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Old 11-28-2011, 09:03 PM   #1
Ichirou
 
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How to Transfer Games to Different Computers Without Having to Redownload

This is a little tutorial I decided to post for everybody since I've been using it myself quite a lot whenever I would need to transfer my Steam games to my laptop, without having to go through the hassle of redownloading games all over again. Saves you time and bandwidth.

This only works if you've already at least downloaded all or most of a game on one computer already (updates/patches don't matter).

This is really meant to just save time. If it's a game that's less than like 1 GB or something, just redownloading it wouldn't hurt, unless you're really concerned about bandwidth charges.

Feel free to sticky this if it seems to be useful, or move it if it's in the wrong subforum. My apologies if it's a repeat of sorts.

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First of all, it doesn't matter whether a game is fully downloaded and updated or not on one computer. Regardless, Steam will automatically update and fill in all the gaps if you miss something altogether anyway. Which is quite nice really. It's fool-proof.

Of course, you'll need a medium to actually transfer files over to your other computer or laptop. USB pen drives work, but if they're in FAT32 format, they can't store huge files. You'll probably need to use an external HDD or something of the sort for this, that's in NTFS.

Navigate to your Steam/steamapps folder, which is usually located inside your Program Files. You don't need Administrative Privileges to do this, I don't think. If you do, then just get it, lol.

While this folder is open, open up your external drive folder, and create your own sub-directories so they're easy to recognize and copy from. You don't have to, but sorting it out will make life much easier.

Copy over all the GCF files that apply to your game. They usually use VERY obvious file names. Team Fortress 2 will say Team Fortress 2 somewhere in the file name, Serious Sam 3 will say Serious Sam 3 soomewhere in the file name, etc. You don't need to worry about any of the other game files, unless you're planning to transfer more than one game or something.

Within the steamapps folder, you should have several sub-folders. common corresponds to third-party games (not developed by VALVe), [your username/e-mail] corresponds to standard VALVe games that are registered to your account, and sourcemods are just mod games that you download from various places.

If your game is, say, Serious Sam 3, you would go inside the common folder, and copy the entire serious sam 3 folder to the steamapps/common folder in your external drive's Steam folder (that you should've created to make it easier to sort). And of course, copy any other games that you believe apply as well.

If your game is, say, Team Fortress 2, you would go into the folder with your username or e-mail instead, and copy that to the appropriate folder.

Unfortunately, if a game does not utilize Steam Cloud, you're out of luck when it comes to copying over save games. Each save game has their own location for where they save to, which you'll need to find yourself. If it's already inside the appropriate game's folder, great! You don't need to do anything else. Otherwise, you'll probably have to look around locations such as your documents or your computer's hidden AppData drive and so on.

After you've copied everything you deem is appropriate, go to your other computer or laptop, plug in the external drive, and copy everything all over to the same locations as they were in the other computer.

Next, load up Steam, login to your account that has the game purchased and/or registered on it, and go to your Library.

You should see your game in the list, most likely in white. If not, just double-click it once so it starts up and makes it become white, but cancel it right after, since the transfer isn't fully done.

Right-click the game, go to the properties, and go to the Local Files tab. Then, Verify Integrity of Game Cache. This tells Steam to double-check all the files you just copied over, and to fill in all missing gaps appropriately.

At this point in time, Steam will automatically download and update anything you're missing, if there is anything missing.

After that's done, wait for the download to fully complete (just watch it in your library), and then click Defragment Cache Files (for good measure).

You should be set after this. Just run the game as you would on your other computer. You may need to readjust various game settings if they're not there already.

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Games that Cannot Use This Method:

Splinter Cell Conviction

Last edited by Ichirou: 11-30-2011 at 09:46 AM.
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Old 11-28-2011, 09:17 PM   #2
Technogeek1994
 
 
 
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Have some reputation. Nice guide, although the formatting could possibly use a few improvements.
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Old 11-28-2011, 09:18 PM   #3
seseorang
 
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Lol GCF files... What it GCF short for?

You missed NCF and the new content delivery system. There are games which are not the usual NCF + sub directory of "common"
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Old 11-28-2011, 09:27 PM   #4
Ichirou
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Technogeek1994 View Post
Have some reputation. Nice guide, although the formatting could possibly use a few improvements.
Yeah, I was just writing it out entirely as it is. I'll fix it up later.

Quote:
Originally Posted by seseorang View Post
Lol GCF files... What it GCF short for?

You missed NCF and the new content delivery system. There are games which are not the usual NCF + sub directory of "common"
Well my tutorial isn't really meant to be extremely indepth about everything. It's supposed to be simple enough for most users (both newbies and advanced users0 to understand how to do it in a simple approach.

And most games support this method anyway. I haven't seen any game as of yet where I can't use this method. Which games are you talking about?
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Old 11-28-2011, 10:15 PM   #5
seseorang
 
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Splinter Cell Conviction is one that uses the new delivery method.

Using centre as a format is not good
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Old 11-28-2011, 10:18 PM   #6
Ichirou
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seseorang View Post
Splinter Cell Conviction is one that uses the new delivery method.

Using centre as a format is not good
I see. Well I don't actually have Splinter Cell Conviction, so I can't say for sure how that would work. If you know of a method for games like those, do share, I'll update my post for exceptions like those games.
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Old 11-30-2011, 09:45 AM   #7
Ichirou
 
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Figured I'd bump this for more attention.

Current question: Anybody know of more games that do not follow the standard procedure I used above?
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Old 11-21-2012, 01:49 PM   #8
Broand
 
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Yeah, sorry for the Necromancy, but The Last Remnant doesn't have a .NCF file that I can find. Can anyone help?

EDIT: I found out that The Last Remnant doesn't have a .NCF, but it doesn't matter as steam will use the files you transfer as installation files, despite "The Last Remnant" in the steam menu being grayed out. Problem sorted.

Last edited by Broand: 11-21-2012 at 03:38 PM.
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