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Portable Software vs Installed Software – Pros and Cons

installed software vs portable software pros and cons

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Portable Software vs Installed Software – which is the right one for you? A client recently asked for my opinion. So here are some points which might help you make a decision for yourselves.

The software can be used in two different ways. An Installed Software needs to go through the process of installing in order to be used in a particular device.

When a software is installed, files associated with the software is automatically installed in different locations such as Program Files folder, ProgramData, AppData etc. It also adds additional information inside the registry regarding the file location and also to enable installed software run in the background as soon as the computer is started.

A Portable Software does not need any installation. It comes in a zipped container and carries all the files that need to run the software without installing it on any device. When it’s time to run the software, simply unzip all the contents to a folder. Open the folder and run the exe file to use the software.

Installed Software Pros and Cons


  • A normally installed software is capable of utilizing the hardware and software resources more efficiently than a Portable Software


  • The installed software takes an additional hard disk space. If there is not much free hard disk available, it may not be a good idea to install software especially if the software is a big one.
  • When a software is installed, the possibility of conflicting with other software is always a possibility
  • When a software is uninstalled, it may not get removed completely. Most Installed Software’s leave chunks of related files in different locations and entries inside the registry. If there are too many of these, your computer will soon reach a point where it either slows down, throws up error messages or creates software conflicts. You need specialized software to clear these junks.
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Portable Software – Pros and Cons


  • You don’t have to install software. You can run the software from an external hard disk or a thumb drive. Ideal, if you are looking to save hard disk space.
  • Easy to remove. All you need to do is disconnect the external drive or remove the folder which carries the portable software.
  • You don’t have to buy multiple licenses for using the software in multiple computers. Simply copy the portable files to an external disk and use it on multiple devices.


  • Some features may not work in Portable software. Since the software is not able to exploit the full hardware and software resources, some features may be disabled in Portable Software.


To use a software by installing it normally or to use Portable version entirely depends on the user.

If you use a particular software frequently for getting your job done and want to use its full feature, then install it. If that software is not going to compromise computer performance or create conflicts, install it. Software related to security should be installed to keep your computer protected unless your purpose is just to scan for security threats using a different software.

Some Softwares may slow down computer performance or have a history of conflicting with other installed software. In this case, use the portable version from an external disk. If you only have a single license but want to use the software from multiple devices, then go for a Portable software version.

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