Can I Run PC Games Off External Hard Drive? Sure! You Can!

Is the internal storage of your computer too small for your gaming collection? Discover the answer to whether can I run PC games off an external hard drive in this guide.

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In an era where digital gaming dominates, the allure of vast game libraries is undeniable. With blockbuster titles, indie gems, and endless updates, the gaming collections have expanded. Now, it is at the point where storage space on our primary machines is at a premium. As passionate gamers, we're constantly seeking solutions to manage this ever-growing demand for storage without compromising our gaming experiences.

Enter the question that has sparked curiosity among many: "Can I Run PC Games Off an External Hard Drive?" To the delight of gamers around the globe, the answer is a resounding 'Yes!'' In this guide, EaseUS explores the intriguing realm of playing PC games directly from external hard drives.

It will explore the benefits, challenges, and practical steps to enhance gaming freedom and versatility. Moreover, it will answer your questions like "Is it bad to run games off an external hard drive?"

Can I Run PC Games Off an External Hard Drive

Of course! You can! Although there are big differences between internal and external disks, their task is to read and store data. For this reason, you can play your games on an external HDD or SSD, just like other programs. This article introduces a professional tool to help you transfer games to an external hard drive and teaches you to run games off the external storage drive.

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The unequivocal answer is yes; you can indeed run PC games off an external hard drive. This capability has opened up exciting possibilities for gamers around the world. It has also revolutionized how gamers manage and expand their gaming libraries. External hard drives provide a resilient and versatile answer to the continually expanding storage needs of contemporary gaming.

With the ongoing expansion of game sizes and intricacies, internal hard drives frequently struggle to meet the demand for storage space. Nevertheless, by incorporating an external hard drive into your setup, you can completely overcome this constraint. The process of setting up an external hard drive for gaming is remarkably uncomplicated.

If you discover value in this article, please consider sharing it with your fellow gamers. Sharing shows your care, and your friends will appreciate you for enabling them to play PC games from external hard drives.


It doesn't require advanced technical skills or complex configurations. Before you dive into the world of gaming on an external hard drive, here are two crucial warnings to heed:

1. You should carefully choose the external disk you want to use. External hard drives vary in quality, and selecting the appropriate one can significantly impact your gaming enjoyment.
2. Ensure you carefully select the cables for your computer connections. Using the incorrect cable may result in sluggish data transfers or, in the most severe circumstances, connectivity problems.

run pc games off external hard drives

However, what are the pros and cons of playing games off an external hard drive? Now, let's explore the pros and cons to give you a well-rounded view of running PC games from an external hard drive:


🟢A. Extra Capacity Available: One of the primary benefits is the substantial increase in storage space for your games. External hard drives come in various sizes, and you can easily find options with terabytes of storage, ensuring you never have to agonize over which games to uninstall to free up space.

🔴B. A Cost-effective Solution: Expanding your PC's internal storage can be expensive. In contrast, external hard drives offer a cost-effective way to increase your game library without breaking the bank.

🔵C. Mobility: External hard drives are portable, making it convenient to carry your gaming collection wherever you go. Whether you're traveling or visiting a friend's house, your games are always with you.

🟠D. Won't Affect the Performance of Your Computer FPS: Using an external hard drive to run games is unlikely to have a substantial effect on your computer's performance or frame rate. Modern external drives have fast data transfer rates, ensuring a smooth gaming experience.


🟤A. May Take More Time to Load Screens: While the gameplay itself remains smooth, some games may have slightly longer loading times when run from an external hard drive compared to an internal SSD. This is a minor inconvenience for the vast storage you gain.

With a firm grasp of both the benefits and possible drawbacks at your disposal, you can embark on the exploration of running PC games from an external hard drive. The upcoming section will present a robust tool for transferring your games seamlessly between internal and external storage devices.

