Can I install TurboTax onto a removable drive?
We often get this question from customers who wish to install TurboTax onto an external or removable drive, such as a flash drive.
While you technically can install TurboTax onto a portable drive, the program will not work properly once that drive is removed.
TurboTax, like most other Windows-based programs, creates entries in a database called the "registry" which, among other things, tells Windows where to find programs. Removing the drive breaks that path, resulting in anything from error messages to strange or missing functionality.
If you install TurboTax onto a portable drive, TurboTax will run properly as long as the portable drive remains attached to the computer, defeating the purpose of installing on a portable drive in the first place.
What about security?
Don't confuse your tax data (.tax) file, which contains your tax return information, with the TurboTax program, which creates and edits the tax data file.
You can certainly save your tax data file to a portable drive. For added security, consider password-protecting your tax return by opening it and choosing Password... from the File menu.
While portable drives are convenient devices for storing tax return files, we don't recommend installing your TurboTax program onto them.