How to Install Programs on External Hard Drive on Windows 10?

How to install programs on external hard drive? You may have this idea when the internal hard drive space is insufficient. This article will show you exactly what to do.


By Dervish / Updated on May 12, 2023

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Can you run apps from external hard drive?


I would like to know how to install programs/games to my external hard drive and run from it since I have a limited size hard drive on my laptop (run Win 10). And I don’t want to take my computer anytime, anywhere, that would be too much trouble. Does anyone know how to do it? Thanks in advance!

- Question from tom’s guide

Why install programs on external hard drive on Windows 10?

Because the current program needs to take up more and more drive space and more programs are downloaded, it is only natural that the usable storage space of the hard drive is getting smaller and smaller. When you want to download a new program, you will be prompted that the disk space is insufficient. However, the previously downloaded program cannot be deleted for the user because it may save important data. At this time, we can use the method of installing the program to the external hard drive.

The benefits of install programs on external hard drive are as follows:
☞ Keep the data and free up the space of the internal hard drive.
☞ External hard drive is easy to carry. You only need to connect it to a new PC, and the user can run it directly on the computer.
☞ Generally speaking, in order to get a better gaming experience, some game users often transfer games such as Steam/Origin to SSD.

How to install programs on external hard drive step by step?

Here, I will use two parts to introduce you how to move installed programs and new programs to an external hard drive on Windows 10.


Before you start, you need to connect the external hard drive to your computer. Whether you use a SATA to USB cable or insert the external hard drive into the hard drive slot, please make sure that the computer can detect it.

Part 1. Move installed programs to external hard drive via App Mover

AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional is an excellent third-party utility to move installed programs to external hard drive, which is suitable for Windows 10/8/7/Vista/XP users.

The reason why I recommend it is that it’s easy to use and the whole process of moving the application to the external hard drive is very clear.

● It can move multiple/all programs without data loss at the same time to avoid repeated operations, and the moved program can be run directly on the external hard drive.
● Meanwhile, it also supports restoring the moved program to the original location.
● More importantly, even hard drives with different file systems can be successfully transferred.

What’s more, Allocate Free Space from one partition to another and Merge Partition can also help you solve the problem of insufficient hard drive space. Please don’t hesitate, download the demo version to see how to install the program on external hard drive.

Free Download Win 10/8.1/8/7/XP
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 Step 1. Install and launch PA Professional, select the “App Mover” under "Free Up".

Click App Mover

Step 2. In this window, select the disk where the program is located, and then click Next. You can also click Manage/Restore Apps to restore the moved programs.

Step 3. Check the applications you want to move, you can select single or multiple selections. Then select the external hard drive where you want to move to, and click Move.

Step 4. Read the prompts carefully, click OK and Move.

Step 5. Wait a moment, the process of move programs is complete.

Part 2. Install new program on external hard drive

In Windows 10, we can change where new content is saved in Settings. You can follow the steps below:

Step 1. Press “Windows + I” in the desktop. Click system and choose Storage.

Step 2. Select “More storage settings” > “Where new content is saved in Settings”.

Step 3. You can select different types of new file storage paths in this window.

In order for the programs on the external hard drive to run normally, you must ensure that the external hard drive is properly connected to the computer when you use it.

Final words

After reading this article, I believe you have a clearer understanding of “how to install programs to external hard drive”. This post demonstrates how to transfer the installed program to the external hard drive and how to save the new program to the external hard drive. You can choose one according to your needs. By the way, AOMEI partition Assistant is one of the best disk management software on the market, which can help you manage hard drives flexibly. If you want to run in Windows Server, please try Server edition.

Dervish · Staff Editor
Dervish is an English editor of AOMEI Technology; He is delicated to offering users easy and effecitve solutions for issuses related to disks and partitoins. In his spare time, he enjoy wathcning films, playing footable, traveling and so on.