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I had Grand Theft Auto V on an old hard drive and moved it to my new SSD. I pressed "install" and it said it was "discovering game files". After that was finished, it began to download, saying it was a 68.5 gigabyte download.

Why would it download the whole game if it was already there? I don't want to have to download it again?

  • You copied the launcher not the game files. You do not need to worry however. Just let it do its thing – Guy named Jon Oct 14 '16 at 7:45
  • Best way to save time is to hit install first, let Steam create the data structure, then close Steam, copy the old stuff to the new drive and restart Steam again. Also it doesn't necessarily download 68 gig, it's merely checking them, if the files are already there. – dly Oct 14 '16 at 9:32
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The most likely reason for this is that you have copied over an earlier version of the game. GTA 5 receives regular updates, and the way GTA 5 is installed involves a smaller amount of larger files, instead of a larger amount of smaller files.

Steam, when updating, just checks if your file is different from the same file in the most recent version. if it is, it redownloads it along with any missing files. It can't download just the changes, it has to download the entire file.

Considering GTA 5 had the Biker DLC update only a few days ago, it's possible that the vast majority of files has been changed, causing them all to be different from what you have on your SSD and require redownloading.

There isn't really a way around this. In theory, you could find someone who has already patched the game, copy over their files and then do the check again, but unless both drives are really fast, that would probably take a long time, to the tune of hours.

Update: Apparently, if you move over appmanifest_<gameid>.acf from the steamapps directory together with your game files, Steam will know what version of the game you have copied over and know how to update from there.

  • If you move game from one Steam library to another, just move appmanifest_<gameid>.acf from steamapps directory together with game folder from steamapps/common. .acf file contains information about game version so Steam will just download updates, not whole game again. You should change last paragraph in your answear. – Piotr Kowalski Oct 16 '16 at 17:03

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