PDA

View Full Version : Installing games to a different hard drive?


haon8
10-18-2009, 05:09 AM
A few weeks ago I picked up an SSD that I planned on using ONLY for my games because I really wanted the speed boost from them. I'm keeping Windows installed on my HDD, and the ONLY things that I'm putting on it are my games.

Now, here's the thing. I know that I can just install Steam itself onto my SSD, and all of the games on it will in turn be put onto my SSD. There are some games that I have on Steam that I'd like to put on it, such as Far Cry 2 and Fallout 3. However, most of my Valve games such as HL2, GMod, L4D 1 and 2, CS:S already run outrageously smooth on my HDD, and I don't want them taking up space on my SSD (because it's only 60GB large).

So, is there any way to install some Steam games to my SSD, while keeping the others on my HDD?

zezzex
10-18-2009, 05:45 AM
you can place your steam folder anywhere you want. but you can't have 2 loctions for it.

I don't own a ssd, but everything i've read makes me think it's a bad idea to use it just for games. Writting to ssd's too much can be bad for them. I've heard of people putting just windows on a ssd and putting the page file, user directory's and program files on another drive.

haon8
10-18-2009, 05:52 AM
You're only writing to an SSD with games when you install them (exactly like any other application), and when you save games.

So in other words, I would need to install Steam onto my SSD in order to play any of my games on it?

zezzex
10-18-2009, 05:57 AM
So in other words, I would need to install Steam onto my SSD in order to play any of my games on it?

yup. This is what i would do if i were you. Install a game into your steam directory on your ssd and if you don't plan on playing the game much, copy the files over to a temp directory on your hdd, and then just move it over to your steam directory when you want to play it.

Or you could just limit yourself to games you actually play. No point having something installed if you dont play it.

haon8
10-18-2009, 06:32 AM
yup. This is what i would do if i were you. Install a game into your steam directory on your ssd and if you don't plan on playing the game much, copy the files over to a temp directory on your hdd, and then just move it over to your steam directory when you want to play it.

Or you could just limit yourself to games you actually play. No point having something installed if you dont play it.

That's true, however I still play L4D and will be playing L4D 2 on release, both of which are incredibly smooth and take up probably 6 or 7 gigs collectively.

AlecJ32
10-18-2009, 06:41 AM
Which operating system are you using? If you're using Windows XP or older, you can just use an NTFS Junction. If you're using Vista or later, you can use an NTFS Directory Symbolic Link.

haon8
10-18-2009, 06:44 AM
I'm using Vista, will be upgrading to Windows 7 at release.

Can you explain to me what a Junction/Symbolic Link is?

AlecJ32
10-18-2009, 07:00 AM
I'm using Vista, will be upgrading to Windows 7 at release.

Can you explain to me what a Junction/Symbolic Link is?

Links and Junctions are basically just shortcuts, but more powerful and more capable. You would essentially just need to link the folder that games are normally stored in on Steam to a folder on the SSD.

And according to this article, you'd use a Hard Directory Link, not a Symbolic Link, for your purposes, but it should help none-the-less.
http://www.maximumpc.com/article/howtos/howto_master_your_file_system_mklink

haon8
10-18-2009, 07:05 AM
Links and Junctions are basically just shortcuts, but more powerful and more capable. You would essentially just need to link the folder that games are normally stored in on Steam to a folder on the SSD.

And according to this article, you'd use a Hard Directory Link, not a Symbolic Link, for your purposes, but it should help none-the-less.
http://www.maximumpc.com/article/howtos/howto_master_your_file_system_mklink

Ok, so in laments terms, I would have Steam installed onto my HDD along with the games, and then place the games that I want on my SSD, and then create a Directory Link that goes through the HDD is plays it through the SSD, pretty much?

AlecJ32
10-18-2009, 07:09 AM
Ok, so in laments terms, I would have Steam installed onto my HDD along with the games, and then place the games that I want on my SSD, and then create a Directory Link that goes through the HDD is plays it through the SSD, pretty much?

Essentially, yes. The article should have the exact syntax and methodology needed, if you scroll down to where it starts talking about storing steam games on separate drives.

"Storing Steam Games Outside the Steam Folder

Steam is an excellent example of a application which is not entirely flexible in the way it uses the file system. When you first install Steam, you can choose where you want games saved, but after that point, every new game you download is installed to the same place. With hard links, we can fix that.

Why would we want to have Steam games installed in different places? Let’s look at the following example. Say we have a computer with two hard drives: a 300GB WD Velociraptor and a 1.5TB Seagate Barracuda. We use the faster-accessing Velociraptor for gaming, so we install Steam on one of its partitions. Eventually, the Velociraptor begins to fill up, so we have to start evaluating how we’re using the space. For a game like Crysis, which will be accessing tons of data off the disk—fast—we definitely want to use the faster hard drive. However, for a game like Civilization 4, which is older and loads quickly pretty much no matter what, we could afford to move the game’s data over to the slower drive, clearing up a couple of gigabytes on the Velociraptor.

