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Moving application to external hard drive

Posted on 2007-12-01
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Last Modified: 2013-11-14
I would like to move some of the application I installed on my hard disk to an external hard drive, without having to install them again. I DON'T need to run those application from whatever pc just plugging the hard drive in. I just need to be able to free some of my hard disk space by moving some of my 6GB of applications from C: to the external hard drive. I should be able to run those applications from my pc just plugging the external hard drive back.

I know of "Liberta" and "portableapps.com". But in those sites there is no description of how to reach my specific goal. I need a clear description of how to do what I need or a free application that will do that for me.

Thanks.
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Question by:s_federici
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 20388826
There's nothing free other than simply copying over folders (which will work for some applications). However because file locations are often linked in the registry and common file components are usually kept on the C: drive this is an unreliable method.

Commercially the best route would be to use Laplink (http://www.laplink.com/pcmover/) but this will take a long time to transfer.

You also need to be careful with plugging the USB drive in as Windows may not necessarily allocate a fixed drive letter to the portable drive, if this happens then the new "migrated" settings in your registry won't work anyway.
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by:nobus
ID: 20390826
as said above - forget it !
try freeing space on your drive in another way, by deleting data, or make a backup, or move the data to the external drive.  You can also uninstall programs to free up space
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by:lnkevin
ID: 20405967
Moving application to external drive will not work most of the time. Instead, you want to upgrade your hard drive. Check Acronis True Image software to see the option of imaging your OS from current hard drive to the new one without reinstall OS and application.
http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/products/trueimage/

K
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by:s_federici
ID: 20406209
Do you mean that by using Acronis True Image I can create a new hard drive with the image of my current hard drive and I can then run applications from that new hard drive when I plug it in as an external hard drive (in an external box)?
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 20406291
No all Acronis will do is produce an identical image of your C: drive.  Unless you boot from the new image you won't be able to run the apps on there because it contains identical registry settings to your current ones.
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by:s_federici
ID: 20406453
Then this won't be of help. I need to free some of my disk space by removing a lot of applications that I don't use very often and then be able to run those applications from the external drive by keeping everything else that is stored on my internal hard drive. Moreover, unfortunately, I have never been able to boot from an external hard drive (thinkpad r51)
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by:lnkevin
ID: 20406626
You need to stop thinking about running apps on external drive. Acronis copy your existing image of entire C: and put it on the newer drive with lots more of disk space so why do you still want to run the application on the external drive? Upgrade current C: from 6GB to 20 or 30GB you then have a lot of room for your application. Regardless what you have clean in your current C:, you will never go beyond 6GB of disk space. Make sense now?

K
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by:s_federici
ID: 20406854
I need to be able to bring with me all my data on the internal hard drive of my portable pc, without having to bring also the external hard drive. But I want also to be able to run some of the 6 GB of installed applications from the external hard drive when I need them. In this case I would like to plug the external hard drive in and then run the applications. As I said, my thinkpad r51 is unable to boot from an external hard drive and it cannot host an hard disk bigger that the one actually installed (60GB), so I cannot use a bigger hard disk if I have to install it on my portable pc.
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 20407048
Then you need to reinstall the applications on the portable hard drive.  We are just going around in circles.
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by:s_federici
ID: 20407136
That is exactly what I want to avoid as I installed those application in the last three years and I lost track of where the installers are.
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by:lnkevin
ID: 20410929
If there is no workaround on external, do you have room to expand your C: from 6GB to 18GB? 18GB of C: is pretty much decent for nowadays application. Your 6GB of C: is not enough eventually.
Anyway, if you cannot install apps on ext drive, you need to clean up and expand your current C:
- Clean up all unused logs file
- Set pagefile to other partition than C:
- Use diskpart to extend the C: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/325590
- or you can use third party software to extend it: Acronis Disk director, partition magic...

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by:s_federici
ID: 20411359
I'm sorry, but I don't have any space to expand my C partition. I have just one partition and now I have to deal with only 500MB of free disk space. And this is not enough to run my applications. I have to keep cleaning the temporary files and so on.
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by:lnkevin
ID: 20412278
......my thinkpad r51 is unable to boot from an external hard drive and it cannot host an hard disk bigger that the one actually installed (60GB).....
I am confused. You only have 6GB of C: so where is the rest of space?

K
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by:s_federici
ID: 20412467
I have 6GB of installed applications on C. C: is the only 60GB partiotion on my thinkpad.

I understand that moving an applcation is difficult (maybe impossible if path information is stored in some crypted file), but I know that there are tools that "spy" on which registry keys are used by the application. But I don't know exactly which tools could be used to do that. Maybe laplink is one of those tools (maybe it is more complex than this). Does anyone know of opensource/free ways to achieve the same goal?
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by:lnkevin
ID: 20412768
Let me come from different approach. You have 60GB of HD and only 6GB is application. You have 54GB including windows and data. You may have 50GB of data in your partition. Why don't you move data to ext drive. It's much easier and feasible. To learn more about your disk usage, you should download install and analyze your current C:
http://www.jam-software.com/freeware/index.shtml

K
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by:s_federici
ID: 20413144
Yes, I know. But I explained above that "I need to be able to bring with me all my data on the internal hard drive of my portable pc, without having to bring also the external hard drive."
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 21492898
Re: Request for auto-delete:

This question has already been correctly answered - the correct answer is, "You can't do that".

