I'm planning to do a full format of my system this month in order to install Linux for programming purposes.

But I have 4 games installed, Skyrim from Steam and Mass Effect from Origin. Both of them with every DLC I could afford.

All my stuff, since always, are in another partition and all the paths properly adjusted in both DRM Managers.

Despite the Saved Games which I have to backup manually, I would like to know if this is enough to preserve the games' files themselves without download them again.

My main concern is about Mass Effect Trilogy (~40GB). I have a 10MB connection link and from Steam I can download at 800~1200kbps, so Skyrim (~11GB) wouldn't be a problem. But Origin is extremely slow, downloading from 50~300kbps.

Thank you in advance.

  • 1
    Have you considered dual boot? I assume you'll want to play these Windows games later if you wish to keep the files.
    – kotekzot
    Commented Dec 2, 2013 at 12:50
  • That's the plan. The Linux environment will be (I hope) for development only. I'll still need Windows for gaming and more complex tasks like Video Ahthoring. Commented Dec 2, 2013 at 19:38
  • Pretty sure you don't need to do a full format if you want to dual boot.
    – kotekzot
    Commented Dec 2, 2013 at 21:16

2 Answers 2


For the Steam part of your question, you have two options:

  1. Use Steam's built in "Backup" functionality, as outlined here.
  2. Just copy the contents of the steamapps folder, and Steam should only need to download a relatively small amount on the new machine, as outlined here.

See also this article on the Steam support site, which pretty much uses the second method above - it's about moving from one location to another on the same PC, but it should apply equally to moving computers.

I can't help with the Origin side, I'm afraid.

  • I read an article which started saying if games are already in a different location everything else could be skipped. Well... At least this was what I understood. I think this is going to be really just like the second point. I appreciate your answer. Commented Dec 2, 2013 at 17:52

I did something similar recently. The problems you'll run into with this are pathing issues to your games. Mostly, you'll run into problems with where they are stored and were supposed to be stored before/after the reinstall. Even if they stay in the same physical location, Windows had hooks into your personal folder for Documents and Settings for the save files to different games. While that wouldn't create problems loading the game, it could create problems with launching it if it can't find certain settings.

A quick Google search will find you the answers you need.

Steam: https://support.steampowered.com/kb_article.php?ref=8794-YPHV-2033 Origin: http://www.overclock.net/t/1243814/thread-how-to-backup-origin-games-easily-step-by-step-guide

Steam seems to have a very easy-to-use backup format. Origin, not so. However, it seems that someone else had this same problem and that should point you in the right direction.

  • I've always resolved the Steam path issues by reinstalling Steam over the existing directory. None of the apps are deleted, so all it really does is put the registry keys back, and anything else that's needed for a proper install.
    – MBraedley
    Commented Dec 2, 2013 at 13:36
  • Steam has a very convenient built-in backup method, except for the slight issue that it often (or even usually) doesn't work. You'd be better off just grabbing the entire Steam folder, along with the "My Games" folder in your user folder, assuming you have sufficient space on your backup media, then dropping them back in place post-reformat.
    – Compro01
    Commented Dec 2, 2013 at 14:08
  • Like I answered above, seems this is going to be just path issues. Except for Origin. Seems I need to login in my account, download at least 0.01% of files, close client and only then move game files. Makes sense because if I'm not wrong there is a "Origin" folder in user profiles' application data folder (usually hidden). Commented Dec 2, 2013 at 18:10

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