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Saving Steam Games to external HDD for LATER play

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
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Edit (New question):

How reliable is Steam backup?


Wondering since it does save quite a lot of space that way as I can tell.


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Hey, guys

I'm very new to this download from Steam process.

I just redeemed my Gold Reward that I got with the video card.

How would I save those games to HDD for later use.

When I choose activate game it prompts to Install the game as well.

I like to keep big game files on external HDD, can you tell me how to do it properly, I will need to be on the computer I'm installing on to download the games, correct?

And how do I save those games when I download them, so I DON'T need to redownload it OVER again if I do reinstall of Windows 7?

Thank you so much
Edited by XLifted - 10/5/13 at 10:50am
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Cubic Rubik
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post #2 of 13
http://www.overclock.net/t/969143/open-source-automatic-steam-backup-restore-tool/ thumb.gif
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post #3 of 13
Or just go into programfiles X86, steam folder, SteamApps folder, then common. In there should be all of your games, copy the game folder you want to your external hard drive. Then, when you want to play said game, copy the game folder back into SteamApps/common and install though steam. It will find existing files and use them before downloading any updates

Or, if you have an SSD and a HDD in your system, just create a new library on your hard drive and install to there
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post #4 of 13
There shouldn't be a need to install the game when you activate it...you can do this anytime you want. Basically, the game gets tied to your Steam account. When you open Steam, go to "Library" and you should see a list of games tied to your account.

When you want to install a game, just click on the game and click "Install". One of the prompts you'll get is where you want to install the game - you'll have an option for the default C:\Program Files\Steam or you can tell it to install to another drive on your PC. In your case, if you want to keep the games installed on a separate drive, just pick the drive letter that corresponds to it and Steam will take care of the rest. After that, you just have to wait until Steam finishes the download.

If you reinstall Windows, you can indeed keep the games and not have to re-download. You have to keep the "Steam Apps" folder intact...so, have this backed up before you reformat your drive. After getting Windows installed again, just copy the Steam Apps folder back to C:\Program Files\Steam. You can read up on this a bit more here. I've tried this a few times and it worked without a hitch. thumb.gif

On a similar note, if you want to keep your game saves through a reinstall, you'll have to keep a watch for where each game saves them (this is outside of Steam's control). Usually "My Documents" or the AppData folders are common places where the saves get stored.

I hope this helps! smile.gif
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thank you, guys! MUCH RESPECT.

I just hope that tool is very trustworthy, sounds awesome from what I have read.

I'm more used to moving stuff like M3nta1 said smile.gif BUT looks like GREAT program, made by someone here (just repped that guy as well). I will trust your opinion on this. The easier the better thumb.gif
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post #6 of 13
You can use the Backup tool or you can simply copy-paste your game folders.

The Backup tool has the advantage that it compress the games a little bit. But it takes longer to backup games that way.


Copy-paste is faster but it doesn't compress.
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post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

Edit (New question):

How reliable is Steam backup?


Wondering since it does save quite a lot of space that way as I can tell.


@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@
#################################
Cubic Rubik
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post #8 of 13
It has worked fine for me so far.
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post #9 of 13
Steams built in backup tool has never failed one once.
    
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post #10 of 13
I've used Link Shell Extension for years now for both moving around Steam games and other stuff.

Basically, symbolic links allow you to place a folder where ever you wish, even on another computer on the same network, and then drop a "symbolic link" to that folder where ever you want it to be viewed. The program adds a sub-menu to your right-click options.

Example:

I have an SSD with limited capacity and some hard drives with much more room. I don't have the room for every game I've downloaded on the SSD, but I also don't want to delete them, as they're pretty big and take a while to re-download if I want to play them later on. I only want to keep the games I'm currently playing or the ones that benefit the most from the speed of the SSD on it, so I want to play the others from my hard drives.

Doing this requires very few steps once you're familiar with the process. I made a folder on the hard drives called "Games" and then a folder within that called "Steam" and then a "steamapps" folder within that one. The name of those three folders is irrelevant to the process working. It's just for organizational purposes. Now, go into your steamapps folder on the boot drive, where it's currently running from, and cut and paste whatever games you want over to that new steamapps folder. Once they're moved, right-click a folder and select "Pick Link Source". It's kind of like a different version of "Copy". Now, go back to where the games originally were, in the steamapps folder on your boot drive, right-click an empty space while inside the folder, and select "Drop As... -> Symbolic Link." Now the computer see the folder on your SSD (boot drive) as if it's still in the original steamapps folder, but it's really stored and is being read from your storage partition (hard drives).

This may sound or seem complicated at first, but it's actually really simple. It's akin to basically Copy/Pasting twice. It just takes a couple minutes to do it and start to understand the basic concept. I recommend having two folder open, one for the original location and one for the new location, so you aren't constantly having to navigate back and forth, if you're doing multiple folders at once.

The benefit to knowing about and doing this, is you can then put this to use for any number of other situations. You also aren't a slave to a program and any changes or bugs that may arise with Steam, Windows, or the program itself.
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