Can you install a program onto an external hard drive?

A reader wants to know if a game or application would will work if installed onto an external drive.

kckrug1994 asked the Answer Line Forum if a game or application would will work if installed onto an external drive.

It would probably work in most cases, but expect problems. Obviously the application won't be there when the drive isn't plugged in. With some programs, that could give you grief even if you don't intend to run the program. Also, USB is slower than EISA and SATA, so the program won't perform as well as it should.

But why do you want to put a program on an external drive?

If it's because you're running out of space, buy a new internal hard drive, instead. They're cheaper than the external ones, and faster. And after the initial hassles of installing them, they're much less trouble.

If you want to easily run that program on multiple computers, use a portable program designed for that purpose. And strictly speaking, these don't need to be installed, just copied. Wikipedia has a list of portable software, although I don't know how up-to-date it is.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags storage

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lincoln Spector

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?