Can I run Steam games off an external HDD?

Okay I am looking to hopefully run a few games off of my external usb 3.0 hdd. I have steam installed on my internal drive and am running spare on space. So my question is if I can run steam games off of my external hdd while having steam installed on my internal.
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More about run steam games external hdd
  1. I dont really see why not... They might load a bit slowly though.
  2. it will be so slow! even with 3.0
  3. Well yea but thats not what he asked :P He can it will just be slow.
  4. Best answer
    Steam allows you to add a library to any drive connected to the system(Steam -> Settings -> Downloads -> Steam Library Folders). You may even be able to just move some games over to that folder after it is made, but I have not personally tried that way. You can do a backup and restore of games with the backup game files feature in steam(then remove local content and reinstall the game on the other drive).

    USB 3.0 is fast enough for any hard drive on the market, but some externals will have the speed limited.

    Now if this backup then restore does not appeal to you, see this link.

    Please use it with case, it should allow a simple close steam and move some games over and create the needed junctions. With this setup, you should always have the drive powered BEFORE opening steam in the future while games are on the external because as far as steam is concerned, the games are on the same drive as steam.
  5. You would want to transfer the steam program itself and the games to the external HDD to play. Warning though, it would be slow.
  6. I installed steam to my Local C Drive. 120GB SSD. Very fast. but it is too small to keep a lot of games. I purchased this thumb drive

    using a USB 3.0 Port on my PC
    I get read speeds that top out at 190 MB/s
    I get write speeds that top out at 65 MB/s

    Games play smoothly. Load times are good. I dont really see any noticeable lag in load screens.
    I did experience lag in the steam application when I initially installed it to the USB stick. So again what I did was put steam on the C drive (SSD) and put all the games in a games library on the USB stick. Works great.

    Following games tested without abnormal loading

    Deus Ex Human Revolution
    Mirrors Edge
    Foul Play
    Steam world Dig
    Sims 3 - Initial load seems to take some time but I never actually put it on the SSD so I have nothing to compare it to.
  7. The low access times of flash drives makes then suitable for this type of thing for sure.

    Just remember most flash drives do not have as high of nand quality as SSD's. So the number of times one can overwrite the drive will not be as many as with a normal SSD.
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