So how would we go about doing it? All we need to do is find the files we want to move. In our example, they’re located in D:\Games\Steam\steamapps\common\sid meier's civilization iv. We’ll move that folder somewhere on the 2TB drive, for instance to E:\Games\sid meier's civilization iv. Now, before starting up Steam again, we need to create a hard link to fill in the hole we left when we moved the folder. The command we’ll use to do that is:

mklink /J D:\Games\Steam\steamapps\common\sid meier's civilization iv E:\Games\sid meier's civilization iv

Now, when Steam looks for the Civilization 4 files, it will find them right where it’s expecting. However, the hard link is pointing it to data that’s actually on the 2TB drive. Using this technique, we can store our games wherever we like."
http://www.maximumpc.com/article/howtos/howto_master_your_file_system_mklink

haon8
10-18-2009, 07:12 AM
Essentially, yes. The article should have the exact syntax and methodology needed, if you scroll down to where it starts talking about storing steam games on separate drives.

"Storing Steam Games Outside the Steam Folder

Steam is an excellent example of a application which is not entirely flexible in the way it uses the file system. When you first install Steam, you can choose where you want games saved, but after that point, every new game you download is installed to the same place. With hard links, we can fix that.

Why would we want to have Steam games installed in different places? Let’s look at the following example. Say we have a computer with two hard drives: a 300GB WD Velociraptor and a 1.5TB Seagate Barracuda. We use the faster-accessing Velociraptor for gaming, so we install Steam on one of its partitions. Eventually, the Velociraptor begins to fill up, so we have to start evaluating how we’re using the space. For a game like Crysis, which will be accessing tons of data off the disk—fast—we definitely want to use the faster hard drive. However, for a game like Civilization 4, which is older and loads quickly pretty much no matter what, we could afford to move the game’s data over to the slower drive, clearing up a couple of gigabytes on the Velociraptor.

So how would we go about doing it? All we need to do is find the files we want to move. In our example, they’re located in D:\Games\Steam\steamapps\common\sid meier's civilization iv. We’ll move that folder somewhere on the 2TB drive, for instance to E:\Games\sid meier's civilization iv. Now, before starting up Steam again, we need to create a hard link to fill in the hole we left when we moved the folder. The command we’ll use to do that is:

mklink /J D:\Games\Steam\steamapps\common\sid meier's civilization iv E:\Games\sid meier's civilization iv

Now, when Steam looks for the Civilization 4 files, it will find them right where it’s expecting. However, the hard link is pointing it to data that’s actually on the 2TB drive. Using this technique, we can store our games wherever we like."
http://www.maximumpc.com/article/howtos/howto_master_your_file_system_mklink

Oh perfect, that's EXACTLY what I was looking for. Thanks a bunch man!

haon8
10-18-2009, 07:23 AM
Hm, odd. I'm trying to create the link but every time I hit enter it tells me that the syntax of the command is incorrect...

AlecJ32
10-18-2009, 07:29 AM
What did you type in?

haon8
10-18-2009, 07:38 AM
I tried:

mklink /J C:\program files\steam\steamapps\common\fallout 3 F:\Games\fallout 3

Those are the directories that my game was in, and that I put it into.

I also tried subbing out J for D, though that didn't work. I also found another Steam thread on the same issue, and then I tried this:

cd "\Program Files\Steam\steamapps\Common" mklink /d "fallout 3" "F:\games\fallout 3"

The second one gave me the error "The filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect."

AlecJ32
10-18-2009, 08:01 AM
Try that second one without the quotes, and use /J, not /D.

haon8
10-18-2009, 08:02 AM
I get the same error message for the second one :(.

left4gold
10-18-2009, 08:13 AM
Steam is a pretty portable app, I have successfully simply moved my whole steam folder to my other drive, made a shortcut to steam.exe launched it from there and it works perfectly (all your games should be there too becuase they all reside in your steam folder). Even when I reformatted my os and steam was already on my other non formatted drive, I ran it from there, steam prompted me to install the steam service and it worked. I have done this many times.

zezzex
10-18-2009, 08:37 AM
Steam is a pretty portable app, I have successfully simply moved my whole steam folder to my other drive, made a shortcut to steam.exe launched it from there and it works perfectly (all your games should be there too becuase they all reside in your steam folder). Even when I reformatted my os and steam was already on my other non formatted drive, I ran it from there, steam prompted me to install the steam service and it worked. I have done this many times.

Yes...but he's not trying to do that. he wants some steam games on his hdd and some steam games on his ssd.

haon8
10-18-2009, 11:09 AM
Hm, odd. I just tried it again and it suddenly worked! I may not have had capitals where I should have (didn't think it mattered), but it's all good now. Going to try it with Far Cry 2 right now!

haon8
10-18-2009, 11:22 AM
Worked first try with Far Cry 2, and I didn't use capitals. Dunno why it suddenly started working, I must have been typing something wrong. Ah well, thanks for the help guys!

Working wonderfully now :).