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- Besides being efficient, portable browsers won't leave any traces of your activity so your privacy will be protected.
- Most popular browsers can be run from a USB flash drive, however, some are better than others.
Portable programs (software) are those you can run from USB flash drives. Thus, portable software doesn’t need to be installed on a hard drive.
So, you’ll be able to use your preferred browser, with all the preferences and bookmarks already there, if you insert the USB sticks into other PCs.
As you’ll see from this article, most popular browsers can be used this way. But there are also some newer names.
Can you put a browser on a flash drive?
Yes, you definitely can! A portable browser is a version of a web browser that has been packaged by the developer in such a way that it may be run straight from a portable storage device such as a USB flash drive.
How do I use a browser without installing it?
- First, head to the Opera One download page, we will showcase this for the portable version. Then hit the Download button.
- Make sure to insert your USB flash drive into your computer, then double-click the downloaded file in order to run its installation.
- When it asks you for the Destination folder, select your flash drive then continue the installation process.
Without further ado, let’s see what the best portable browsers are:
- Opera One – Best AI-powered browser
- Google Chrome – The most popular choice
- Vivaldi – Great customization
- Mozilla Firefox – Effective privacy protection
- Maxthon – Exclusive features
Which is the best portable browser?
Opera One – Best AI-powered browser
Opera One is a browser that boasts numerous unique features few other browsers can match.
For instance, not every browser incorporates a built-in VPN. However, Opera One is a portable browser with a VPN, a snapshot tool, and a unit conversion utility, which are among its unique features.
Unlike Google Chrome, the UI incorporates a sidebar that provides quick and easy access to its tools as well as AI chat clients.
Opera One also incorporates some handy tab features. Its users can save all a window’s open tabs within a Speed Dial group.
Also, Opera One enables users to organize tabs within workspaces. Furthermore, users can quickly find tabs with the tab search utility.
Other useful features:
- Built-in ad-blocker and free VPN
- Video pop-outs that float outside Opera’s window
- Battery-saver mode enables longer navigation on laptops
- Multiple workspaces to organize and share videos, links, and images between devices
Opera OneThere is One portable browser with lightning-speed navigation and AI technology, so consider it today.
Google Chrome – Most popular choice
Google Chrome is the world’s favorite browser. Many users love this browser’s streamlined UI design, automatic page translation, incognito mode, and speedy performance.
Furthermore, Chrome is compatible with a wide variety of platforms and has the best Android mobile integration.
Its users can seamlessly sync Chrome bookmarks and other saved preferences between PCs and mobiles via a Google Account.
Some of the cynics might lament Chrome’s relatively limited built-in customization options. However, Chrome’s massive repositories of extensions and themes to customize the browser more than make up for that.
Other useful features:
- Built-in browser tab task manager
- Built-in ad-blocker
- Password manager saves passwords
- Flexible URL bar that can be utilized as a calculator, translator, and currency converter
Vivaldi – Great customization
Vivaldi boasts some of the best customization and tab features of any browser. The Vivaldi Settings window includes a plethora of customization settings for browser themes, start page, tabs, bookmarks, panel, address bar, appearance, and much, much more.
Vivaldi’s tab features also put most other browsers to shame. This browser displays page thumbnail previews when you hover the cursor over tabs.
Vivaldi’s innovative tab stacking feature enables you to group tabs together. It also enables you to display four tabs simultaneously within a single window.
There isn’t a portable Vivaldi version. However, you can still run the standard Vivaldi browser from a USB drive.
To install it, click Advanced on Vivaldi’s installer window. Then select the Install standalone option, and click Browse to choose a USB drive directory.
Other useful features of Vivaldi:
- Page actions menu includes various page display options
- Customizable keyboard shortcuts
- Quick Commands menu enables you to search tabs
Mozilla Firefox – Effective privacy protection
Mozilla Firefox pretty much has everything you’ll need from a browser, and a bit more besides.
It includes an ad-blocker, password manager, text-to-speed mode, screenshot utility, and some handy page action options for copying links along with more standard bookmarking and search tools.
Fox also incorporates better customization options than Chrome that enable you to add and remove items from its URL toolbar and select three alternative built-in themes.
With its big add-on and theme repositories on top, Fox is one of the most customizable browsers (along with Vivaldi).
Other useful Firefox features:
- Ctrl + Tab cycling with page thumbnail previews
- Autoplay blocking stops videos and sound from playing automatically in tabs
- Enables users to set up primary passwords
- Reader View removes clutter from webpages
Maxthon – Exclusive features
Maxthon is a browser with minimal system requirements that packs in plenty of features. It offers device-syncing support across a wide variety of platforms.
Maxthon users can save webpage content with the Maxnote Cloud feature, which can then be synced across devices.
Maxthon incorporates some novel tools you won’t find in many alternative browsers. For instance, its External Tools feature enables you to add software shortcuts to the browser.
You can also download videos from website pages with this browser’s Resource Sniffer.
Other useful features:
- Includes a Night Mode option
- The built-in screenshot tool enables users to capture snapshots
- Automatically fills out saved ID info for forms
- Mouse gesture shortcuts for browser options
⇒ Get Maxthon
Are portable browsers safe?
If you are away from home and you need to use someone else’s PC, you probably won’t be able to install anything on it. That’s where your USB drive and the browser you copied onto it come into play, without any complications.
Another advantage is that the browser won’t leave any traces of your activity so your privacy will be protected. Speaking of that, also check out these reliable browsers that don’t save your history and personal data.
Portable browsers are generally safer, but you will need to keep them updated. If the file on your USB flash drive becomes too outdated, it will be exposed to various attacks.
Those are the best portable browsers you can utilize on Windows PCs without installing them on hard drives.
If you have a slow PC, you might also be interested in our list of the best lightweight browsers for Windows 10 & 7.
Have you tried using a browser this way already? Tell us how it works or if you see some real advantages.