Tutorial Thursday

Windows Live Writer The recent release of Windows Live Writer Beta 3 has, in my opinion, put that blogging software well ahead of any competition. The addition of XHTML support is what caused me to switch back, but prior to that I used another free application called Post2Blog. One of the major benefits it offered was the ability to assemble a portable version so that you can blog wherever you go.

Luckily Windows Live Writer (WLW) users aren’t completely out of luck! Today I’m going to show you how you can turn WLW into a USB-friendly app by making use of the same type of launcher that powers Firefox Portable.

Here’s what you’ve gotta do to make Live Writer portable:

  1. You will need to download and install Windows Live Writer on your computer. The portable launcher can’t include the Live Writer files because of trademark purposes.
  2. Download the Windows Live Writer portable launcher (Download Mirror), and extract the contents to your computer.
  3. Now what you need to do is copy every file from C:\Program Files\Windows Live\Writer to \WindowsLiveWriterPortable\App\WindowsLiveWriter, which should have been created when you extracted the contents of the portable launcher in step 2.
    Windows Live Writer Portable
  4. Run the WindowsLiveWriterPortable.exe file, and Live Writer will begin walking you through the steps needed to setup your blog accounts.
    Windows Live Writer Portable Launch

As you can see, it’s an incredibly simple process, but it will eat up around 12MB on your USB drive once you have everything copied over. Live Writer does have to initially be installed so that you can grab the application files associated with it, but after that you can completely uninstall the program because all files, data, and registry settings are kept within the portable folder. This also makes backing up the program a lot easier!

There are a few caveats that can get annoying, but none of them would hinder me from using the portable version. The thing that I find to be the most troubling would be the UAC prompt that I receive in Vista each time I try to run the Live Writer Portable. I don’t think there is anything that the developer can do about this since it is a safety precaution in Vista, but it isn’t so bad if you don’t open and close the program all of the time.

If you happen to have a SanDisk U3 USB drive , then the Windows Live Writer Portable developer has instructions on adding the program to the Launchpad as well. It’s a fairly easy process, but I still prefer the PStart launcher which requires little to no configuration for any program on your USB drive. Not only that but PStart works with nearly all USB drives.

Thanks to Download Squad and ShanKri-la for pointing out this great addition to my USB drive!