Question how to move an installed program to an external hard drive?

lvt

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Apr 19, 2021
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how can I do that?
When you install a program, the installer usually will ask you where to install, at this stage you can select the destination drive you want.

If the program is already installed, you can try to copy-paste it to the new location, most of programs will work, but some won't.
 

ex_bubblehead

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.....If the program is already installed, you can try to copy-paste it to the new location, most of programs will work, but some won't.....
No, most will NOT work. With extremely few exceptions there are anywhere from a handful to many thousands of registry entries that must be changed if the program's location is changed. This is not something you do manually or happens automatically. Uninstall/Reinstall is the only way to do it.
 
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lvt

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No, most will NOT work. With extremely few exceptions there are anywhere from a handful to many thousands of registry entries that must be changed if the program's location is changed. This is not something you do manually or happens automatically. Uninstall/Reinstall is the only way to do it.
OP didn't say what program, so why should we conclude that it won't work?
 

yyoussef101

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May 23, 2020
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i'm fine with uninstalling and then installing it again but I don't want to download the program again, will I be able to still install it again without downloading the program?
 

lvt

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i'm fine with uninstalling and then installing it again but I don't want to download the program again, will I be able to still install it again without downloading the program?
Only if you have the complete offline installation of that program.

Many program just let you download the installer, so the real installation requires an Internet access and it will always be the latest version.
 

InvalidError

Titan
Moderator
If the program in question is a Steam or other publisher launcher game, those will often have an in-launcher option to move software to other drives or at least have an option to re-scan for installed software and handle fixing whatever needs fixing.

For most normal software though, you'll need to do a re-install.
 

Sohom

Admirable
Just copying it and trying to run from an external may still rely on and use resources in the original location, which still exists.
yes, it would and if it did run , there may be issues, but i have noticed with some programs like photoshop it still runs if installed on the same system; i may be wrong, but worth the try, but i cant be certain about M office
 

USAFRet

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yes, it would and if it did run , there may be issues, but i have noticed with some programs like photoshop it still runs if installed on the same system; i may be wrong, but worth the try, but i cant be certain about M office
To "move" would indicate moving all of it.
Not just the base folder.
If it still uses resources in other parts that still exist in the original location, that test is pretty useless.

In any case...a uninstall/reinstall could have been long completed in the 2 hours since the question was originally asked.
 
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Sohom

Admirable
To "move" would indicate moving all of it.
Not just the base folder.
If it still uses resources in other parts that still exist in the original location, that test is pretty useless.

In any case...a uninstall/reinstall could have been long completed in the 2 hours since the question was originally asked.
every word u say is true and logical, but as OP asked specifically and not ignoring his/her possibilities, i gave that answer, a reinstall would be the most logical, but sometimes one may have a restricted data and the software maybe a huge download , so thats the reason he/ she may be wondering;
 

ex_bubblehead

Champion
Moderator
copy the folder to an external drive from where its been installed, dont cut and paste... then run it, most probably it will run , worst case if it doesnt delete it...
Photoshop and Office most definitely cannot be moved in that manner. No how, no way. Uninstall/Reinstall is the only way. For Photoshop you will first have to release the license before the uninstall. And, as there hasn't been a standalone version of Photoshop in several years it's going to entail a very sizable download during installation.
 
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If you're trying to have the program run on multiple computers, it won't work. If you simply want to regain some space on the local machine then you can make it work using symbolic links:
  • Move the folders to the external drive
  • Open a command prompt as an administrator
  • Type in mklink /J [where the folder was] [where the folder is]
    • So if you moved C:\Program Files\Photoshop to D:\Apps\Photoshop, you would type mklink /J "C:\Program Files\Photoshop" D:\Apps\Photoshop
    • If there are any spaces in the path name, you have to surround it with quotes.
The caveat is you have to ensure the external drive has the same drive letter whenever you want to run the app. If the app launches something on startup (which might be a thing with Office if there's a background service or something), then it's imperative to keep the external drive hooked up.
 

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