How-To Geek

Install and Run Applications from Your iPod, Flash Drive or Mp3 Player

This guest article was written by Syed Abbas from, a blog focused on technology news, tricks and tips.

If you use extensively customized applications by installing extensions, scripts, etc.. and like to take it around wherever you go or just like to carry a bunch of applications everywhere you go then PortableApps is the perfect solution.

PortableApps software can be installed on any flash storage, this includes, iPod, Flash Drives, Mp3 Players, Portable Media Players, etc.. Once installed, using PortableApps you can install and run other softwares like, OpenOffice, Firefox, VLC Player, etc.. from your portable storage drive.

The best part is that it works just like your desktop application and saves all your settings and preferences.

Setting Up PortableApps

First I’ll quickly run you through the installation steps of PortableApps on your external storage drive, followed by the steps of installing other applications using PortableApps

Download ProtableApps application from here. Run the applications once the download is complete.

Hit Next… wizard start

Click Browse and select the destination choose destination folder

I am installing PortableApps on my Archos (Portable Media Device) in a directory named “Data”. Installation path is F:/Data/. Once you select the installation directory, click “OK” and “Install

portable apps choose directory

Installation of PortableApps on your external storage device is complete, click “Finish” to launch the application from the external drive.

portableapps launch

This is what it will look like. On the right side of the menu you see directories like Documents, Music, Pictures, etc.. which can be used just as the directories you see on your windows menu.

portableapps start screen

Now click on “Options” and “Install a New App” to install an application on your external storage.

portableapps install a new app

I will be installing the Portable Version of Firefox, which can be downloaded here. Do notice the extension “.paf.exe” as applications only with this extension can be installed using PortableApps. Click here to see a list of PortableApps compatible applications.

portableapps select paf

Once you select the installation exe (.paf.exe), click next and select the destination directory

portableapps install firefox

Select the installation dirctory, remember it has to be on your external storage drive (F: in this case). I installed it under PortableApps direcotry. Click “Install” and “Finish” to complete the installation.

portableapps install firefox choose install

Launch the PortableApps menu again, you’ll find the icon on the task bar.

portableapps systray icon

As you see in the image below “Mozilla Firefox, Portable Edition” is visible.

portableapps launch firefox

Similarly I have installed OpenOffice and VLC Media Player portable on my portable media player.

portableapps firefox and openoffice

That was easy isn’t it? It’s a good utility which lets you carry your must-have applications around without carrying a laptop or another similar device.

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Download Portableapps from

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 11/4/08

Comments (12)

  1. USBman

    It might also be worth noting that there are also pieces of software available in the “paf” format, other than those directly from While this does show that the paf format is gaining some traction as a common, agreed upon format, it could also be a little touchy – you see, unlike everything on, some of these paf formatted programs are not open source; instead, they could be closed source freeware.

    While freeware is still, well, free, the virtues of breaking from the original open source only model could be argued. That being said, there are some terrific tools available that demonstrate the utility of breaking from this mold – for example, TeraCopy.

  2. jd2066

    To my knowledge you can only access an iPod via iTunes and it doesn’t appear as a drive in my computer so I don’t see how this would work with an iPod.

  3. The Geek


    That’s actually true and not true… basically, if you have an older iPod you can use it as a drive if you want. I think they turned off that ability in the newest ipods.

  4. satansoldier

    This is an amazing set of applications. I’ve been using Portable apps for a few months on my 4 gig thumb drive and it simplifies thing alot. Also, if you put aplications on the drive in the applications folder, they will show up on the PA menu, I have DOOM and Frets on Fire on mine for when i need to kill some time away from my own PC.

  5. syedabbas


    This article will help you use your iPod as a drive.

  6. Quixiotic

    @The Geek:

    I believe it’s an initial setting on your iPod in iTunes, there’s a checkbox for “Enable Disk Use” and when it’s clicked your iPod will respond like a portable hard drive.

  7. catlover44

    Whoever wrote this article was good at it, but i found 1 typo in it. I always accidentally swap 2 letters that are next to each other. Here is read this paragraph:

    First I’ll quickly run you through the installation steps of PortableApps on your external storage drive, followed by the steps of installing other applications using PortableApps

    Download ProtableApps application from here. Run the applications once the download is complete.

    OK. See the error? It is PORTABLEAPPS not PROTABLEAPPS.

    Sorry for my criticising,

    On a happier note…
    I use this program heaps and I love it!

    Hopefully the mistake gets fixed soon! :)
    Anyway, Great Job!! 5/5 points for me!

  8. catlover45


    I really like your comment, but I found one typo in it and one grammatical error in it.

    First, “Here is read this paragraph:” is not grammatically correct. Do you see the error? It should read “HERE IS HOW THE PARAGRAPH READS:”

    Second, “Sorry for my criticising” is not correct either. Can you see the problem there? It’s CRITICIZING, not CRITICISING, unless, of course, you’re from England, in which case you also call potato chips crisps and believe in congestion pricing on roads.

    Other than that, brilliant comment. I always like to give plaudits to fellow editors like me who post comments correcting typos and errors in web articles. Hopefully together you and I can nitpick out of existence the other 3 billion or so typographical and grammatical errors on the internet.

    Thanks again. You get 10/10 stars from me.

  9. JH

    @catlover45: We English invented the language, we decide how to spell the words.

  10. M

    @JH: We Americans invented the elevator and potato chips, we decide what it’s called. Not to mention the English language is just a mutated orgy of multiple languages.

  11. logan


  12. John

    Hi Guys..

    I’m with the Engish version.. anyway.. All I want to do is install a media player (Real Player or similar) on my flash drive, so I can play movies on a TV (using USB) Is this possible with this prgram please?



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