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One perk of Windows 10 is the easy ability to save apps and media to an external hard drive or SD card. If you’re running short of space on your main drive, you can shift apps and media to an external storage device and free up some much needed space.

Prepare Your External Drive

Before you start installing apps on your external drive, you’re going to want to make sure it’s formatted correctly.

Right-click the drive in File Explorer and click Properties. If the file system is NTFS, you’re good to go. If it’s not, you’re going to need to format the drive:

  • Right-click the drive in File Explorer and click Format.
  • Under file system, select NTFS from the drop-down menu and click Start.
  • A dialog box will pop up letting you know when the formatting is complete.

Change the Location of Apps and Media

Once you’re drive is ready, you can change the location where apps are installed and where media files are stored:

  • Open the Settings app.
  • Go to System > Storage > Save locations.
  • Under New apps will save to, select your external drive from the drop down menu and click Apply. Do the same for each media file type.

Now when you go to install a new app through the Windows Store, it will be installed on that drive. If you download an app from elsewhere that has it’s own setup process to navigate through, you’re going to have to manually select your external drive.

If the drive is disconnected, the installed apps will be inaccessible, and any new apps you install will default to your computer’s hard drive.

Move Existing Apps

You can also move apps How to Move Installed Apps & Programs in Windows 10 How to Move Installed Apps & Programs in Windows 10 Are you running out of space on your system drive? Windows 10 lets you move modern apps and change the default installation path. We show you how to do the same for desktop programs. Read More you’ve already installed on your computer to an external drive. You can also use this method to move apps from your external drive back on to your hard drive:

  • Go to Settings > System > Apps & features.
  • Scroll to the app you want to move and click on it.
  • Click the Move button and select your external drive from the drop down menu.

Do you prefer to save apps on your hard drive or an external drive? Can you think of any other tips or tricks to save space on your machine? Let us know in the comments.

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  1. Tim Jeffries
    June 12, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    This is bad advice. Helpful to a few maybe with specific needs. Not a good idea for the majority. It being a feature, great. Telling random users who see this article to start moving files around to places that may fail or become disconnected or forgotten about.... Terrible.

  2. pAEv
    June 12, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    I don't normally write comments but here I must. The knowledge of the matter who wrote the article is shit. Yes you can move and change locations. However, to format external SD card to ntfs is stupid. You won't be able to run disk repair command if you have ntfs. Any geek would know that. Windows 10 is prone to defragmenting external drives unless it's SSD of course. In this case it's not for SD card is not SSD. In Order to get the best performance you have to run disk repair command from time to time. Make use of has never been good website for those who know a bit more than how to press buttons. Here is another proof of it.

  3. Victor
    June 12, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    External HDD are not the same as internal. They are not designed for such frequent writes and access.
    Doing what this article says will make your backup external drive into a nice paper weight in a short time.