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Old 03-18-2008, 09:30 AM   #1
ReBoot
 
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Tutorial: move single Steam games to other partitions/drives

Technical background
Windows NT (Windows XP, Vista, 2000 and 2003 ARE Windows NT) uses a filesystem called NTFS. It allows creating junctions. A Junction is a folder which is displayed on let's say C:\Source but it's content is in fact at D:\Destination. So the space is used on D: which allows you to have more data on C: than actially possible. And that's exactly what you may want.

Requirements
  1. Windows NT (again, WinXP, WinVista and so on ARE WinNT)
  2. NTFS-formatted drives (if you still have FAT(32)-formatted partitions, you can use the convert-command to convert your partitions to NTFS, at the cost of readability in Win98/Linux).
  3. Some spare time

Execution
  1. If you're not using Windows Vista, you'll have to get linkd.exe from the Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools. If you're using Windows Vista, you already have a command called mklink which does the job. I'm going to use linkd-syntax in this tutorial, mklink has almost the same syntax. You only have to add the /j-parameter (junction, remember?) You can access help for both tools with the [tool name] /?-command.
  2. Take a look at your folder structure. Where do you want to move the games from and to? In this example, I'll use C:\Steam as the Steam installation directory on a full partition and D:\SteamSpare as the swap space.
  3. Open your console. Press Win+R, type cmd and press enter.
  4. Let's move a third party game first. Move the content of C:\Steam\SteamApps\common\Red Orchestra to D:\SteamSpare\Red Orchestra. You have to move the files and delete the original folder.
  5. Type linkd "C:\Steam\SteamApps\common\Red Orchestra" "D:\SteamSpare\Red Orchestra" in the console.
  6. You're done. Red Orchestra files will take space on D: but will be still avaible to Steam in C:\Steam.
  7. Moving Valve games is more complicated. linkd can only "mirror" folders. Valve games have their data inside GCF-files. So you can only "mirror" the whole SteamApps-folder or use mklink (Vista only, not tested) to move single files. EDIT: Windows XP has a command called fsutil, it can be used to mirror single files.
Alternatively, you can use NT's drive management to mount another partition at C:\Steam\SteamApps. This, however, is less flexible. Will cover it, if any interest is presented.

Still, if you have the overfilled and the spare partition on one single hard drive, you should concider repartitioning.

Last edited by ReBoot: 12-31-2009 at 11:25 AM. Reason: Typo
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Old 03-18-2008, 09:35 AM   #2
5UB
 
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Wow this is neat, thanks mate.
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Old 03-18-2008, 09:36 AM   #3
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I'd like to add a FAQ. Any questions?
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Old 03-18-2008, 04:46 PM   #4
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nice, forgot about linkd
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Old 09-20-2008, 07:39 AM   #5
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I might have to give this a go, cheers for the info ReBoot!
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Old 09-20-2008, 07:42 AM   #6
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wow . nice tutorial cheers
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Old 10-17-2008, 11:27 AM   #7
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For this to actually work properly for vista users:

-Copy the game folder to the destination you want.

-DELETE the entire game folder from it's original location or the command will produce an error.

-run cmd.exe as administrator

use the command: mklink /J "C:\junction folder\game" "D:\actual folder\game"

it will create a folder where the old one was but it will have a little arrow thingy on the bottom left corner of the folder icon. Essentially a shortcut folder. Now you don't have to buy bigger hard drives or uninstall games or wait for steam to finally have this functionality built in.
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Old 10-17-2008, 12:29 PM   #8
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Stickie

thx Reboot for the tuturial
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Old 10-17-2008, 12:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LinK187 View Post
-run cmd.exe as administrator
I never figured out how to do this part.

Not that I tried very hard, mind you, but on the two or three occasions when I ran cmd from an admin account, it still wouldn't kick into elevated mode.
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Old 10-17-2008, 12:52 PM   #10
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Open the start menu and type "cmd" into the search window. Then, you'll see "cmd.exe" as the result. Rightclick it, you can run it as administrator then.
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Old 10-17-2008, 01:03 PM   #11
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Ah, but that would be too obvious.
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Old 10-29-2008, 10:04 AM   #12
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Are "Valve" games all games downloaded through Steam or just a game made by Valve (like Half Life 2 for example)? And, is "third party games" games that are installed independently from a DVD/CD and then linked to Steam?

If so (if all games were downloaded through Steam), that essentially means you either have to move ALL the games (whole game folder) or NONE of the games (running XP). Is that correct?

If so, that's a bummer for me. My hard drive is getting kind of full being I've downloaded a lot of Steam games lately. I wanted to have the option down the road of having some of the games on a different hard drive. Having to move them all though is really not going to help me much as both my hard drives are the same size. So moving the whole thing is basically going to have the same result, just on a different hard drive. I'm running XP.

If "Valve" games mean just games made by Valve like Half Life 2, then I would be in good shape and could move just specific games, which is what I want to do to spread the sizes of both hard drives more evenly down the road.

Last edited by mikeopam: 10-29-2008 at 10:32 AM.
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Old 10-29-2008, 10:07 AM   #13
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No, Valve games are games made by Valve (running from GCF files) and other games are not made by Valve and run from files being on your HD in plain form. So what exactly do you want to move?
Besides, I found out that you CAN make hardlinks for single files by using the fsutil command, so you can basically move everything you want (whole game folders or the GCF files).
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Old 10-29-2008, 11:48 AM   #14
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Well the only Valve game I currently have on Steam is Half Life 2, and Half Life Source. Not worried about those. I have quite a few others downloaded through Steam that are not Valve games (Infernal, Stalker Clear Sky, Fallout 3, Crysis Warhead to name a few). I'm ok now on disk space but at some point, I'm going to running into space issues and may need to move some of these downloaded Steam games to my other hard drive. Just wanted to get clarification on which games I could move without having to move them all.

Would be nice if in the future, Steam allowed installing games to different locations at each download/install. Like the EA downloader does it where you can specify the location in Settings. I think it would be a nice feature for Steam to have instead of the way it is now where every game is installed automatically in the same place.

Last edited by mikeopam: 10-29-2008 at 12:34 PM.
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Old 06-12-2009, 09:33 AM   #15
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Can I just copy the 'F:\Users\Me\AppData\Roaming\Bioshock' and 'F:\Users\Me\Documents\Bioshock\SaveGames' folders normally once I've installed Bioshock again through Steam onto the HDD I want to use? Will that work fine for my savegames to still be there?

Last edited by fire storm: 06-12-2009 at 09:49 AM.
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