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I want to build a new PC with a smallish SSD. I'd like to be able to install some of my games onto the drive (those I care about loading quickly or I play frequently), but have the rest of them on a larger, slower drive.

Anybody know if this is possible? I'm kind of guessing it's not, but figured I'd ask anyway.

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9 Answers 9

up vote 36 down vote accepted

Here's what you can do. I had a machine where I needed to install my games on a separate drive so I symlinked the steamapps directory. You can do the same with the directories inside of steamapps. I've gotten it working in Vista and Windows 7 using mklink.

EDIT: Install Steam on the SSD and then symlink the games you aren't using as much with their data on the slower drive.

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That won't give the individual game boost that he wants from the use of an SSD though. Clever idea though :) –  Alastair Pitts Jul 14 '10 at 1:34
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Yeah, it does. He just symlinks the dirs of games he is not using to directories on the larger drive. When the game goes to the dir, the symlink forces it to the correct data location. I've done it with multiple partitions and drives. I had an uber quick OS load drive but, I didn't want games on it so I put in a 640GB SATA 3 drive and symlinked to it. Works like a charm ;) –  Corv1nus Jul 14 '10 at 1:37
    
You might want to explain how to use mklink (or ln on OSX). –  tzenes Jul 14 '10 at 8:52
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That's so brilliant and simple it makes my head explode. –  Morinar Jul 14 '10 at 19:08
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For what it's worth, this absolutely works. When I rebuilt my computer in November, I did exactly this. It works perfectly well. Best answer I've ever gotten to a stackexchange.com question. I'd up vote it again if I could. –  Morinar Jan 20 '11 at 17:41
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As of the latest Steam version for Windows, it is possible to install games to arbitrary locations. To do so, click "Install" in your library or the store and choose "Create new Steam library" in the "Choose drive to install to" dropdown menu. This option will only be available for games using the new content system, you may need to use the tricks from the other answers if you want to move the ones that don't use it.

Note that the Install dialogue will not offer the option to create a separate library on a drive that already has one, to do that you need to go to Steam -> Settings -> Downloads + Cloud -> Steam Library Folders and click on "Add library folder".

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It's worth mentioning you have to set up your new location in your settings first. –  Kareen Dec 3 '12 at 23:43
    
@Kareen no, you can do it from the install dialogue. –  kotekzot Dec 4 '12 at 7:07
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This only works for games that are on the new content system. So at the moment this is not possible for all games. –  Otherside Dec 4 '12 at 13:59
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@kotekzot I tried five times to directly install a game to another directory straight from the install dialogue and it never gave me the "Choose drive to install to" option. It only appeared after I went in the settings and added a new Steam Library location, and then the "Choose drive" option in the install dialogue only listed the original directory and the new one, with no option of creating a new one. That was last night and I just tried again for good measure - same behaviour. Perhaps the game doesn't use the new system, but I think it's worth mentioning. –  Kareen Dec 4 '12 at 14:56
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@kotekzot My bad, it works right off the bat if you have two writable drives. As that's what the OP asks, that's great, but the question says "locations", so if you want to install to two different locations on the same drive, you have to go through settings first. In case someone in the future wants to do that. –  Kareen Dec 4 '12 at 15:48
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There are now a couple tools that help with this process: http://stefanjones.ca/steam/ and http://www.traynier.com/software/steammover

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I've been using SteamTool (the first link) and it works fairly well. Most of my games are now on a secondary hard disk. –  Denilson Sá Feb 13 '11 at 3:42
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Something like this is completely possible -- one way is to simply install two separate copies of Steam, one on each drive. Just make sure to close out of the one instance before changing to a game installed under the other (Steam won't let more than one of itself run at any time)

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There is now native support for this feature on Windows. You'll see the option at install time.

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As Alastair Pitts said, you can't have dual-located /steamapps folders.

However, if you're worried about space, you can collect the GCFs from the steam apps folder, and store these on a separate drive, then re-locate them when you want to play these infrequently played games. Further, you could 'uninstall' them from your steam games, but bring them back with the gcf's when you need them; but this may involve more bandwidth consumption that indented (if steam wants to check for updates, etc)

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(Windows OS solution) Symbolic links are an excellent solution to hosting games in a location that isn't the actual install location, or on a hard drive that is not your primary drive. They are similar to creating shortcuts, but the difference is that Windows will see them as actual paths, not shortcuts.

For example:

C:\ is my primary drive. Windows is installed on this drive.

I create a symbolic link (very similar to a shortcut) at 'C:\Battlefield' which points to 'E:\Battlefield'. Now, I can install Battlefield to 'C:\Battlefield', and as far as Windows is concerned, that is where it is installed. But, the files are actually kept on 'E:\Battlefield' since that is where the symbolic link points to!

The command for this would be:

mklink /D "C:\Battlefield" "E:\Battlefield"

For this command to work, the target ("E:\Battlefield") must exist, and the link ("C:\Battlefield") must not exist before the command is executed. If you already have your application installed at the C:\ directory, you could copy it over to the E:\ directory (while it isn't running), and then delete the empty C:\ folder before executing the command.

You can execute this from windows command line. In Windows 7, just type 'cmd' into the search bar within the Start menu and press Enter to open the command line. In Windows XP, go through Start menu, click 'Run' and then enter 'cmd' for the parameter and press Enter!

I only used the name 'E:\Battlefield' as an example, you could name this whatever you want. 'E:\games\bf3' would work as well, or whatever other path/name you wish to give it.

This method is extremely effective when your primary hard drive is a solid state drive without much space, but you want your installed applications to be seen on the primary drive. Especially nice for the Steamapps folder, or specific games within it.

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If you know the location where the game will be installed before installing it, I don't see anything stopping you from making a symlink to a particular game and then installing. I'll have to give this a try to see if it works.

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No, this is not possible unfortunately. Steam stores all* of it's games in the /steamapps subfolder in the installation directory.

*There are some games that, for whatever reason, install themselves outside of this folder, but it's not something that you can control/decide.

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-1 - Incorrect. You even commented in an answer that shows how this can be done. –  hobodave Jul 14 '10 at 15:41
    
A fair -1, I misunderstood the use of the simlink. –  Alastair Pitts Jul 14 '10 at 23:07
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