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Old 06-06-2010, 01:13 PM   #1
huntn
 
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Unhappy Installing Steam Games on External Drive?

I have a regular Steam Account under Windows Vista with about 10 games. I installed Mac Steam on an external hard drive for use with my MBP. So far so good. I see I have 4 games that can be played under Mac Steam, but when I go to download the particular game, it looks like Steam is trying to install the game on my internal drive, I assume somewhere in my home account (I get a message only 5000MB space available). This is bad because I have limited space on my internal HD about 6GB of open space. I want to install these Mac Steam games onto my external hard drive which has about 200GB space. Can I do that? If so, how? I've moved my Steam installation under Vista and XP with no problems. Hopefully I can do this on my Mac.
Thanks!
-Hunt'n
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Old 06-06-2010, 01:31 PM   #2
Blender3dartist
 
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Valve has posted something about this before. They will be adding support for moving the Steam Content folder (at least to the Application Library folder) as soon as they can find a way to let the user know, when he has trashed Steam, whether or not Steam should delete your Steam Content folder.

I'm assuming that will also give you the option to move the Steam Content folder and place it willy nilly on you hard drive, or on an external hard drive.

Source: http://store.steampowered.com/news/3857/
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Old 06-06-2010, 02:10 PM   #3
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not to rain on your parade here, but external hard drives, along with usb's, weren't made to have games played of them/have a continuous stream of data. it happens that doing this sort of thing has been known to:
A)over time, diminish the capacity of the hard drive
B)rarely, it will just stop working

Source: the interlink
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Old 06-06-2010, 02:54 PM   #4
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Thats not true. Besides, games don't constantly load content from harddrives. They load what they need into ram. Then only load from HD now and then.

Many external drives ARE designed for continuous data transfer. Firewire drives are actually great for this sort of thing, which is why they are widely used as recording/media drives in pro audio and pro video applications.


Sorry to rain on your parade.
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Old 06-06-2010, 04:16 PM   #5
huntn
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theaero View Post
Thats not true.
I agree. On my MBP, I've been playing games installed on my external drive for Windows under Vista/bootcamp forever with no performance problems. And I have my entire Windows Steam library on an external drive, again no problems.
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Old 06-06-2010, 04:17 PM   #6
huntn
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blender3dartist View Post
Valve has posted something about this before. They will be adding support for moving the Steam Content folder (at least to the Application Library folder) as soon as they can find a way to let the user know, when he has trashed Steam, whether or not Steam should delete your Steam Content folder.

I'm assuming that will also give you the option to move the Steam Content folder and place it willy nilly on you hard drive, or on an external hard drive.

Source: http://store.steampowered.com/news/3857/
Thanks for the link. I just don't have room on my internal drive for a bunch of games so I want to get this going as soon as possible. Now that I've read the link it strikes me a bit strange. If you want to uninstall Steam, you can move your games somewhere else? Did I read that right? What if you want Steam and your games in a different location, other than the Document file? I've all ready got Steam on my external drive. What I'd like it to do is install my games in the same location as the Steam app or at least allow me to choose a destination. Hopefully that is what Valve will be doing.

Last edited by huntn: 06-06-2010 at 04:22 PM.
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Old 06-06-2010, 07:15 PM   This is the last staff post in this thread.   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by huntn View Post
Thanks for the link. I just don't have room on my internal drive for a bunch of games so I want to get this going as soon as possible. Now that I've read the link it strikes me a bit strange. If you want to uninstall Steam, you can move your games somewhere else? Did I read that right? What if you want Steam and your games in a different location, other than the Document file? I've all ready got Steam on my external drive. What I'd like it to do is install my games in the same location as the Steam app or at least allow me to choose a destination. Hopefully that is what Valve will be doing.
In the short term (next week, I think) content will be moved from the documents folder to the application support folder. This won't help your external drive problem.

The bit in that post about uninstalling Steam is that currently if you drag Steam to the trash all of your games stick around using disk space. Since this is not desirable for people truly uninstalling Steam we will be presenting users with the option to delete game content at the time they drag Steam to the trash.

It would be best if we gave you the option to choose where the content goes, but that will not come in the immediate future.

If you are comfortable using the terminal, you can move your Steam content to an external drive by creating a symbolic link at "~/Documents/Steam Content" that points to a location on your external drive.
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Old 06-06-2010, 08:13 PM   #8
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Reuben has already posted what I was going to suggest: using a symlink.
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Old 06-07-2010, 03:28 AM   #9
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If huntn or anyone else needs to know how to make symbolic links...well, you do have to use the terminal.

Normally your drive will be mounted in /Volumes/DRIVENAME, such as
/Volumes/NO\ NAME or /Volumes/VeggieDrive

You can make a folder the normal way, let's say the drive is called DRIVE and you want it to be in a folder called Steam

so what you can do is open a terminal and type in:

ln -s /Volumes/DRIVE/Steam ~/Documents/Steam\ Content
(the \ are important as it tells the terminal you are putting a special character after that, in this case, that the space means a space that's in the directory name)

You would want to, if doing this from an existing steam install, copy all the files over beforehand with steam closed.

Hopefully this is somewhat helpful?
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Old 06-07-2010, 05:44 PM   #10
huntn
 
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I have worked with the terminal in the past, but I consider myself heavy duty novice.

