I want to update from Windows 7 32-bit to 64-bit. How do I protect my Steam games?
Most, if not all, of the Steam games I have are 32 bit, and the client is only 32-bit, so they're all run with WoW64. If you're going to be reformatting your hard drive, you can back up the game files to avoid redownloading fairly easily.
- In the Steam client, go to "Steam" >> "Backup and Restore Games..." >> "Backup currently installed games" and select where to store the content.
- Install Windows/whatever
- Reinstall Steam client
- Open the client, go to the same backup/restore dialog, but select "Restore a previous backup", and point it where they were saved.
Steam only has a 32-bit version, so it's quite easy to transfer between Windows 7 versions. Here's what I did:
- Copy the
C:\Program Files\to backup.
- Install Windows, whatever, do your thing
- Install Steam.
- Copy the backed up
C:\Program Files (x86)\, overwriting what you just installed.
Steam's pretty good at detecting anomalies and fixing them or updating, so I wouldn't be too worried about having conflicts after you copy the folder over. I certainly didn't have any problems.
(By "protect" I assumed you meant you want to keep your downloads, so you don't have to download them again. Steam will let you re-download/re-install your games, of course, so you don't need to de-register them or anything. You might want to de-register games that also use a third-party activation like EA's or Games for Windows Live, if you can, but that's a different question.)
I keep steam in a games folder on a seperate drive. Once windows finishes installing, I then install steam on top of itself on the second drive and it picks up everything when it launches perfectly as it was, even when I changed from XP 32 to windows 7 64. Some games may come in 64bit flavor and you'll want to re-download those.