Storage forum

General discussion

Could I put programs on external hard drives?

by rohan.katipally-208132649 / February 13, 2006 4:01 AM PST

Could I install programs on external hard drives, for example like Microsoft Office or things like that> I don't mean like an entire OS, but just programs.

Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: Could I put programs on external hard drives?
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: Could I put programs on external hard drives?
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
Yes but . .
by VAPCMD / February 13, 2006 8:06 AM PST

I don't recommend it.

Is this for a laptop or desktop ?


Collapse -
For a laptop.
by rohan.katipally-208132649 / February 14, 2006 8:05 AM PST
In reply to: Yes but . .

I am running out of HD space, and I thought that an external HD would be more efficient than an internal one because then I don't need to put my current internal HD to waste. But if my internal HD's space is still taken up by programs I install on my external HD, then I guess its a waste.

Collapse -
How large is the current laptop HD ?
by VAPCMD / February 14, 2006 11:22 AM PST
In reply to: For a laptop.

Why not get a bigger laptop hard drive ?

Collapse -
A better solution would be to reserve your laptop hard drive
by Bob L / February 17, 2006 2:07 AM PST
In reply to: For a laptop.

for your applications and save your data to an external hard drive.

Collapse -
external HDD for using the OS
by videolabs / February 20, 2006 12:07 AM PST
In reply to: Yes but . .

I thought I can use the Licensed software in single HDD external so that when I keep moving to office and home the same OS can be used.
Besides it offers security and no one else can use my lap top or desktops.
What do you think can be the drawback?

Collapse -
Just one thing. No Windows does this.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 20, 2006 12:17 AM PST

Windows on USB or Firewire can't do this. Applications, since they put items in the OS registry will then fail to run from the external hard disk.

Maybe in this case, Windows is the wrong OS since what you asked for, has never been seen.


Collapse -
Same response as stated but also
by Steven Haninger / February 13, 2006 10:24 AM PST

not all of the program will go on the external. Some will be in Windows folders anyway. You will not be able to run these program on another PC if that's what you have in mind. Also, if the external is turned off or unplugged, you might experience some error when Windows starts or searches for data. Not a good idea IMO.

Collapse -
wow,,, you guys need to stop and think!!!!!!!!!!
by Alexander myi / August 24, 2015 7:39 PM PDT

this is not true the file or app has a .exe and .dll files all of which can be ran and placed on a external device with no problem but your problem lies in one simple area your temp, appdata and even your system 32 for you Microsoft office it places all its files throw out your os this meas that when it down lode it down lodes it dlls and exes in your os and in hidden places all over your computer and those can be moved into your os but it is agenst the law to modify there dlls or exes and if you move all those files they will still wound to start were they were and if moved there not were the exe calls for them so you error and you would have to modify the exe to tell it were they are now the reason Microsoft dose this is because they don't wont people to steal and crack there software.Now you can put your apps on your flash drive throw all you have to do is have all the files from program data in a folder and run the exe.this being sayed they are making this hard on you now and slowly but shely you have to be more skilled to do so but if your never going to tack the usb out simply murge your c drive with your hardrive they will become one hardrive so they work together then it will work with no problems.

Collapse -
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / August 24, 2015 11:37 PM PDT

Why are you replying to a conversation that began over 9 years ago?

I am locking this thread.


Collapse -
external hd
by dillon45 / February 16, 2006 6:12 PM PST

of course you can, I have several myself an external is little different to an internal, I am presuming you are talking about a pc, but even with a laptop it works fine though you do need a little more care

Collapse -
There are two types of programs...
by gagapkm / February 16, 2006 6:43 PM PST

...that work well when operated from external media:

(1) Freestanding Windows programs (i.e., those which need no *installation* or *uninstallation* rocedures...usually these will be small utility programs, and often they will be freeware).

(2) Well-behaved DOS programs (i.e., those which use the DOS services to access hardware functions) also still run under Windows. However, they may not have originally included mouse support and/or support for printers that require API access (i.e, the printers sold today).

I keep a number of these on a USB flash drive, ready to use on whatever computer I am using at the time.

Collapse -
MS Office = NO!
by royc / February 17, 2006 2:12 AM PST

but all of the data files can be put on the external drive. The same applies to most other programs.

Collapse -
MS Office for Macintosh = YES!
by Apta Good / February 17, 2006 7:21 AM PST
In reply to: MS Office = NO!

If it's MS Office for Macintosh, the answer = YES. There's no installer needed; just move the MS Office folder found in the Applications folder to your external hard drive.

Collapse -
definitely Yes!
by eduardo01usa / February 20, 2006 12:37 PM PST

I`ve saved a lot of different programs in my MAXTOR external drive (BIG PROGRAMS),like Microsoft fligh simulator,Autocad 2004,Adobe Photoshop,and Games like Falcon Allied Force,Jetfighter V Homeland protector, Pariah etc. All of them work great,but don`t forget your external drive must be ON. Good luck.

