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Gaming off an external drive can be very slow, or not work at all. I give my recommendation on where to install the program.

I have a computer running Windows 7, 32-bit, and a 500 GB external drive. I want to install games on my external hard drive since it has more storage and to be able to play them, obviously, on my Windows 7 machine. I haven't had a problem doing this until last night when I have a game like Grand Theft Auto IV that requires that I mount (I use Demon Tools) four different disks to be able to install and play the game. I changed the directory to reflect where my hard drive is, G for example, but I could not get the game to run at all. It gave me different errors about not being able to find this file or that file. I can install the game fine on my Windows 7 machine, so I know the files are correct. It has to be something that I'm not doing correctly and that's why I'm reaching out to you for help.

In this excerpt from Answercast #33, I look at a game that refuses to run off an external drive. Maybe it's better that you don't try that.

Games on an external drive

The only thing that I can think of that you're not doing correctly is trying to install this program on an external drive.

I say that because in general, I really recommend against doing that.

Some games work

Now, clearly it's been working for you apparently on some other games and that's fine.

In fact, I'm kind of surprised that the performance is acceptable to you because external drives are typically, significantly slower than internal ones, particularly for gaming. But of course, it depends a lot on the kind of game that you're running.

Some games won't work

For something like Grand Theft Auto, the system requirements (I think) are fairly high.

My assumption is, my guess is, that Grand Theft Auto has built into it some assumptions about where things are getting installed. So when you try to install it somewhere where it really doesn't expect to be installed, it simply gets confused.

That may not be the case. It may be that there's something else going on here. But, from what you've described and what I recommend in general: I would actually strongly suggest against installing that program on an external drive and install it on the C drive.

Install it on your system drive natively where it should run, well, as you've seen... where it does run just fine.

Article C5564 - July 9, 2012 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

July 11, 2012 1:26 AM

Maybe there's internal references in the games code that points to C: as the disk where the files are. When it can't find what it needs up pops an error code. I bet a jelly doughnut and a cup of coffee that's what happens.

October 10, 2012 12:43 PM

every game that i install on my external hard drive crashes or dosent work at alll???? some setups i did wrong or what totally out of ideas plz help

October 10, 2012 2:38 PM

Like Leo says in the article... it's just ain't gonna work! You'll probably have to install on the main drive.

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