Guide: Run PC Games Off the External Hard Drive

Are you eager to unlock external hard drives' capabilities for your gaming requirements? Let's delve into the step-by-step procedure. But first, ensure you've transferred games to an external hard drive. This is the essential first step in enjoying the flexibility and convenience that external storage brings to your gaming experience.

For a more efficient approach to moving your PC games to an external hard drive, we strongly advise utilizing EaseUS Todo PCTrans. This robust software provides a convenient "App Migration" feature that streamlines the process of transferring applications, including your games, from your internal drive to your external storage. This means you can effortlessly relocate your games while preserving their functionality.

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With that in hand, below are the steps to transfer your PC games to your external hard drive to elevate your gaming experience:

Step 1. Connect your external hard drive to your computer. Open EaseUS Todo PCTrans and select "App Migration > Start".

select app migration

Step 2. Find and choose the applications (marked as "Yes") that you want to transfer. You can select multiple apps. 

Click the triangle icon and select your external hard drive as the destination to store the apps. 

transfer app yo external hard drive

Step 3. Then, click "Transfer" to move your programs to an external hard drive.

transfer app to external hard drive

The standout feature we'll focus on is "App Migration." This functionality enables you to effortlessly transfer applications, configurations, and data across different drives, guaranteeing the uninterrupted performance of your games when stored on an external hard drive, such as: 

It's a groundbreaking improvement for those seeking to enhance their gaming setup. Don't miss this tool, and install it now.

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To sum it up, the response to the query, "Can I Run PC Games Off External Hard Drive?" It absolutely confirms that it is indeed achievable! Our exploration into the realm of gaming using external hard drives reveals vast potential, demonstrating how this innovation can greatly benefit gamers around the globe. External hard drives provide a pragmatic solution to the ever-increasing need for storage capacity in contemporary gaming.

To make the process of transferring your PC games to an external hard drive even more accessible, we introduced the user-friendly EaseUS Todo PCTrans software with its "App Migration" feature. This tool simplifies the transfer process, ensuring your games remain fully functional on the external drive while preserving your in-game progress and settings.

Further Reading: Play Xbox 360 Games From External Hard Drive

Can I Run PC Games Off External Hard Drive FAQs

We've discussed the fundamental aspects of playing PC games from an external hard drive, but you might still have some lingering inquiries. Here are the commonly asked questions concerning this matter:

1. Will games run worse or slower on an external hard drive?

Playing games from an external hard drive could lead to somewhat extended loading times when compared to using an internal SSD. However, this is generally unlikely to significantly affect your in-game performance or frame rates. This is due to the rapid data transfer speeds offered by modern external drives.

2. Is it bad to run or store games off an external hard drive?

Storing and running games on an external hard drive isn't inherently problematic, provided you select a dependable, high-speed external drive to guarantee a seamless gaming experience. When you prioritize the maintenance and proper care of your external hard drive, it can become a valuable enhancement to your gaming setup.

3. Can I play Steam games from an external hard drive?

Indeed, you have the option to enjoy Steam games directly from an external hard drive. Steam provides the flexibility to select the installation destination for your games, even allowing you to use external drives. Simply select the external hard drive as the installation location when downloading or moving your Steam games. Just ensure the drive is connected when you want to play your Steam games.

About the Author

Updated by Oliver

Oliver is an EaseUS professional writer who dares explore new areas. With a passion for solving tech issues with straightforward guides for common users, Oliver keeps honing his writing craft by developing in-depth solutions for disk and partition management, computer boot-up issues, file transfer, etc.

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Written by Sherly

Sherly joined EaseUS in 2022 and she has always loved writing articles and enjoys the fun they bring. She receives professional training here, focusing on product performance and other relative knowledge. She has written over 200 articles to help people overcome computing issues.

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Can I Run PC Games Off External Hard Drive? Sure! You Can!

Try smart Windows 11 data transfer tool to move all data in 1 click.

EaseUS Todo PCTrans

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Support Windows 11/10/8/7