[http:Q_22995276.html#a20388826]
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by:s_federici
ID: 21493198
Sorry, but I'm pretty sure this is wrong. There are monitor tools that are able to look at the installation process so that registry modifications and other needs (dll, etc)  of the application are recorded. Then you can move the installation to the external drive. But the process is complex, and I don't know which tools are more suitable to do it. This is what I'm asking.
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 21493535
But the "Spy tools" only work if  you can take an image of the system before installation, then install, then use the tools to record what has changed.

They don't retrospectively analyze your system to see what happened during the installation process.

As you have lost the installers and did not record the system settings prior to installing it doesn't really matter what tools we suggest; you cannot copy the programs to another drive and expect them to function correctly because there is no record of where each component should go and which registry pointers need to be set.

The tools we are talking about also make the assumption that the relationship between the installed program location and the active partition remains the same (so if you install to C: and C: is the active partition then the references that the "Spy tools" record will only hold true if you again install the program to the active partition.  In order for you to record the installation and transfer it to a different relationship - eg active partion C: software installed to D: - You need to emulate that arrangement when recording the installation changes.  That effectively means you may as well reinstall the software on your external drive and then you do not need any software to transfer the files.

Again, given the information you have made available to us there is no way to move the program file components in the way you want.  Your best solution is to accept that the software will occupy the active partition and move your data to maintain some free space.

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by:garycase
ID: 21494842
s_federici,

Clearly the basic question was answered to some degree:  you can't easily do what you've suggested.   There are ways to achieve it; but since your plan is to not always have the external drive connected, it's simply not a good idea.

The best way to achieve what you asked here is to simply increase your hard drive's capacity.   You said "... it cannot host an hard disk bigger that the one actually installed (60GB) ..." ==> but that is NOT correct.   It uses a standard 2.5", 9.5mm high ATA drive, so you can easily install any drive up to 120GB  (and possibly even larger, but you may have a 48-bit LBA issue beyond 120GB).   You could simply double your hard drive capacity to 120GB ... which would clearly free up PLENTY of additional space ... by replacing your internal drive with this one:  http://www.misco.co.uk/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=280632&CatId=0

... and you can easily transfer the entire current drive's contents to the new drive by simply imaging the old drive; then restoring the image to the new drive (after swapping the drives in the laptop).    You would, of course, need an external drive to hold the image.   This can also be done without an extra drive involved if you get a PATA-USB adapter for the new drive.


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by:s_federici
ID: 21683322
garycase, I would be much interested in knowing what you mean when you say that "There are ways to achieve it". I appreciate your clear explanation on how to increase my internal drive, thaks a lot.
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by:nobus
ID: 21683423
there are softwares, climing to move applications
you can do it by hand, by copying the involved files, , and look up the involved registry keys to move those as well
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by:s_federici
ID: 21700575
> there are softwares, climing to move applications

which software?

> you can do it by hand, by copying the involved files, , and look up the involved registry keys to move those as well

How do I identify the involved files? How can I look up at the involved registry keys? Are there suitable applications? Should I write some script? Please, give details or references
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nobus earned 500 total points
ID: 21700852
>>  which software?   <<<http://www.laplink.com/pcmover/
  >>  How do I identify the involved files? How can I look up at the involved registry keys? Are there suitable applications? Should I write some script? Please, give details or references

to all the above : by hand ! you have to look for the name of the program, or driverthen look up on your disk for those names, then search the registry for it.  no scripts, since all programs are different
to my knowledge, there is no software that does it or you use the above mentioned  pcmover .

here maybe a better one :  
http://www.snapfiles.com/get/applicationmover.html
http://www.spearit.com/compare.html#MigOptions
http://www.softplatz.com/software/move-applications/
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by:garycase
ID: 21706769
pcmover (noted by nobus above) is an excellent application for moving program files to another drive (or computer).   But I'd still suggest you simply get a larger hard drive.
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Author Comment

by:s_federici
ID: 21707839
I already used pcmover but, as far as I know, it can only help moving applications to another internal drive (not external). Did I interpreted it the wrong way?
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by:s_federici
ID: 21707848
> here maybe a better one :  http://www.snapfiles.com/get/applicationmover.html http://www.spearit.com/compare.html#MigOptions http://www.softplatz.com/software/move-applications/
 
I guess it will take me some time to go through all of them. Any suggestion in the meantime is welcome
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Author Comment

by:s_federici
ID: 22176135
http://www.snapfiles.com/get/applicationmover.html seems a good suggestion. Thanks.
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by:nobus
ID: 22178383
you're welcome !
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