Can I run programs off of an external hard drive?
February 16, 2008 7:54 PM   Subscribe

Can I run Microsoft Office (2003) off of an external hard drive?

I have a legitimate copy with a license and all that. What I really need is to run Publisher at work. You see, my work computer has Office 2003, but not Publisher, and they will not install for me (but that is another story). Anyway, would I be able to put my copy of Office 2003 on my external hard drive and be able to access Publisher from another computer?

If so, how?
posted by waywardgirl to Technology (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I believe you can. Just when you go to install it, select the thumb drive letter instead of the C: or D: drives.
posted by uncballzer at 8:33 PM on February 16, 2008

Response by poster: I tried that, but when i go to open the program on the computer without Publisher, nothing happens. The icon is there, I double-click it and no response.

Has anyone ever done this successfully?
posted by waywardgirl at 8:35 PM on February 16, 2008

You would have to use some sort of virtualization software.
posted by B(oYo)BIES at 8:52 PM on February 16, 2008

I know little to nothing about computers, but when I tried this type of thing (and it didn't work) I was told that external hard drives are just storage devices. No processor=not able to run anything.
posted by dogmom at 8:54 PM on February 16, 2008

Response by poster: Geez! For the $4995 price of that Thinstall, I may as well just buy a new computer and replace the one at work. And forget Publisher! I would install CS3!
posted by waywardgirl at 8:55 PM on February 16, 2008

No, you can't move an installation from one computer to another like that. You can install it to the external drive on one computer and run it from there, but not moving it to another computer.

This may not be what you're looking for, but you could try an alternative to Publisher on the other computer.
posted by shinynewnick at 9:04 PM on February 16, 2008

Here is another alternative option, PagePlus, no personal experience with it but it is free.
posted by shinynewnick at 9:07 PM on February 16, 2008

Best answer: LOL.. Here is a more pocket friendly virtualization suite.
posted by B(oYo)BIES at 9:12 PM on February 16, 2008 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks B(oYo)BIES. I actually just found that based on your advice! :)
posted by waywardgirl at 9:14 PM on February 16, 2008

The simple thing to do is to install onto the external drive, but run the installation twice: once at home, once at work. Make sure it's installed into exactly the same directory each time.

I suspect that should do it.
posted by shivohum at 10:59 PM on February 16, 2008

If you're not allowed to run even your own installation program on the computer, then another possibility is to access Publisher via the Remote Desktop application built into XP, which would allow you to run programs off your home computer (look it up in Start --> Help).
posted by shivohum at 11:05 PM on February 16, 2008

Be aware that installing Publisher on two different computers is breaching the terms of your single Office 2003 licence, even if you only have the one copy of the actual binaries on your external hard drive and can therefore only be using it on one of those computers at once. Read the EULA terms: the licence gives you the right to install Office 2003 on one computer.

There are technical measures built into Office 2003 that partially enforce this, by the way. It needs to be activated after installation, and this can only be done on three different computers before you need to start calling Microsoft to make it work each time.

Crap like this is what's made me a rabid open-source supporter.
posted by flabdablet at 3:29 AM on February 17, 2008

Many programs, including Publisher, are not self-contained within the installation folder, but include installation of various keys into the Registry and the installation of a number of DLLs in various places. Thus the executable and its supporting files could not simply be moved to another location, such as an external drive, and work on a computer that did not have the necessary Registry keys and DLLs.
posted by yclipse at 4:03 AM on February 17, 2008

Response by poster: Flabdablet - I really do have a legitimate extra license for it. I had Office 2003 and upgraded to 2007. But, when I bought 2007, I did not get the upgrade version, I bought the full suite because I got a discount through the school I was working at. Anyway, so there I was with two copies of Office and two licenses.

But if anyone is curious, the solution offered above by B(oYo)BIES of installing Mojopac on the external drive worked just fine. It took about five minutes and it is very user-friendly.
posted by waywardgirl at 8:28 AM on February 17, 2008

« Older Whence comes sediment-free after-dinner coffee?   |   Identify my Dad's Vintage Typewriter Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.