Can You Play Games Off An External Hard Drive? (HDD Or SSD)

Can You Play Games Off An External Hard Drive? (HDD Or SSD)

Playing games on your personal computer hasn’t been easier with the recent development in technology, leading to more improved technological experiences. Now, users can play high-definition, user-interactive games on their phones, and personal computers just like they would on a gaming console, thereby giving users the utmost gaming experience on their devices just like they’d enjoy playing these games on their consoles. One major issue that users face with playing games on their personal computers is the space, making them wonder if they can play games on their external hard drive instead of installing them on their PC. 

If you’ve been wondering if you can play games on your external hard drive (HDD or SSD), on your PC, you definitely can. To do this, you just need to make sure that your computer is able to find and access the game stored on the hard drive by indicating where the game is saved upon installation.

When you install the game, you can select where it is saved so your computer can find it. In this article, I’ll explain if you can play games on your hard drive (HDD) or (SSD), and the steps to help you play games on your computer with your hard drive. 

Can You Play Games Off An External Hard Drive?

Can You Play Games Off An External Hard Drive? (HDD Or SSD)

Yes, you can play games off your external hard drive on your personal computer. To do this, your computer needs to be able to find the game on the hard drive it’s stored on. When you’re installing the game on your computer, you will need to select where the game will be saved and also make sure that your computer can access the file path easily. 

When the game is installed on your computer, and it cannot access the file path on your hard drive, you won’t be able to launch the game on your computer until you set the file directory of the game’s settings to the right one. Once it’s set, your computer will be able to access the game, run it, and then you’ll be able to play the game as you should. 

If you’re a gamer, you need to use a different kind of external hard drive. You cannot use the regular hard drive because the games take up a lot of space and run time on the hard drive. Hence, to be able to play games on your external hard drive, you’ll need to be able to use the Solid State Drive (SSD) instead of the hard disc drive (HDD). 

To be able to install a game on an external drive, you need to have enough space for the game. This is not new to most gamers though, but in case you’re not aware, you may need up to 100GB in size to store the game on your hard drive and successfully install it on your computer. Games can eat up hard drive space faster than you may think so your hard drive may not be up to the task. 

However, just make sure that you have enough space on your external hard drive and you’ll be okay. There are types of drives and connections that stand out from the majority of hard drives in the market. Most external drives are connected to the computer via the USB port but this USB comes at very different speeds. 

The older USB version, USB (2.0) is universal but isn’t exactly the fastest USB hence using this USB will not be efficient to play high-end games to run well. However, if you use the USB 3.0 you will be able to play high-end games as this is one of the fastest USBs you can use to connect your hard drive to your computer. You can also go further and use the USB-C which is even better and faster and can play even more demanding games without any issues. 

If you don’t want to use hard drives but still want to use a drive, you can use flash drives, SD or micro SD cards, and any other storage media you can use. The major requirement is to ensure that the drive or the storage media has enough space to save the game file. 

How To Play Games From An External Hard Drive (HDD or SSD)

Can You Play Games Off An External Hard Drive? (HDD Or SSD)

There are so many ways you can install a game on an external drive. In this article, I’ll focus on the easiest method which is to use the game installer to install it on any drive of your choice. However, the prior requirement is to make sure that your hard drive has enough space to save the game. The following are the steps to play games from your external hard drive: 

Step 1: Connect The External Hard Drive

The first step to achieving your goal of playing games from your hard drive is to make sure that the external hard drive is connected to your computer. You also need to make sure that the computer can read and access the hard drive upon connecting the external hard drive to your computer. The most convenient way to confirm this is to go to your computer’s file explorer then navigate to your external hard drive and make sure you can open the folder and access the files on the hard drive. 

Step 2: Open Your Game Installer

There are a lot of game installers you can access on the internet, however, in this article, I’ll be using Steam for this illustration. If you’re using a different game installer, you can look up the steps to launch a game via the installer on the installer’s website. 

Log in to Steam and browse your library to choose the game you want to download to your external hard drive. While going through the installation process for the game, you’ll be prompted to select the folder to which you want the installation to be directed. 

A drop-down menu will be attached to the installation window prompting you to choose the folder you want to install the game. Click on it and select the right folder on your external hard drive. If you can’t find the folder that you want to select, you may need to manually add it. 

In this case, cancel the installation and then bog into your steam settings and select “downloads” under the settings function. Once the window opens, select ‘steam library folders’ and click on the “+” sign to create a folder where you can store the games. To do this, select the external hard drive, then, select the folder of your choice or create a new folder right there in the menu. 

Now go on to try the installation again and choose the folder you opened. The game installer will complete the process by installing the game in the selected folder you indicated while installing the game. 

Step 3: Create A Game Shortcut

Can You Play Games Off An External Hard Drive? (HDD Or SSD)

After installing, you can create a game shortcut in your computer’s internal hard drive while the game is stored on your external hard drive so you can launch your game easily. In some cases, this may be complicated depending on the type and version of your computer’s operating system, hence, following this step may not work for you. 

Step 4:  Launch Your Game

Once you’ve followed the above installation processes, you can go on to launch your game while the external hard drive is connected to your computer. Click on the shortcut that you created or, navigate to your external hard drive folder via your computer’s file explorer and click on the game you want to launch on your computer. If you’re using a third-party game launcher, you can open your game by launching the game via the library. 

If you’re not using a third-party game launcher just as indicated above, the installation steps for your game are quite easy. All you have to do is to click on the game’s setup file and begin the installation process just like as said earlier. While going through the installation process, you’ll be welcomed with a window to choose the file path or location that you want the installer to install your game on.

This is where you’ll click on the drop-down button and navigate to your external hard drive’s folder and select the folder. Once this is done and you’re done with the installation, the game will be installed and saved on your external hard drive. Whenever you need to launch it, you’ll need to go to your external hard drive then navigate to the game’s folder and click on the game’s shortcut. 

This way, you can open your game easily. However, you need to make sure that your external hard drive is connected all through the process of you running and playing the game because if the connection is tampered with in the process of running or playing the game, the game might freeze and you’ll need to reconnect your hard drive to your computer and restart the game. You may also lose your progress if the external hard drive is tampered with whenever you’re playing, hence, you need to make sure the connection of your computer to your external hard drive is intact and that nobody will be able to tamper with the connection.

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