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I am currently downloading my Steam Library to a 4TB Portable Harddrive which when i want to play a game, i copy off from onto my gaming PC, whichever it may be (in the event i do a new build).

At the moment while i am not close to filling up the harddrive i want to be prepared for if it happens. so what i would like to do is to be able to download games into a second, third, forth harddrive if need be, but in a way that doesn't require me in having all the harddrives plugged up at the same time when i access Steam so that Steam will show that they are all installed. ie

  • Laptop has Steam Installed on C:
  • Harddrive A has 300 games downloaded onto it and becomes full
  • Steam downloads onto Harddrive B until it is full
  • Steam still indicates that games on Harddrive A are installed even when it's unplugged
  • when Harddrive A is not plugged in none of Harddrive A's games are redownloaded onto another harddrive
  • updates for Harddrive A's games don't get downloaded unless Harddrive A is plugged in
  • repeat process of each other harddrive (if Harddrive B is unplugged and i have A plugged in or i get a third Harddrive C)

How can i go about doing this?

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Steam offers configuration for multiple locations of your game library across an arbitrary amount of drives. To set additional folders, navigate to Settings > Downloads and select "Steam Library Folders". You can manage all of your game folders in here.

Steam settings menu for library folders

After that you can easily move your installed games from one location to another by right-clicking the game in your Library overview, navigating to Properties > Local Files and then selecting "Move Install Folder...".

Local Files interface of Steam game

When downloading a new game (or reinstalling one), you can choose the install location from your configured library locations in the download interface beneath the "Choose location for install..." message.

Steam download interface with install locations

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Steam allows you to have multiple libraries, across multiple hard disks. You can add new libraries by going to Steam->Settings->Downloads, and choosing the first option on the right: Steam Library Folders.

Steam->Settings->Downloads->Steam Library Folders

Assuming you have the disk you want to install on connected, and already created a library there, it will show up in the installation pop-up menu.

Select installation location in Steam

Alternatively, you can use Steam Mover to make Steam think your games are in a certain folder (for example on A:) while they are actually somewhere else. You have to install them in that certain folder first, but can move them afterwards.

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I use a program called GamePipe to move installed games back and forth between different drives.

It won't automatically switch to downloading on drive B when drive A gets full, but moving games between your various library locations is a simple drag-and-drop process. It also updates the .acf files, so Steam knows where to find the games you moved without you needing to do anything else.

Steam continues to display all games as installed (the list text is white), even when the external drive is not available. (Although, IIRC, the "Play" button will become "Install" so you can tell if it's "there" or not.)

It will not automatically re-download your games onto drive B when drive A is disconnected (although I haven't actually tried launching a game installed on drive A when drive A is not connected - I expect there would be an error, or it might ask if you want to install.)

It does not download updates for games on drive A if drive A is not connected (that I've noticed, anyway.) It definitely WILL download updates for those games when drive A IS connected, though. AFAIK, it puts the updates on the drive where the game is stored.

Steam itself has support for multiple libraries these days. GamePipe can handle as many as you can set up in Steam, AFAIK.

(Most of this functionality is just Steam itself, really. GamePipe just makes make the process of moving games between drives easy-peasy.)

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When downloading a game on steam it will ask you where you want to download the game, just simply click the drop-down bar and it should show you your connected hard drives, just select it and it will download onto that drive. (you can also store game shortcuts in files labeled to the hard drive they're in, like having Skyrim under 'hard drive A,' and having Minecraft under 'hard drive B,' just as an example.)

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