shooting on other systems).

  6. RDSchaefer

    Not only do I agree with Anomaly, I refuse to allow .Net on any PC I support.

    Do you realize that the current framework is almost 1 GB! Even the VB6 runtime was smaller and better written code. I realize that on a TB drive that’s nothing at all but that’s not the point. I don’t understand why so many people have fallen for Microsoft’s lie. I have yet to find ANYTHING you can do in .net that you can’t do in another language AND it would be smaller, faster, and truly portable.

    If enough people are interested, I’ll write my own version of this program in plain C to prove my point.

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