Talking tech since 2003

I use IRC.  A lot.  As a matter of fact, I’m pretty much always on IRC.  However, there is one small problem.  I’m not always at home.  Between home, work, friends houses, etc, I use a lot of computers through the course of the average week; many of which are not my own.  This poses an interesting problem, as I do not want to install mIRC (my preferred IRC application for Windows) onto computers which I do not control.

Additionally, while I feel Mibbit provides an awesome web-based IRC client, it just doesn’t feel the same as having a true desktop application.  This being, IRC just doesn’t feel like IRC without all of my configurations, aliases, scripts, auto-joins, etc.  Because of this I run mIRC from my portable hard drive, which I take with me whenever I leave the house.  This tutorial will cover the creation of a portable version of mIRC that you throw on a flash drive or external drive and take with you anywhere.

Fortunately, mIRC has built in support for portability.  Simply launching the main executable with portable parameters can turn a regular copy of mIRC into a portable copy.

Firstly, you will need to download the mIRC setup file from mIRC’s website.

Once you have obtained the setup file, you will want to install it just as you normally would.

Once you have installed mIRC onto your local computer, you will want to copy it’s program directory from your hard drive.  To do this, simply navigate to the “Program Files” folder on your Windows partition, and copy the “mIRC” folder onto your desktop.  Once you have copied the folder, you can feel free to uninstall the application using the “Add or Remove Programs” wizard inside of Windows.

The next step is to open the mIRC folder on your desktop and create a sub-directory called “res”.  Once you have done so, move all of the other files and folders inside of the mIRC directory into the res folder.

Once you have completed these steps, you will need to create a launcher.  This file will execute mIRC from inside of the “res” folder, and provide the parameters to make it portable.  To do so, fire up Notepad or a Notepad alternative, and create a file with the following contents:

Set objShell = CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
objShell.Run("res\mirc.exe -portable -r" & chr(34) & "\data" & chr(34))

With the above contents entered into your text file, save it in the mIRC folder that you copied onto your desktop as a VBS (Visual Basic Script) file.  To do so, select “File” from within Notepad, then “Save As”.  From there, navigate to the mIRC folder, and enter “mIRC.vbs” for the file name, and “All Files” for the file type.

With all of this done, you will have a fully portable copy of mIRC that is not dependent on any registry values, and stores all of it’s data and configuration files in it’s own file (the “data” folder inside of the “res” folder).  Be sure to copy the entire mIRC folder onto your portable media.  If you did everything right, launching your portable version of mIRC is as simple as launching the mIRC.vbs file.

There are a few other methods of creating a portable mIRC installation, however most of them instruct you to create a shortcut with the necessary parameters.  This has a high fail rate, mainly because shortcuts are static, and do not account for when a drive is assigned a different drive letter.  This method uses a relative directory concept, meaning it works no matter what the drive letter is, or how your files are organized.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or post in the forums or in the chat room.

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