If you’re using someone else’s computer and an application that you need or want isn’t available, you are in luck if you have a portable version of the application on your flash drive. SanDisk is a flash drive manufacturer that installs its own proprietary software launcher, U3, on flash drives. Some portable applications are designed specifically for U3, and are simple to install. But what if you have a SanDisk USB flash drive with U3 installed, and want to use other portable applications aside from those specifically designed for U3? One option would be to uninstall U3 from the drive and then install the PortableApps.com Platform. Some folks despise U3 and this is the first step they take when getting a new flash drive. But what if you want to keep U3, but also install apps from a place like portableapps.com? Here is how I installed non-U3 apps on my SanDisk flash drive, including how I placed a shortcut for each application in the launcher.
Please note that this was done from a Windows Vista system, but the procedure should be similar on any Windows system. 1. Find the application you want and download the installer to your desktop. In my case, I obtained my apps from Portableapps.com and Liberkey. 2. Run the installer, or otherwise follow the instructions to install the app to your flash drive (for example, here are instructions for installing a portable version of Imgburn). When prompted, specify an install location on your flash drive. A U3 drive will appear as two drives on your computer. One will be the U3 system drive (don’t install here), while the other will appear as a normal USB drive, which is where you want to install. I install all of my apps to the System/Apps directory, but you will need to set your system to show hidden files if you want to install there. 3. Now, the app is installed, but without a shortcut in the launcher. Let’s fix this. Start by using the above two steps to install Shortcut Creator 4U3. 4. Browse to the directory where you installed Shortcut Creator 4U3, go to the App subdirectory, and launch shortcutcreator4u3.exe. A window will appear that looks like this: 5. Start by clicking on the Browse button on the right, and then in the window that appears, navigate to the directory where you installed the portable app on your flash drive. Double click on the exe file in that directory. 6. All of the values should be filled in for you, so just click the “Add Shortcut” button on the bottom right of the window. 7. After a few moments, a U3 “Add Program Wizard” will appear, that looks something like this: Simply click the “Next” button. The Wizard will run for a moment, and then you can click the “Done” button. That’s it! You should now be able to find the program shortcut in the U3 launcher. If you have several apps, it might be located under “More Programs.” You can also use the above procedure to add Shortcut Creator 4U3 to the launcher menu, so you don’t have to navigate to its exe file every time you want to use it. Please note that SanDisk says that "if you are using a portable, but non-U3 smart application, the U3 Launchpad will not ensure that the application shuts down properly on device eject and will not clean any temporary data this application might have saved on the host PC. The U3 Launchpad performs these steps only for U3 smart applications." Also, I haven’t had to update any of these non-U3 apps yet, so I don’t know how seamless that will be. Does anyone have experience updating, or know of a quicker way to use non-U3 apps on a U3 drive, with shortcuts?