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Need to format, can I transfer my Steam games or I need to download everything again?

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#1
Hi guys, was wondering if you can help with a question.

I'll have to format my OS due to changing CPU and mobo in my system, and I was wondering if there's anyway I can make a backup of all my Steam downloaded games to my other HDD before I do, and activate them using my Steam account afterwards, or do I need to download every single game again after formating?

Now I know why I prefer physical media to downloads, as I wouldn't have this kind of problem if I had all installations discs, alas, last year's holiday deals on Steam were just too good to pass and I ended up downloading about 98GBs of games last month, I just don't wanna waste more time by having to download everything again :p

Have any of you guys been in the same predicament before? Any advice would be appreciated :)
 

cadaveca

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#2
Save entire STEAM folder. You can have it in any location.

Once your OS is up, go into the STEAM folder, click the STEAM ".exe", and it will tell you it wasn't installed, and needs elevated priviledges to re-install...click the OK to let it do it's thing, and it will scan the files, and re-install itself.

Each individual game will need "reinstall", and part of what STEAM does when you first start it, is reset each game to non-installed fashion. This reinstall simply is the DX install, and other stuff each game might need, but there is no downloads.


You also have the option to re-isntall steam, adn then place your old folder in the place of the new one, however, this leads to longer maintenece, as each game will get scanned fully. When it's done this way though, all games will work fine...I have found that using the first method I listed, certain games, like LFD2, need to have the files validated, or you get weird, random crashes.
 

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#3
You can use steam to backup for games to another hard drive, then after the format restore the games. Just be sure to also save the save game folders that some games place in my documents as well.
 
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#4
Whoa! That was fast, I knew I was in the right place to ask this question, thank you guys for your advice, will try copying my Steam folder as that sounds like the quickest workaround.

You guys rock :rockout: Will let you know how it went, cheers!:toast:
 
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#5
What I did: Download the games as you want them. I have a 15Mb connection, so I can download even large games fairly quickly. My library is large, but there is not a single game I couldnt download in an hour minutes or less, even if they are ~6GB.

What I recommend: Why are you reformatting just for CPU and MOBO change? Unless you want to change your HDD also, I would just swap it right back in.

Things you can do:
1. If you are using a brand new HDD, make an image of your current HDD and apply it to the new one.
2. One user suggested copying the steam folder. Due to files that are unique to your windows profile settings, registry, and other miscellaneous configuration files that are planted, you might run into trouble, but you can give it a try.
 
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#6
  1. Back up the "steamapps" folder.
  2. Format.
  3. Install Steam.
  4. Login to your Steam account.
  5. Close Steam completely.
  6. Copy the "steamapps" folder back
  7. Done!
 

hat

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#7
Steam GUI > Steam > Backup and Restore Games... save the backup to a seperate drive, then have Steam load the backups once you get going again.
 
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#8
Yes just the steamapps don't need all the other crap. It's nice. Can back up in Steam like said above but I prefer a manual copy for sure.
 
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#9
Just don't forget your savegames/sprays/macros that may not be inside the Steam folder, but in Documents and Settings, or My Documents.

I personally use symbollic links to have those important files and folders on my Dropbox :D