There are an ever-growing number of portable applications that can be carried around on a USB flash drive and run directly on the flash drive.

PortableApps has some of the finest software available. However, whenever I look at a list of such software, I ask myself whether I am really going to perform image editing from a USB key, or, more importantly, whether I am willing to pay for a portable program.

More often than not, my answer is no. Or at least, not yet.

Thus, here are some of the best freeware programs for Windows we’ve found and actually used so far.

Foxit Reader will let you view PDF files.
metapad and notepad2 are text file utilites.
Portable OpenOffice is 167mb installed, but if you’ve got space, take your office with you!

PortableFirefox is just what it sounds like.
PortableThunderbird allows you to take your email and news reading on the road.

Antivirus & Maintenance
Stinger is a standalone antivirus scanner from McAfee that’s frequently updated, get the latest.
PortableClamWin is an antivirus solution.
HiJackThis a hijacker detector and remover.

HoverSnap takes screenshots, image and window captures.
EasyISO will help you burn CD ISO images wherever you are.
Zip is a file compression utility.
PortableFileZilla is an open-source FTP program
PabloCommander is like Norton Commander and Windows Explorer and includes an FTP client.
Angry IP Scanner will scan a network, and reveal MAC addresses, ports, etc.
putty is a telnet and SSH program.