How do I install SQL Server 2008 on an external USB hard drive? RRS feed

  • Question

  • I just bought an external USB drive to hookup to my Windows XP SP3 laptop.  I connected my laptop to this drive and I tried to install SQL Server on it.  However, I was only able to specify part of the installation on this external drive.  

    But the other part of the installation remained on the C drive.  I don't see a way to change this for some of these files.  Is there a way to install 100% of a new SQL Server 2008 program on an external hard drive?  If so, how can I do this?
    Monday, April 25, 2011 5:52 PM


  • Short answer is No.

    Part of the SQL installation must go on the system partition. 

    If your goal is to make SQL portable with the drive, then that is not going to happen.  I would install SQL locally to run on the laptop.  I would then change the SQL Data and SQL Log file locations to the external drive.  If SQL Starts up and the disk is not installed, the databases will show up as SUSPECT.  Attaching the external HD and restarting SQL will bring the databases back to normal operation.  Make sure and shut down SQL Server before detaching the external drive.


    Geoff N. Hiten Principal Consultant Microsoft SQL Server MVP
    • Proposed as answer by Peja Tao Wednesday, April 27, 2011 3:53 AM
    • Marked as answer by Alex Feng (SQL) Tuesday, May 3, 2011 4:09 AM
    Tuesday, April 26, 2011 2:09 AM