Create a Portable Version of Any Application in Windows

There are a lot of portable applications available out there (for example, on websites such as and that you can install to a USB flash drive or external hard drive and run on any computer. However, you may have some favorite programs that you use in your daily work that do not come in a portable version. Cameyo is a free portable application creator that makes a single .exe file from an entire Windows application. You can copy this .exe file to a USB flash drive or external hard drive and run it from there on any Windows without having to install the program.

Download Cameyo from

The downloaded file is actually an executable that starts a downloading tool for CNET that downloads Cameyo. Double-click the .exe file.


If the Open File – Security Warning dialog box displays, click Run to continue with the installation.


If the User Account Control dialog box displays, click Yes to continue.

NOTE: You may not see this dialog box, depending on your User Account Control settings. See our post, Windows 7 – How to configure UAC (User Account Control), for more information.


The Welcome screen of the CNET Installer dialog box displays. Click NEXT STEP to continue.


A screen displays asking if you want to install the StartNow Toolbar, make Bing your default search engine, and make MSN your homepage in your browsers. The check boxes are selected by default. If you don’t want to install these items, select the check boxes so there are NO check marks in the boxes. We turned them all off. Click NEXT STEP to continue.


If you chose not to install any of the items from Step 2, Step 3 is skipped. Step 4 informs you that your download is complete. If you want to install Cameyo immediately, click INSTALL NOW. To install the program at a later time, click LATER.


The Cameyo installation file is automatically downloaded into the Downloads folder. You can copy the .exe file to any other folder to store it for installing it on other machines. That way you don’t have to use the CNET downloading tool again.

Cameyo does not require installation. To run Cameyo, simply double-click on the .exe file.


The Cameyo Application Virtualization window displays. The program you want to make portable should NOT be installed on your computer. When you tell Cameyo to capture an installation, it takes a snapshot of your system before you install the program and then again after the program is installed. The differences are then analyzed and a portable application is created.

To begin the process, click Capture installation.


A small dialog box displays in the lower, right corner of your screen telling you that an initial system snapshot is being taken.


Once the initial snapshot is taken, the following dialog box displays. If you want to cancel the operation, click Cancel. DO NOT click Install done yet. Install the software you want to convert to a portable program.


If the software you installed requires you to reboot the computer, do so once the installation is complete. Otherwise, click Install done on the Cameyo dialog box in the lower, right corner of your screen.


A dialog box displays while Cameyo takes the post-installation snapshot.


When the portable software package (a .virtual.exe file) has been created, a dialog box displays telling you where the package was placed.


The Package Editor dialog box displays. To change the icon for the portable program, click the Change icon link on the right side of the dialog box.

NOTE: You can easily extract the icon from any program executable file using a free program called Icons from File.


Navigate to the folder containing the icon file you want to apply to your portable program executable file, select the .ico file, and click Open.


To change where the program’s data is stored, click the Change link to the right of the Data storage item in the Basics box.


On the Data storage dialog box, select where you want the program’s data to be stored. We chose to store the data in the directory in which we will store the portable program’s executable file. Click OK.


To resave the portable executable, select Save as from the File menu.


Navigate to the folder in which the .virtual.exe file was saved by Cameyo, generally the Cameyo Packages folder in My Documents. Select the .virtual.exe file to replace it and click Save.


The Confirm Save As dialog box displays. Click Yes to replace the file.


A dialog box displays when the package has been saved. Click OK to close it.


To close the Package Editor, select Exit from the File menu.


Copy the portable program package to a USB flash drive or external hard drive, from which you want to run the program. To run your portable program, double-click the .virtual.exe file created by Cameyo.


The program we chose to make portable contains two executables for the two parts of the program. In this case, Cameyo displays a dialog box asking which program you want to run. Select the program you want to run from the list. If you only want to use one of the programs Cameyo added to the package, select that program and select the Always open this program check box to open that program by default. Click OK.


When you run the program, a VOS folder is created containing a subfolder named for the program. The data for the program is stored in this folder.


If you want to edit the properties of the portable program package, open Cameyo again and either click on the package you want to edit in the list of Recent packages or click Edit existing package and select a package to edit.


Using Cameyo and the portable applications from and, you can set up a portable workstation on a USB flash drive allowing you to work using your own software on any computer.

by Lori Kaufman

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