Portable Debrief



Portable Version - No Formal Installation Required

Portable Debrief® is a special version of Debrief® that can run on a personal computer without being explicitly installed on that computer. For example, it can be run from removable media such as a USB flash drive, or from a personal folder on the hard drive. It can often be used with only guest privileges.

Why be Portable?

Portable Debrief was designed so it may be used on removable media such as a USB flash drive. When placed on a flash drive, the software and data can be moved from computer to computer without being formally installed on the computer.

Features, Editions, Pricing, Licensing

The Basic, Standard, and Professional editions are also available in Portable Debrief. Likewise, Pricing and licensing procedures are the same as the main version.

Choosing Between the Main and Portable Versions

The features and licensing are the same in both the main and portable versions.

The main version is suitable for most situations. Even with the Main version, Debrief data is portable. The data can reside on a USB flash drive, and be transferred between two PCs that have the main software installed. With the Portable version, the software location is portable, too.

Because the installation of the main version of Debrief is more automated than the portable version, it is recommended to use the main version unless the portable feature is explicitly needed.

Installation Type
(this is the difference)
Traditional Installation Unzip program files
to a hard drive or
USB flash drive
Available Editions
and Features

(select an edition after installation)
Basic Edition
Standard Edition
Professional Edition
Basic Edition
Standard Edition
Professional Edition

Why Choose the Main Version, Instead of the Portable Version?

Indeed, the Portable version runs fine on a hard drive. Where software portability is not needed for a particular reason, the Main version follows mainstream install and uninstall conventions. For example, at installation the Main version:

  • Optionally creates Debrief shortcut icons for the Start menu, Desktop, and Quick Launch task bar.
  • Places programs and data in standard locations - Program Files and My Documents. (These locations can optionally be changed.)
  • Sets file associations for Debrief notebook files, so they may be double-clicked to start Debrief.
  • Places an entry for Debrief in the Windows Control Panel "Add/Remove Programs" window, and supports a standard uninstall.

Performance Differences Between the Main and Portable Versions

Software performance is the similar between the Main and Portable versions. However, hardware can make a difference. Software on a hard drive often operates faster because internal PC storage hardware paths are faster than external paths, such as through a USB interface. Generally, the difference is most noticeable when the software starts and exits, and is similar while reading and editing notes.

The Portable verion can be set up on a hard drive for the same performance as the Main version.

System Requirements for the Portable Version

Minimum system requirements for the portable version:

  • Microsoft® Windows: 2000, XP, or Vista
  • PC Processor equivalent to an Intel® Pentium® 800 MHz
  • Available disk space: 25 MB
  • Screen size: 800x600

Portable Version Setup

Because the installation of the main version of Debrief is more automated than the portable version, it is recommended to used the main version unless the portable feature is needed.

The setup package for the portable version is a self-expanding zip file. The files are placed in a location determined by the user, such as a USB flash drive or a personal folder.

  • Run the setup program.
  • When prompted, specify the location where the software is to be placed.
  • Click the "Unzip" button.
  • To start Debrief, run the DebriefPortable.exe program.
  • Optionally, create a shortcut which targets DebriefPortable.exe.

The default file location for the Portable Debrief software is

The default location for Portable Debrief notebook data is

How the Portable Version is Set Up on a PC

The setup for the portable version is a self-expanding zip file. By default, the portable version places all Debrief files in two folders, next to each other, for both program files and notebook data. This is where the program files are stored, most notably the Debrief program, DebriefPortable.exe. The default folder is:


The notebook data is placed in a folder next to it, in the \DebriefDocuments folder. The backup folder is one level lower, as \DebriefBackup For example, if you were to install on a USB flash drive that has been designated as the D-drive, the folder structure would be:


Program files, including DebriefPortable.exe


Notebook data files


Notebook backups

Optional tips for tailoring the layout for Portable Debrief:

  • This folder structure can be be placed on a USB flash drive, the PC's hard drive, or in \My Documents for a single user.
  • The notebook data files can be placed in separate folders, if desired. Simply navigate Debrief to a different folder when creating or opening a notebook.
  • If you would like a shortcut to Debrief, point it to the program file: DebriefPortable.exe

About Using Portable Software on a USB Flash Drive

When your data, a Debrief notebook in this case, is on a USB flash drive, remember not to remove the drive while the software is running. Be sure the software has completely closed before removing the external drive.

Debrief Notes
Idealign Software

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