Collapse -
Agree BUT!!!............
by cm2gj / March 4, 2006 9:05 AM PST
In reply to: definitely Yes!

Agree. Not the OS, but any other software can be installed in an external hard drive. One thing must be know is every time you disconnect and connect the USB drive you take a risk. Windows can give you a different letter to your drive and this can ruin your life!!!

For example, if you have a pc with a C hard drive and D cdrom drive. You add an external hard drive. Windows assign the E letter.

If later you remove the E drive, insert an USB drive and later the USB hard drive, windows can provide the USB drive letter to your memory instead of your hard disk, and this can be a big problem.

Collapse -
so... how do we do it?
by mcoyy / June 20, 2008 11:54 AM PDT

I have the same problem. Although I am running out of disk space and have a 16gb flash drive. So I need to move some programs such as Sony Vegas to the drive. How do I move something like that to the drive?


Collapse -
by Alexander myi / August 24, 2015 7:48 PM PDT
In reply to: so... how do we do it?

this we cant help you with to move saves yes but to move the hole exe ,we are responsible for what you do so if you sell that code its are fault.

Collapse -
by cheatman229 / December 17, 2010 4:37 PM PST

umm thats not always true my windows xp laptop if theres a program on a usb drive or a usb hard drive my laptop forces the name

Collapse -
No You can
by Alexander myi / August 24, 2015 7:46 PM PDT

no you are wrong you can install the os into a flash drive and on boot press f12 to tell it what drive to lode the os from that how they delete viruses by tempura loading it in Mack to edit the win files

Collapse -
What about CD games...
by her_silhouette / December 25, 2008 11:31 PM PST
In reply to: definitely Yes!

...such as the Sims 2 or WoW? Will you be able save the data onto the eternal hard drive and play from there (as long as the CD is in your computer)?

Collapse -
Re: external drive
by Kees Bakker / December 25, 2008 11:37 PM PST
In reply to: What about CD games...

That might depend on the game and the way they programmed it. Why not try it with the games you're interested in?

Collapse -
by her_silhouette / December 25, 2008 11:43 PM PST
In reply to: Re: external drive

...I will. I've been having most of the extended packages of the Sims 2 for a while but had to stop playing because it was just too slow due to lack of harddrive space. Now I got a 500GB external hard drive so I wanted to test them out. I wanted to be sure before I messed up the programs.

Collapse -
by Alexander myi / August 24, 2015 7:50 PM PDT
In reply to: What about CD games...

fore the most part a cd game is a installer and the exe checks for the cd to start this is so you cant down lode the game save to flashdrve then sell the cd.but that can be fixed in the security settings.

Collapse -
How do I load programs to an external drive
by kdspurlin / January 25, 2009 7:46 AM PST
In reply to: definitely Yes!


I want to add similar programs so that I can essentially have a mobile desktop when i travel from office to office. what has been your experience with intensive programs like Autocad 2004, Adobe Photoshop, Microstation XM running via an external hard drive? what is the process for loading these types of programs? Is there a need to load an OS as well?

Collapse -
RE: Could I put programs on external hard drives?
by dangre / January 29, 2009 9:01 AM PST

Would it work better to create a virtual machine on the external hard drive (with a program such as Microsoft's Virtual PC) and install and run your programs through the VM?

Collapse -
yes you can just be careful
by eonward / February 22, 2013 6:04 AM PST

@dangre, that is probably the best answer I have seen to this post. Put all your programs that you can't fit on a virtual drive, no problem, then to take it a step further you can put the virtual machine on the external drive. (Unless you can access your virtual machine on any computer with internet.)
Yes you can put programs on External Hard Drives but you have to carefully put the program on there and some folders go certain places whether its a internal or external but this saves space. Sometimes you may have a program starting a file, it may say it can't find a certain folder, file or the program. Be sure when downloading or installing programs to change the folder given.

Collapse -
its easer then that
by Alexander myi / August 24, 2015 7:52 PM PDT

you dont need all that simply merge the drives but for all of you out thair asking about games if you have steam tell it to downlode on the flash drive it will id the flash drive as its hardrive and you can move all your games from computer to computer but you need to log in ever time you move it because that steam.

Popular Forums
Computer Help 49,613 discussions
Computer Newbies 10,349 discussions
Laptops 19,436 discussions
Security 30,426 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 20,308 discussions
Windows 10 360 discussions
Phones 15,802 discussions
Windows 7 7,351 discussions
Networking & Wireless 14,641 discussions

Smart Home Help

Light bulbs you shouldn't buy

There are plenty of dimmable LED light bulbs, but make sure you don't buy the ones that flicker when you dial them down.