How to Install Programs From an External Hard Drive

by G.K. Bayne

One of the advantages of an external hard drive is that program installation files can be downloaded or copied to the drive from any computer and then installed on the computer of your choice by simply plugging the drive into the designated port. Although the program will not install automatically like when you put a disk in the CD or DVD drive, it is still a simple task to install from an external hard drive.

Step 1

Plug the external hard drive into the computer you wish to install the program on.

Step 2

Click on "My Computer" on your desktop.

Step 3

Double click on the external hard drive icon.

Step 4

Navigate to the folder where the program installation files are located.

Step 5

Double-click on the programs setup or execution (.exe) file to begin installing the program. Most programs will automatically install to your main hard drive on your system, which is usually your "C" drive.

Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the install process.


  • Because of registry entries and the use of shared files, it is almost impossible to copy an installed program folder from one computer to an external hard drive and install it on another computer.
  • An external hard drive is extremely useful for storing program installation files in case your main hard drive crashes and you need to reinstall your favorite programs.
  • Some installation disks can be copied to an external hard drive to install the program on another machine. This can be useful if the second machine does not have a CD or DVD drive in the system.
  • When placing program installation files on an external hard drive, be sure and give the folder a name that is easily recognized so that the program will be simple to locate.

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