I'm planning to upgrade my computer's hard drive and I'm not using an imaging program because I'm clean installing - How can I move my Steam game files and game saves from the old harddrive to the new hard drive with Windows 7?

5 Answers 5


Steam game files and game saves are two different subjects.

You can copy the Steam folder altogether to the new HD and then do the following: - delete everything except SteamApps folder and Steam.exe - run Steam.exe. This will make it re-sync with the Steam Cloud and download everything again and recognize the "just" installed games.

Some games have their auto-install routines which will be triggered on the first run. This reveals itself as the steam installer service requesting authorization.

Save games are mostly under Users/, or the Steam folder itself. Make a backup of the entire users folder in any case you could need something later.

See this Steam How-To describing how you move your installation.


It depends.

Every game that you have on Steam has its own save strategies. They could store their savegames in My Documents/GameName/ folder or in My Documents/My Games/GameName/ on in Local Settings and so on. I suggest you to create a new question for each game you are interested in.

Steam Cloud

The only exception are the games that supports Steam Cloud feature. If you are not sure, you can check the official page on the Steam Store and look in the feature list to the right.

If games support Steam Cloud you have to do nothing. Save games are stored directly on Steam server and they are automatically synchronized back to your account on your new pc installation.

Some games that support Steam Cloud: Half-Life 2, Portal, Torchlight, Toki Tori, etc.

Microsoft Games For Windows Live

Also some games that use Microsoft's Games For Windows Live service could store save games online. An example is Grand Theft Auto IV.


Just copy them over.

Install Steam onto the new computer so that the directory structure is all set up then copy the data files across.

(I don't have Steam installed on this computer (I'm at work!) so I can't verify which folders you need to copy).


There is a nice tool to backup and restore your savegames and settings for Steam and some other gaming related programs: SaveGameBackup.net

List of features (copied from http://savegamebackup.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=316)

  • Purpose
    • Backup all of your game saves in just a couple clicks.
    • Restore games you have previously backed up, even if you change computers or operating systems. You can even share your saves with friends.
    • Support for saving and restoring over the network (UNC) and saving to cloud services, like DropBox and SugarSync.
    • Currently detecting over 1,200 games!
  • Free
    • No ads, no nags. 100% Free. Although there is a donate button if you are feeling generous :)
  • Easy To Use
    • A sleek UI and easy to understand controls were designed to make using SGB.net as simple as possible.
  • Portable
    • All application settings are stored in the application's folder. This makes SGB.net great for thumb drives.
  • Multilingual Extensibility
    • Contains complete out-of-the-box language support for English, Dutch, French, German, Russian, Spanish, and Slovenian languages. New languages can be added at your discretion. They can also be sent to me to be officially included in the next release (via the Forum link in the About tab).
    • Supports all flavors of Windows from Windows XP SP3 to Windows 7.
  • Database and XML Driven
    • Using SQLite to manage all standard entry information. SQLite's unparalleled speed makes it the best choice for SGB.net.
    • Ability to update database from within the program to keep up to date with the latest database. There is no need (usually) to update the entire program to get new game support.
    • Using XML to manage all custom entry information. XML is not as quick as SQLite, but it is human-readable, and can therefore be manually edited.
    • Custom database entries: if a game is not supported, you can add it yourself. This means SGB.net can be used to back up a lot more than game saves.
  • Ignore List
    • If you don't want to see a game on your list anymore, you can hide it with the Ignore List.
  • Standardized Zip Archives
    • Using DotNetZip for standardized zip compression to keep backup archives as small as possible. If you have a multi-core system, DotNetZip will take advantage of it, making it's speeds unmatchable by similar libraries.
    • The created archives are not password protected, so they can be viewed/edited with any archive manager. All restoration information is stored in the comment section of the zip file.
  • savegamebackup.net is now a cyber-squatting website. Pretty sure support has been dropped for that software. You can probably find other similar tools using your favorite search engine. Jan 30, 2016 at 12:06
  • Try gamesave-manager.com.
    – david.pfx
    Feb 9, 2021 at 9:19

It's very simple. I transfer between two PCs all the time.

Under C:\users\"your username"\my documents\my games\skyrim\saves you will find your save files. (if you have another language of Windows it can be different or if you use something other than Vista/Windows 7)

Simply copy the save files you want over to the other computer in the same directory. I usually only take my quicksave.ess over and send it on mail or use a usb drive.

  • Sorry, but there are lots of games that don't do it like that.
    – david.pfx
    Feb 9, 2021 at 9:26

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