My impression is that in the Documents Folder, I need to place an empty folder called Steam Content. In the external drive I also need a folder called Steam Content. Then in the Terminal I need to make a symbolic link between the two of them using the "ln -s" command? Does /cd need to lead this off? Here is where my things are located:

*In Documents folder: /Users/username/Documents/Steam\ Content
*Folder on External Drive: /Volumes/WDMac2/Steam\ Content

I've tried this command ln -s /Users/username/Documents/Steam\ Content /Volumes/WDMac2/Steam\ Content <return>

This does not seem to work. Do I need to use that root command first? Suggestions? Thanks!
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Old 06-07-2010, 05:47 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by ReubenF View Post
If you are comfortable using the terminal, you can move your Steam content to an external drive by creating a symbolic link at "~/Documents/Steam Content" that points to a location on your external drive.
Thanks for the help! Ok, I got it. As soon as I get a good description typed up I'll post.

Last edited by huntn: 06-07-2010 at 05:59 PM.
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Old 06-07-2010, 06:56 PM   #12
huntn
 
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The idea is that by using the Mac's Terminal Application, you are going to create a new unix symbolic link in your Documents folder that points to the Steam Content folder located in another location. In my case the other location is my external drive.

Proceed at your own risk!!!

1. To start out with I wanted Mac Steam on my external drive for use with my MBP laptop, so I downloaded Mac Steam, opened the .dmg file and installed it there by simply dragging the Steam application from the .dmg file to the desired location on my external drive.

2. Launch Steam. By default it is going to automatically install the Steam Content folder in your Home>Documents Folder. Shut down Steam.

3. Locate the "Steam Content" folder in your home/Documents folder. Drag this to the new desired location, where it will be copied. Move the original Steam Content folder from your Document folder to the trash.

4. Open the Terminal application, located in your Utility folder. (In your Mac Finder along the top look for the "Go" pulldown menu> Utilities>Terminal). When you launch the Terminal a window opens that has a command line that starts with something like:

MyMac:~ jharris$ (where jharris is the user).

5. Type in this command (no quotes) "ln -s" (with a space between "ln" and "-s", followed by a space. Note the command "ln" consists of the small letters LN, not IN). Your Terminal command line should look something like this:

MyMac:~ jharris$ ln -s

6. Open the window that shows the new location of your Steam Content folder (the one you just moved). Left click on this folder and drag it to the Terminal Window then release it. This will copy a path to your Steam Content folder. Your command line should look something like this now:

MyMac:~ jharris$ ln -s /Volumes/WDMac2/Steam\ Content

(In my case "/Volumes/WDMac2/" is a partition on my external drive. The folder name is "Steam\ Content". (no quotes! The backward slash tells unix, there is a space.)

7. Open your home folder. (In your Finder along the top look for the "Go" pulldown menu> Home). There will be a "Documents" folder in your Home folder. Click on the Document's folder, drag it to the Terminal Window, and release it. The path to your Documents folder will automatically pop in with a space between it and the previous command. Your Terminal command window should now look something like this:

MyMac:~ jharris$ ln -s /Volumes/WDMac2/Steam\ Content /Users/jharris/Documents

8. On the Terminal command line you are now going to type in the name of the link that will be placed into the Documents folder (by using this Terminal command). Right after the word "Documents" type in this syntax with no space (no quotes!): "/Steam\ Content" (Put a space between "\" and "Content". The \ tells the Terminal there is a space between the words Steam and Content). Your terminal command line should now look something like this:

MyMac:~ jharris$ ln -s /Volumes/WDMac2/Steam\ Content /Users/jharris/Documents/Steam\ Content

9. Select the Terminal Window, and now hit the "Return" button. A new command line will appear that looks like:

MyMac:~ jharris$

Quit the Terminal. If you have formatted this command correctly, a new Alias of your Steam Content folder should show up in your Documents folder. Now launch Steam and see if it worked.

The easiest was to tell is when you start to download a new game, you'll get a message telling you how many MBs of space are available. This can be checked against the partition you want to install to and compare it to the available space on your internal hard drive. If all looks good, start downloading games to your external hard drive!!

Last edited by huntn: 06-07-2010 at 07:09 PM.
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Old 06-08-2010, 08:17 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by huntn View Post
The idea is that by using the Mac's Terminal Application, you are going to create a new unix symbolic link in your Documents folder that points to the Steam Content folder located in another location. In my case the other location is my external drive.
Easier solution: use the little app I wrote: Steam Content Helper.app (.zip, ~ 90 KB). (I automatically rename any existing item (whether it be symlink, or original folder with content) at /Users/~/Documents/Steam Content/, to make way for the symlink that's saved). Just download, unzip, launch and follow the directions.

[EDIT] Updated the app to validate changes made to the path by typing manually in the text field.

Hope this helps…
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Old 06-08-2010, 09:18 AM   #14
huntn
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NSGod View Post
Easier solution: use the little app I wrote: Steam Content Helper.app (.zip, ~ 90 KB). (I automatically rename any existing item (whether it be symlink, or original folder with content) at /Users/~/Documents/Steam Content/, to make way for the symlink that's saved). Just download, unzip, launch and follow the directions.

[EDIT] Updated the app to validate changes made to the path by typing manually in the text field.

Hope this helps…
Thanks for the link! That sounds much easier. I saw an Automator script that also did this but as I don't use Automator, first clance it seemed more complicated.
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Old 06-08-2010, 10:09 AM   #15
Mastgrr
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkRepublica View Post
not to rain on your parade here, but external hard drives, along with usb's, weren't made to have games played of them/have a continuous stream of data. it happens that doing this sort of thing has been known to:
A)over time, diminish the capacity of the hard drive
B)rarely, it will just stop working

Source: the interlink
wtf? Complete superstition. I've played games from external HDs for years with multiple computers with multiple hard drives without problems.
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