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Installing Programs on an External Hard Drive


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31-Oct-2005, 10:33 PM #1
Lightbulb Installing Programs on an External Hard Drive
Can you install a program (Word, Photoshop, etc) on an external hard drive at one computer, take the hard drive, plug it into anther computer, and use the program? (this does not include "portable" programs (portable Firefox)
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31-Oct-2005, 11:08 PM #2
No, not without installing an OS on the external hard drive first, and then booting from that drive. Standalone .exe's are ok, and, as you mentioned, portable progs. Most programs write information to the registry (at the least) that is needed for it to run - which of course is on the machine that you originally installed it on.
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01-Nov-2005, 07:40 AM #3
I half disagree.
You can install programs on any drive you like, but the registry used will be on the system you booted from. You could then install it again (licence permitting) to the same drive from another system. You would end up with one set of the programs that could POSSIBLY be ok to run from either.
I do this a lot on my machine where I have 2K, XP, and 2003 all multibooted. I install as much as I can on a common partition to be used from any of them. It saves space.
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01-Nov-2005, 09:50 AM #4
Of course, you're just asking for problems trying to keep them perfectly in sync. Updating them with a service patch is just one issue that will throw the different registries out of sync, as well as configuration changes made to one copy.

As far as saving space, I just ordered a 300gig Maxtor for $89 after rebate, so space is pretty cheap nowadays!
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01-Nov-2005, 09:53 AM #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveBurnett
I half disagree.
You can install programs on any drive you like, but the registry used will be on the system you booted from. You could then install it again (licence permitting) to the same drive from another system. You would end up with one set of the programs that could POSSIBLY be ok to run from either.
I do this a lot on my machine where I have 2K, XP, and 2003 all multibooted. I install as much as I can on a common partition to be used from any of them. It saves space.
You would also have to reinstall the program on one computer after uninstalling it from another.
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01-Nov-2005, 03:13 PM #6
Yes I would if I did, or restore it from backup.
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01-Nov-2005, 08:42 PM #7
Is there a program that will remove all registry entries that have been put in by a program that you have on a list? (ask if that was confusing)
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02-Nov-2005, 05:46 AM #8
There are many programs that take a snapshot of the registry just before an application is installed and another just after. You can then 'roll back' the registry.
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02-Nov-2005, 09:01 AM #9
Do you know of a program by name that would do that?

What would I search for to find one?
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02-Nov-2005, 09:05 AM #10
Search for uninstaller
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02-Nov-2005, 09:14 AM #11
But wouldn't an uninstaller uninstall the program from the external hard drive?

I only want to remove the registry files that were put there by the program.
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02-Nov-2005, 09:51 AM #12
Once again, I advise you to forget this scheme. Disks are dirt cheap, saving a couple of gigabytes isn't worth all the pitfalls of trying to do this.
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02-Nov-2005, 07:20 PM #13
I will try it with something small. If it doesn't work, I will abandon the idea.

Does anyone know where you can download U3 (U3 is a program that has just come out for USB thumbdrives; it is a Windows interface that uses special programs; for more information, Google it or look at it on the Kingston thumbdrives)
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02-Nov-2005, 07:22 PM #14
You shouldn't need to download U3, should be included with your thumb drive.
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02-Nov-2005, 07:39 PM #15
I don't have a thumb drive with it. I want to put it on my external hard drive.
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