October 22, 2013

478 words 3 mins read

Moving your Steam Library to an External Drive

Lately, my computer’s hard drive has been filling up (this may or may not have something to do with Steam and Humble Bundles) and I realized the solution was to uninstall some of my games. But lo, just before I clicked that sad button, I realized that I had a spare hard drive that was just ripe for being an external steam library.

Setting up a new Steam Library is really simple. When you click Install on one of your Steam Games it presents you with a dropdown to “Choose location for install”. If you have more than just one drive on your system, you can select that other drive with the option “Create new Steam library on drive D:".

This spawns a new window where you are encouraged to “Create or select new Steam library folder”. If you have already setup an external Steam Library, this is where you would select it.

That’s all well and good, but what about the massive amount of games I already have installed?

  1. Once you have a new Steam library folder setup on your new/other drive, completely exit Steam.
  2. Navigate to: C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common
  • Replace the C in C:\ with the appropriate drive letter.
  1. Select the games you would like moved over.
  2. Cut
  3. Navigate to D:\SteamLibrary\SteamApps\common
  • Replace the D in D:\ with the appropriate drive letter.
  1. Paste
  2. Wait for the transfer to complete.
  3. Restart Steam
  4. For each game you moved, you will need to do the following:
  5. Click Play on the game in Steam.
  6. An error will appear, close the message.
  7. Right-click the game and choose “Delete Local Content…”
  8. A warning will appear, click Delete to continue.
  9. Click Install, and and choose the new library.
  10. Press Next twice, and Steam will eventually notice the files seem to exist (showing the message “Discovering existing files for…") and will do a check on them, and download anything that is missing.
  11. Click Finish and go back 7 steps to repeat the process for the next game, otherwise, you are done!

Please note: Unless you see the message “Discovering existing files for…”, then Steam didn’t find the files you moved (this happened the first time I told it to re-install Neverwinter Nights 2). You can also tell if the game appears to be re-downloading. If/when this happens the solution is simple:

  1. Pause the download.
  2. Right-click the game and choose “Delete Local Content…”
  3. A warning will appear, click Delete to continue.
  4. Click Install, and and choose the new library.
  5. Press Next twice, and Steam will eventually notice the files seem to exist (showing the message “Discovering existing files for…") and will do a check on them, and download anything that is missing.
  6. Click Finish.

Discovering the existing files takes awhile for the bigger games (I presume it is verifying all the files that are there), so hopefully, it should be apparent when something has gone wrong.