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Reinstalling OS, Steam games on secondary drive.

Last response: in Video Games
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August 15, 2013 1:03:05 PM

Currently my OS and Steam installations are on the same hard drive with my Steam games installed on a separate 3TB internal drive that I bought just for games.

Tomorrow I should be getting a new SSD that I will be doing a fresh install of my OS on.

My question is this: If I install a fresh copy of my OS and the Steam client onto the SSD, will Steam be able to see all the installed games on my secondary drive without having to redownload/reinstall them all? I'd like to avoid having to reinstall them again as I have quite a large number of games in my library, totalling 1.07TB. I know I can set Steam up so that it looks for the game files on the correct drive, I'm just wondering if they would need to actually be installed again seeing as I'm assuming the OS won't "recognise" them as being installed - and if so, is there an easy way of doing so or would it literally be a case of going through them all one by one?

Thanks!

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August 15, 2013 2:23:42 PM

You can install the Steam client on your SSD and point it to look for game on your HDD. It will see the games, though a lot of them are likely to be labelled with yellow text saying update required, just run the update and it will validate your files, and won't download anything unless there is an update for that particular game. Keep in mind you will have to run first time setup for all your games, though you shouldn't have to redownload anything. Some game may decide that they need to redownload though, Steam can be a bit weird that way, but most of them will be usable again, just run the game and let it do the first time setup again.
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August 15, 2013 2:55:53 PM

Supernova1138 said:
You can install the Steam client on your SSD and point it to look for game on your HDD. It will see the games, though a lot of them are likely to be labelled with yellow text saying update required, just run the update and it will validate your files, and won't download anything unless there is an update for that particular game. Keep in mind you will have to run first time setup for all your games, though you shouldn't have to redownload anything. Some game may decide that they need to redownload though, Steam can be a bit weird that way, but most of them will be usable again, just run the game and let it do the first time setup again.

Thanks, that's pretty much what I wanted to hear! :D 

It's not too much hassle that way - if it just does a first time install when I want to play the game then that's fine. Dreading the thought of re-downloading the entire library, though. Hopefully all will go well and it shan't come to that.

Are game saves stored on the secondary drive along with the game files? I'm guessing they would be... Is there anything from the Steam folder on the primary hard drive that would need backing up and copying to the new drive?
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August 15, 2013 3:35:41 PM

Save game locations vary depending on which game it is. Some games still put their saves into the game's directory, but a lot of newer titles will actually put your saves somewhere in your user profile eg. C:\My Documents\My Games. You may want to copy the contents of your user profile to another drive before you swap out for your SSD. Another word to the wise, when installing your SSD and loading Windows, unplug your other hard drives, if any of your other hard drives has a bootable partition on it, and you install Windows on your SSD, your BIOS will get confused, and you'll end up with an unbootable system. You can plug in your other drives when the Windows installation is complete.
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August 15, 2013 3:56:28 PM

Supernova1138 said:
Save game locations vary depending on which game it is. Some games still put their saves into the game's directory, but a lot of newer titles will actually put your saves somewhere in your user profile eg. C:\My Documents\My Games. You may want to copy the contents of your user profile to another drive before you swap out for your SSD. Another word to the wise, when installing your SSD and loading Windows, unplug your other hard drives, if any of your other hard drives has a bootable partition on it, and you install Windows on your SSD, your BIOS will get confused, and you'll end up with an unbootable system. You can plug in your other drives when the Windows installation is complete.

Thanks, I backed everything I could find up.

When I'm setting up the SSD, will it label it as the C: drive by default? If so will it cause a conflict when I plug my current C: drive back in after installing the OS? I want to format the current C: drive to use either as video/music/pictures/etc. storage or as a backup drive.
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August 15, 2013 4:29:41 PM

Windows defaults the system drive as C: and you should let it do that, when you plug your old drive back in, Windows should assign it a new letter.
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August 15, 2013 4:35:01 PM

Supernova1138 said:
Windows defaults the system drive as C: and you should let it do that, when you plug your old drive back in, Windows should assign it a new letter.


Awesome - I think that about covers everything I was unsure about.

Thanks, you've been really helpful! :D 
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December 5, 2013 2:12:00 PM

It's always a good idea to unplug all drives but the one your installing the OS to. in order to prevent accidental overwrite. That way your sure the new drive will be C. If your using Vista or Win 7 also look in C>Documents and Settings under your name for the "My Games" folder that resides in that "My Documents" folder (there's a save game one too). Actually it would be a good idea to copy the entire Documents and Settings folder just in case and delete it later. If you don't want to save the whole thing I suggest under your name in the users folder save Save Games My Documents and Favorites at least. Application data also has game files there.
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