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Steamapps on multiple partitions - the easy way!

Discussion in 'Games' started by Thrackan, May 4, 2011.

  1. Thrackan

    Thrackan

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    So, yesterday I was fed up with my SSD being filled to the brink and I went searching. I found this page about symbolic links that looked just too easy to be true, but I gave it a go anyway, and it works! :rockout:

    My goal was to move non-frequently used games to another HDD, while keeping frequently used games on my SSD for fast loading times.

    Basically, this is my way of moving Steam games as done under [Windows 7]:

    - Go to your steamapps/common folder and cut the game folder(s) you would like to move.
    - Paste the folder(s) where you would like to have them. (ie: E:\games\)
    - Make a symbolic link as follows: Click here for more info

    Run cmd.exe as Administrator. Click here to see how.
    On the command prompt, type:
    PHP:
    MKLINK /"C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\<foldername>" "E:\games\<foldername>"
    Where <foldername> is the name of the folder you moved.
    You should adjust the source and target directories to those used on your system.
    The "/D" parameter is used to make a directory link, instead of the default file link.
    Use double quotes around the directory names. This eliminates any problems with spaces and such.

    Then launch your Steam game as normal!

    Possible problems:
    Haven't tried, but you may run into problems installing new games, when Steam calculates the required space and your disk is so full the game won't fit on it.

    Also, I haven't moved the .ncf files in the "steamapps" folder. You should be able to do that too, and make a symbolic file link without using the "/D" parameter. Feedback is welcome!

    Last, I still want to try the following to try if we can install a game almost directly to the alternate partition:
    - Start Steam and select "Install game" for a game, then immediately pause the download.
    - Move the folder and make the link like described above.
    - Resume download
    Again, feedback is welcome!

    According to Microsoft Technet, the MKLINK command also works on Windows Vista and Server 2008. I have not tried this, so once again, feedback is welcome!

    Tested this and it's working under win 7 (and even simpler!):
    Last edited: May 4, 2011
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  2. W1zzard

    W1zzard Administrator Staff Member

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    any opinions on ntfs junctions vs this ?
  3. Thrackan

    Thrackan

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    I don't know the technical differences, so anyone who can shed a light there is highly welcomed to do so :)
  4. gumpty

    gumpty

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    How very interesting.

    Subbing on this topic to learn something new today.
  5. Bundy

    Bundy

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    I'm not sue why you are doing this? Is it because you only wish to move away some of the steam games but leave the rest on your OS drive? If you want to move all of them, why not install steam on the alternate drive?

    I like the approach if it's just for temporary movement/archiving of non used games.
  6. Thrackan

    Thrackan

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    Exactly that.

    I want to have the games I play alot on my SSD for fast loading, and other games on another harddisk.

    You could archive those other games, but that would mean reinstalling those games when you want to use them. This way, I simply moved 40-50GB worth of games from my SSD to my HDD, and I could still play them, while Portal 2 for instance is still on the SSD because it rocks :D
  7. Bundy

    Bundy

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    Thanks!:toast:
  8. qubit

    qubit Overclocked quantum bit

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    That's a great tip for moving the Steam folder, thrackan. :toast:

    Another way to do this, is to copy the Steam folder to the other drive as described below. This has the advantage that the complete Steam folder remains in one place, without the potential for broken links if something happens to either drive. It's also dead easy to make a backup of your Steam installation to another drive using a simple copy operation. This is really important if you have a large Steam installation. Mine is about 270GB and I don't ever fancy redownloading that lot again! :eek:

    - Make sure Steam is not running
    - Copy (don't cut) the Steam folder to the new drive and rename it (just add a random character to the name, it doesn't matter)
    - Uninstall Steam from Programs and Features (or Add/Remove for those still on XP)
    - Download the installer from www.steampowered.com and install Steam to your preferred drive. Be sure to give the destination folder the exact same name and location as the original one before you renamed it
    - When installation is complete and you have logged in, quit Steam
    - Delete the newly created Steam folder, but make sure it goes in the Recycle Bin, in case you need to restore it if something goes wrong. Alternatively, just move it to another folder
    - Rename the original Steam folder back to its original name
    - Delete clientregistry.blob within it
    - Run Steam - that's it!

    Having deleted clientregistry.blob forces Steam to update and reinitialise itself and register the software installed, properly into the Library. Crucially, it also makes all the correct Windows registry entries, to prevent odd problems down the line.

