I'd like to run Bitcoin Core but my laptop can't handle the load. I have an external drive with enough space, but I'm unsure if/how to change the file destination upon opening the program. Is this possible?
You can change the data directory
You start Bitcoin Core with the
-datadir=<path> option where
<path> is the path to the datadir on your external drive.
You can put the path to the datadir in your bitcoin.conf file with
datadir=/your/path if you don't want to have to always start Bitcoin Core with that datadir flag.