One of my peers introduced me to the website www.portableapps.com a week or two ago. This site takes popular applications, modifies them to avoid requiring a typical installation so that you don’t need to have administrative privileges on the system to run them. This allows those of us (especially consultants) that work on others’ systems to be able to use some of our favorite tools without requesting special privileges.

I’d encourage you to check them out if you’d like to be able to put your favorite utility or web browser on a USB drive, plug it in to a computer you’ve never used before and start using the utility without delay. It can provide a great deal of privacy protection as well since you don’t leave behind your browser cache, bookmarks, or site visit history.

If you’re looking for a tool to access the internet, archive some files, transfer files, read MS Word documents or many others, grab the Portable Apps utility of your choice and avoid the Windows-isms. They’ve got a great inventory of products already and they seem to be actively updating the existing tools as well as adding new ones.