Build the ultimate Emergency USB Backup Drive with these Portable Apps for Windows

We’ve all been there, the trusty old computer won’t boot up due to some problem – maybe even some malware issue – or if it will, it could be crawling with viruses blocking your every move. An emergency USB drive can be as useful as a Swiss army knife in the time of a war. We have already covered a few portable stand-alone apps earlier here and here. Here is my list of programs you should always keep in a backup USB.

Emergency USB Backup Drive

A friend’s hard drive went kaput, and you are stranded without an internet connection? No worries, just pull out your USB drive and start Recuva. You can either use or Liberkey to get your collection of portable apps. Both are robust systems that have stood the test of time.

Portableapps backup usb

Portable Apps for Windows 8.1

You should always keep these portable apps with you.

  • Google Chrome so you always have a modern browser to work with.
  • OpenOffice/LibreOffice for those times when MS Office suite isn’t available.
  • iObit Unistaller to clean programs efficiently.
  • CCleaner and Glary Utilities to perform a quick cleanup.
  • Notepad++ for your text editing needs.
  • Foxit Reader to open up PDF files.
  • FileZilla for when you need access to an FTP client.

There are many other portable apps available. Download the ones that fit your needs best from the installer.

Carry Windows OS on USB

Don’t trust that college PC? Why not boot up your own live copy of Windows from your USB drive. Follow this tutorial from TWC forum on how To Install & Carry Windows On Your USB Flash Drive to get started.

Create bootable media

Sometimes the computer is so far gone that there is only one way to go, format it. Instead of using a different computer to download the ISO file from Microsoft, why not keep one spare USB? Windows 8 will fit cozily inside a 4 GB Pendrive. You can use Microsoft’s own Windows USB/DVD Download Tool to make a bootable USB drive. You can even use a Multiboot tool like Yumi to create a bootable drive with more than one images. You can also boot into Linux distributions from it.

Fighting Malware

If your PC is so infested with malware, it won’t let you run or update your antivirus, there is an alternative to formatting your system. You can use Windows Defender Offline Tool to clean your PC. Or you can use one of the third party solutions from the likes of Kaspersky, Norton etc. You can also read this post on Bootable AntiVirus Rescue CDs for Windows.

Windows Defender Offline Tool

Here are some of the other portable apps you can carry to save a Windows PC under attack.

Do you have your own set of portable programs? Feel free to share in the comments below.

Posted by on , in Category Downloads with Tags
Anand Khanse is the Admin of, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.