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Using an external hard drive for storage space and programs

  1. Jan 8, 2012 #1
    I have a laptop and I'm running Windows 7.
    I recently downloaded AutoCAD and some other CAD software and I needed extra storage space on my laptop, so I bought an external hard drive.
    I was wondering if there was any way I could reinstall any programs onto the external HD to clear up some space in my internal HD.
    If not, I can always just use my external HD as a backup, which I was planning to do anyway.
    (The external HD I bought is 1 TB, just throwing that out there.)

    Thanks!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 8, 2012 #2

    jedishrfu

    Staff: Mentor

    You'd have to use the installer for the product you want to move. On windows besides just copying files to various places, the registry database is updated with key value pairs indicating things are stored, what things can be imbedded in a ms word doc...

    So just copying stuff over may not work as the registry keys won't be updated.
     
  4. Jan 8, 2012 #3
    So, could I use the installers that came with the programs (if they're still on my computer) to reinstall it to E: (my external HD)? And after that, could I run that on my computer instead of running it from my internal HD?
     
  5. Jan 8, 2012 #4

    jedishrfu

    Staff: Mentor

    Yes I think so why not try it on a simple program first? I personally don't install things that way but there's no reason for it not to work unless the product is enforcing some rule like that to fight piracy.
     
  6. Jan 8, 2012 #5

    phinds

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    You must have an unusually small hard drive on your laptop if it is getting filled up with nothing but applications. Usually what fills up disks is DATA, not applications, so data is the thing to put on external drives.
     
  7. Jan 8, 2012 #6
    jedishrfu: Thanks for all the help!

    phinds: What do you mean by data? (Pictures, music, videos, etc.?) Because if that's the case, could I just move all of my media to the external HD, delete them off of my computer, and run my apps from the internal HD?
     
  8. Jan 8, 2012 #7

    jedishrfu

    Staff: Mentor

    My wife has her disk filled with 45 gigs of photos she taken over several years and doesn't want to remove them. Phinds is correct if you've loaded your drive with music, videos or photos that you no longer access regularly you can back them to an ext drive and delete them from them from the laptop drive to free up space.

    Also if you have iTunes installed and you imported your music into it you may duplicate storage. I found that on my computer I had 5gb of music in iTunes and the same songs stored in another directory. If you've downloaded videos via iTunes they'd be stored there too.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2012
  9. Jan 8, 2012 #8

    phinds

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    That is exactly what I would do (and in fact IS what I do although I DO keep frequently-used data on the local hard drive)
     
  10. Jan 8, 2012 #9

    AlephZero

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    It depends a bit what you call "applications" and "data". For example in computer music generation, a single sample library (which would probably be thought of as an application by the person who bought it) might contain 100 Gb or more of data, plus a very much smaller amount of executable code.

    And you need all that data on the fastest drive available, not on an external drive running through a USB hub.
     
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