    And there you have it, the optimum way to move Steam!

    EDIT: Just seen after I posted, that you want some games on the fast SSD and others on a regular drive. I can see why, but just make sure you have a backup of everything. That's especially true if you have a huge Steam install like mine.
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  9. Thrackan

    Thrackan

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    Nice one :) Steam also has a built-in option to archive your installed game data, which works great if, for example, you want to format the disk you have Steam on :) It's my preferred method when reinstalling Windows.

    But yeah, this is explicitly to use more than one partition/disk for your Steamapps. I've been pondering on this problem before, and I didn't think the solution would be this easy really:eek:
  10. qubit

    qubit Overclocked quantum bit

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    Oh yeah, that's a very handy function, say you want to install Steam on another PC and perhaps only have one or two games installed on it. However, doing this for all your games, would duplicate* the amount of space they take and take ages to do.

    The way I described, saves all that copying and just makes the new Steam install use the data as it is.

    *Making a regular backup, of course duplicates that data anyway. :p But it is somewhat quicker, as it doesn't compress it down to an archive.

    BTW I use the free Karen's Replicator to backup my data. I very simply have a partition on a drive other than my system drive with all my data on it. I simply installed Steam into this partition and do a mirror copy of every file in that partition using KR to another partition on yet another drive, every night. Yes, I have three drives in my PC: system, data and it's backup. :pimp:

    Get KR here if you'd like to use it: www.karenware.com/powertools/ptreplicator.asp
  11. Dacur

    Dacur

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    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2011
  12. Thrackan

    Thrackan

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    That, my friend, is the porn I was after. :toast::toast:
  13. razaron

    razaron

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    I've been using symbolic links for a few months. They make my SSD happy.
    You should also move your downloads folder to another drive (if you use it alot). I've also got the "My x" folders on my storage drive.
  14. Thrackan

    Thrackan

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    This app uses the "/J" parameter and thus makes junctions. Don't get why it's 2,5 MB though, so I might try and make a simpler and smaller version.
  15. gumpty

    gumpty

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    Can someone please describe the difference between junctions and symbolic links for me.
  16. qubit

    qubit Overclocked quantum bit

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    theJesus and gumpty say thanks.
  17. gumpty

    gumpty

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  18. Thrackan

    Thrackan

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    So according to this page, the difference is as follows:

    So by using "/J" you are making a directory hard link, which is treated as a "real" folder and not as a link. This might be the safer option here.

    The only thing I wonder is what happens in the following scenario:

    - Create a /J directory hard link from dir A to B
    - Delete dir A (the original dir)

    According to the "hard link" functionality described in above quote, dir B should then retain a cloned copy of dir A?
  19. qubit

    qubit Overclocked quantum bit

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    Yeah, couldn't resist. :D There's also this funnier and much less politically correct version, but be prepared for flames! Probably best not used on TPU...

    www.justfuckinggoogleit.com
  20. Solaris17

    Solaris17 Creator Solaris Utility DVD

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    /sub
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  21. silkstone

    silkstone

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    Hmm. This is interesting. I don't have many steam games, but i do have many bloated folders like my documents, pictures, and some non-steam games. If i were to copy these to a backup drive then make a symbolic link, i would still be able to view the files through windows explorer as if they were on the os (c) drive? would all the names work as normal? If i wanted to undo the changes, whould i have to go through any special steps, or could i just copy the files back?

    Thx
  22. 2DividedbyZero New Member

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    built into windows

    [​IMG]
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  23. silkstone

    silkstone

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    Last edited: May 4, 2011
  24. 2DividedbyZero New Member

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    no. this only works for core windows libraries (pics, docs, music, videos etc etc)

    use the app mentioned earlier for all other stuff/folders
  25. digibucc

    digibucc

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    mklink will work for that though

    another thing i do with it SUPER USEFUL:
    make symbolic links for all your video game save folders, on a separate / networked drive. for me this allows me to pick up a game on any of my pcs and have it load from where i left off on another. they all share the same saved game folder.

    it also makes it so your saved games are always saved if your system drive crashes. obviously you may want to run a backup etc, but for me more often than not windows fails, and i hate searching the drive for save games.

    ok, i read this on the steammover page:
    but using mklink /d , i create links to other drives, and networked drives, no problem. so???
    Last edited: May 4, 2011
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