Monday, April 11, 2011

How to Make FeedDemon Portable

FeedDemon is one of the best Windows desktop based RSS feed reader that I have seen to date. It has a set of very competitive features for easy reading and management of feeds such as the filter tool, Watches and tags. It has built in search, offline mode and the best of all – Google Reader synchronization. What FeedDemon lacks is a portable version. This is what we are going to create.

Preparation

Step 1

FeedDemon by default installs the software to c:\Program Files. Of course, you can choose to install the software in any location. This is where all the files of the software reside, but the cache where the feed data is stored will always be located under the current user’s Apps directory, no matter where you install the program.

So the first step will be to move the cache from the user’s Apps directory to the program directory. To do this, click on “File” and then click “Manage Cache” in FeedDemon. Click on the “Change” button in the window that opens and specify the target directory. Click OK.

feeddemon-cache

In the next window, choose one of the three options given.

feeddemon-cache-move

If you have been using FeedDemon for a while and have a few subscriptions, choose either “Move cache to new location, delete existing cache” or “Copy cache to new location, but keep existing cache intact” depending on which action you are comfortable with. I suggest you choose the second one i.e., keep the existing cache, just to be safe.

On the other hand, if you want to start afresh, choose “Change location of cache but don’t copy or move anything”.

Step 2

Press Ctrl+R to open the Run dialog box, type regedit and press Enter to open the registry editor. Navigate to the following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Bradbury

Right-click on "Bradbury" key and select "Export". Save the .REG file in your USB drive or hard drive.

feeddemon-reg-export

Step 3

Move the entire FeedDemon program folder together with the cache and the saved .REG file to your portable drive.

How to run FeedDemon from the USB drive

  1. Plug the USB/portable drive to the computer and identify the drive letter that Windows assigns to the portable drive. You will need this in the next step.
  2. Open the .REG file in a text editor and locate the following line:

    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Bradbury\FeedDemon\1.0\Folders]

    Replace the drive letter shown under “AppPath” and “CacheDir” with the drive letter of the portable drive. Save the .REG file.

    feeddemon-reg-edit

  3. Double click on the modified .REG file to merge its content with the registry of the Windows machine.
  4. You can now double click on FeedDemon.exe to run the program.

Important: Clean up after you are done

The .REG file you added to the machine contains sensitive information like your Google Reader login credential including your password (encrypted), the serial number of FeedDemon, in case you bought the Pro edition, and the last ten keywords searched. You may want to remove this data from the machine, assuming it a public computer or one that you don’t own, once you are done with FeedDemon.

To do this, open registry editor and locate the registry key “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Bradbury”, which the same one of Step 2, and then delete it.

As you may have realized, we have not created a portable version of FeedDemon – we are simply “installing” it via the registry key on every machine. Therefore, this trick can be used to skip the installation routine of FeeDemon. Just move FeedDemon to a non-Windows partition, keep a copy of the .REG file and avoid reinstalling it after a system format.

Adapted and modified from a tutorial by AskVG.

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