Moving applications into Odrive?

I eventually would like the ability to just download Odrive to a new computer and have my whole computer (files and apps) a sink away. If worst comes to worse, I would be fine with an extra program that silently installs and registers all non portable programs (with license keys in a config file), but the goal is to be able to switch from one computer to another.ASAP.
How can I set this up properly? Especially for some apps with product keys? Most apps now have portable versions, so this isn’t such a problem. But I don’t understand how program files work enough to feel comfortable doing this.

I know there is:

Which basically is this, but it is not accessible with a screen reader and it doesn’t appear to have most of the sink capabilities Odrive has. It also doesn’t seem to allow one to sink programs with a license key either.

I know you can just install programs anywhere, but they will only run on your primary computer. I read a way to get around this is by installing the app on the new computer, then just deleting the program files folder. The problem with this is that it is rather cumbersome to reinstall programs and I would say I spend about 6 hours every computer I setup and most of that is installing and that is just for the essential programs. I have reduced this time quite a bit by sinking installers to the cloud, but this means that I need to update installers or use something like:
which only does free apps and doesn’t allow one to add new apps.

It would be super cool if Odrive could streamline the installation process or nearly eliminate it altogether.
I see the technology is out there for open source apps (which to be honest is most of my apps these days), but it is difficult for me to add new apps (even open source apps) and I have no idea how to add apps that have license keys.
I think it would be pretty easy for odrive to add liberkey functionality for open source apps using something like:
and I think adding a new portable app is as easy as placing the portable copy of the app in the program files folder in odrive.
The problems I run into are all my keyboard shortcuts, adding paths to the environment variables, getting what ever setting or config files are in %user%/appdata or %user% and installing and activating files with a license key.

What are some other ideas to allow me to achieve as much device independence as possible?

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Hi @brandonkeithbiggs,
Thanks for the thoughts here.

Portable applications are something I used heavily in the past, but have since stopped using as my “primary” applications. odrive doesn’t have any plans to support this, currently.

You may be able to use odrive as a storage medium, and use a portable app manager on top, but I haven’t tested this and I have a feeling there will be issues without a good process in place. I think you could also run into some issues with executable privileges being lost in certain circumstances when downloading the binaries to a new machine. I also think that you may find that some of these applications update lots of files constantly, which will make odrive churn, processing all of the changed files. A portable web browser, for example.

The idea is definitely cool, but its probably not a great fit for odrive right now.

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What made you stop using portable apps?

What are the cons of this setup? Are there performance hits?

Odrive having lots of turn is only a problem if one is not connected to Wi-Fi or has a slow internet connection.

To be honest though, web browsers are really the best at making your life portable. You just log into your account and everything is already there. So I would be fine with installing my web browser.

Is there a way to find out just how much an app writes to a db?

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Hi @brandonkeithbiggs,
I still use portable apps, but I found trying to use them for everything became a bit of a pain with default app updates and default file handler registration, for example. I also don’t end up on new machines too often, so adding some app “permanence” to the machines I use wasn’t as big of a concern anymore. As you said above, web-based apps are a lot more common, too.

Once everything is synced down, performance shouldn’t be an issue. I think there can be complications with app-created files as you move from machine to machine. You would always want to perform a recursive sync on the app folder or set “folder sync rules” to make sure everything is downloaded, all the time. You can also hit issues with app-created/app-changed files where odrive will try to upload them, but the app retains control over them (or vice versa), and you could end up with some conflicting behavior.

Web browsers end up having a ton of “app-created” files with the browser cache and cookies, so that creates a lot of churn and sync activity. You can monitor the sync activity to see how much applications change things. It will be evident from the files that need to be uploaded when the app is running.

You can certainly try it out, though. It may work for your needs.

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