Portable QlikView: run QlikView Desktop from your USB drive

By Barry Harmsen

Run QlikView Portable from USB driveAs a consultant, one thing that I have really come to rely upon is my collection of Portable Applications. Until now, the only thing that was missing from my toolbox was a portable version of QlikView Desktop. Not anymore though. This post will show you exactly how you can create a portable version of QlikView Desktop that you can take with you on your USB drive and run wherever you want.

To create a portable version of QlikView Desktop, you will need the following things:

  • QlikView Desktop Installer: Download the version of QlikView Desktop that you want to turn into a portable version. In this example I am using the 32 bit version of the initial release of QlikView 10. I have not tested this with the 64 bit version.
  • Portable App Creator (mirror) : Sure, some of us could probably hack something together using AutoIt and RegShot ourselves, but fortunately we won’t have to. Someone over at the PortableApps.com forums already did all the hard work and put together Portable App Creator (PAC), a nice program that will automate the entire process.
  • A clean host PC: The PC that you create your portable version of QlikView on should be as clean as possible, with no prior installations of the software. I used a VM with a fresh Windows XP installation for this.
  • A valid local QlikView license (optional): To make a portable version of QlikView, you need to have a valid local QlikView license, otherwise you can only run the personal edition and cannot share your applications between PC’s.  It is a nice workaround to get the personal edition running on a PC without admin rights though. You might also get this to work with a leased license, but I haven’t tried this out.

Once you have these requirements sorted out, you can use the following steps to create your own portable version of QlikView.

Copy the QlikView Desktop installer and Portable App Creator program files to your host PC.

Run the program “PAC Compiler.exe”. The program will check if you already have the program AutoIt installed. If this is not the case, which is likely, you will be asked if you want to download the software. Select “Yes”.

PAC Compiler.exe

Once downloaded, you will be asked where you want to unzip the software, selecting the default location is fine. Once AutoIt has been unzipped and installed, click “Done” to close the PAC Compiler.

When you look in the Portable App Creator program folder you will notice that the “PAC Compiler.exe” program has disappeared and that a file called “Portable App Creator.exe” has been created.

Make sure that you have closed every unnecessary program and have stopped every unnecessary service before continuing with the next step.

Start the program “PAC Compiler.exe”. The welcome screen will ask you where your portable device is located. If you have a USB drive plugged in then select it from the dropdown menu, otherwise select the drive where you want to create your portable version of QlikView. Click “Next” after you have made your choice.

Portable Application Creator - Welcome Screen

The 2nd screen will ask you where the installation file for QlikView is located. Select “Browse” to browse to the QlikView Desktop installer and select “Next” to continue.

Select installer

Click the button “Take 1st Shot”. This will create a snapshot of your system that will later be compared against a snapshot that is taken after QlikView is installed. Comparing these two snapshots lets Portable App Creator know which files and registry keys need to be copied or created for QlikView Desktop to work properly.

Once the 1st snapshot is taken, the “Install application” button will be enabled. Clicking this button will launch the QlikView Desktop installation program. Install the software as you normally would, but make sure that the program files are put in the folder “X:\PortableApps\QlikViewPortable\App\”, where X is the drive you selected on the welcome screen. This folder structure follows the convention used by PortableApps.com applications.

After QlikView is installed the “Get Shortcut Info” button is enabled. Clicking this button pops up a screen where you have to specify which application you want to run, select “qv.exe” in the folder “X:\PortableApps\QlikViewPortable\App\”.

Secondly, you need to supply a location for the launcher app. The launcher app will create and copy all the files and registry keys that QlikView Desktop needs, before launching the actual application. It will also clean up after you exit QlikView. Select the folder “X:\PortableApps\QlikViewPortable\” and type “QlikViewPortable.exe”. Click “Next” to continue.

Shortcut information

The following button, “Open / Close”, is now enabled. Click it to open QlikView.

Make all the modifications you want to the QlikView interface (user preferences, toolbars etc.). Add a license key if you have a valid local license. Create a new, empty QlikView file and save it. Exit QlikView when you are done.

After you have closed QlikView, the button “Take 2nd Shot” on be enabled in the PAC menu. Click it to make a second snapshot of the system.

Once the second snapshot is finished, the “Process Shots” button becomes enabled. Click this button to start the process of comparing the snapshots made before and after the installation of QlikView. This step may take a while.

After the comparison process is done, you can click “Next” to continue. This will start the creation of the Portable Application. This step may take quite a while, on my system it took around 20 minutes to finish.

Creating the QlikView Portable application

Once the Portable Application is created, the “Done” button will be enabled, click it to close the PAC. Your own version of QlikView Portable is now ready, ready to go wherever you go. Enjoy!

Final note: on systems where you do not have admin rights, a pop-up will be shown by the launcher that informs you that you are not an administrator. Just click the “OK” button to close the pop-up and continue, the application will still work fine.


About The Author

Barry Harmsen

Hi there, I'm Barry and I'm a Business Intelligence Consultant at Bitmetric and based in the Netherlands. Originally from a background of 'traditional' Data Warehousing, Business Intelligence and Performance Management, for the past 10 years I have been specializing in Qlik and a more user-centric form of BI. I have done numerous QlikView and Qlik Sense implementations in many different roles and industries. In 2012 I co-authored the book QlikView 11 for Developers. You can follow me on Twitter at @meneerharmsen.


  • 1
    November 12, 2010 - 01:19 | Permalink

    Nice idea!
    Great post. This is shaping up to be a valuable source of QlikView tips.
    Love it.
    Cheers, Dan.

  • 2
    November 16, 2010 - 23:58 | Permalink

    I wondered if something like this could be done.

    Now, I’ll have to try it out.


  • 3
    December 1, 2010 - 12:56 | Permalink

    Thank you for the great QlikView post!

  • 4
    June 16, 2011 - 10:41 | Permalink

    Great post!
    But could you please explain about the licensing?
    I’ve tried it but make it only with the personal version, because the lef file was situated on the hard drive on my maschine and the portable version works with no licence.

  • 5
    February 28, 2012 - 00:27 | Permalink

    A very helpful thing, thank you. Do you have an idea how to set up ODBC when having QV on usb? User and System DSN don’t want to work…

  • 6
    November 13, 2015 - 19:05 | Permalink

    Can anyone help me with qlikview license.
    Is it possible to have a Qlikview license for free.
    For tableau we have student license for 1 year, can qlikview has same kind of license.
    Please help

  • 7
    July 8, 2016 - 11:16 | Permalink

    Hi, can you share a qlikview portable app instead.

    I stuck with license thing.

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