Creating a Portable WXtrack

by Peter Pauly

[This information recovered from the Internet Archive]

WXtrack is an impressive piece of software for visually tracking the locations of satellites, including the International Space Station. Using these instructions, you can create a version of WXtrack that will run from a USB Flash drive. After you're done with the installation, the software will take up about 4.4MB of space on your flash drive.

Building the Directory:

  1. Create a directory on your flash drive.  I'm going to use P:\WXtrack in these examples. Your drive letter will probably be different.
  2. Download the WXtrack software zip file from David Taylor's web site and save it in the directory you created.
  3. Download the Runtime Library Bundle from the same web site and save it in the same directory.
  4. Unzip the runtime bundle and run the runtimes-setup.exe program to install the runtime DLL's. Note: the DLL's will be installed on your computer, but we will be deleting them later.
  5. Open windows explorer and navigate to C:\Windows\System32 (your directory may be different).  If you can't find your System32 directory, open up a command prompt and type in SET. Look for the SystemRoot variable. It will tell you where your Windows directory is. System32 will be underneath that.
  6. Select the following files in explorer and copy them to the USB Drive directory (P:\WXtrack). These are the DLL's that were installed by the runtimes-setup program:

  7. Uninstall the runtimes-setup program by going into Control Panel --> Add or Remove Programs . You don't need it anymore now that you have the DLL's. Warning - if you have any other software using the runtime libraries, you shouldn't uninstall the runtimes-setup program. Strictly speaking, you don't need to uninstall this software, it just proves that WXtrack is working properly from the flash drive.
  8. Delete the runtimes-setup.exe and the runtimes zip file. You don't need them any longer.
  9. Unzip the WXtrack zip file you downloaded previously.
  10. Delete the WXtrack zip file, it just wastes space on your USB flash drive.
  11. At this point, you should have all of the DLL's and all of the WXtrack program and pieces in one directory on your USB flash drive.
  12. You can stop here if you want to. You should have a working program. Try running WXtrack.exe and see if it works properly. Go ahead and setup your location and select your favorite satellites to view.

Optional Steps:

The following steps describe how to create registry files that will "install" and "uninstall" your WXtrack settings on the host computer. The modified registry files will also allow the program to work from any drive. As always, be careful when editing the registry. You can break your system if you aren't careful.

  1. Make sure you start the WXtrack software and setup your location and satellites to your liking, then exit the WXtrack software.

  2. Run Regedit (Start --> Run --> regedit). Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software

  3. Look for the key "David J Taylor".

  4. Right click the David J Taylor key and choose Export.  Save the file in your WXtrack directory on your USB flash drive as WXtrack-install.reg

  5. Open the WXtrack-install.reg with Notepad.

  6. Change the drive letter and colon in the following key to two periods:
    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\David J Taylor\App Paths]

    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\David J Taylor\App Paths]

    Note: Your the key value contains the version number of the program. Your version may be different.

  7. In the key [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\David J Taylor\WXtrack], change:

  8. Also in the key [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\David J Taylor\WXtrack], change:

  9. Save the file in Notepad.

  10. Create a new file with Notepad called WXtrack-uninstall.reg. Edit and save it so that it contains the following:
    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
    [-HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\David J Taylor]

    (Note the minus sign at the beginning of the key).

Now to install the registry settings, just double click the WXtrack-install.reg file. After closing the program, you can remove the registry settings by double clicking the WXtrack-uninstall.reg file.

These instructions were tested on Windows XP SP2 with WXtrack 3.52.

Thanks to David Taylor for making such a magnificent program and even more thanks for making it available for free. If you use WXtrack regularly, I encourage you to register the program here and support continuing development of the software.  Registered users get access to extra facilities in the program as a "thank you".

Please send corrections or suggestions to Peter Pauly.
Use at your own risk.

Copyright 2005 Peter Pauly