BoilerUp01 Feb 5 @ 7:29pm
Building a new computer, what's the best way to transfer my steam games?
I'm in the process of piecing together a new gaming computer to upgrade my current 7 year old system. I have a 1TB HDD that I only use for steam and nothing else. Currently it has Steam itself as well as nearly 800GB worth of games installed (almost my whole steam library).

Does anyone know if I can just unplug that hard drive from my old computer and put it into the new computer without messing up any of game installs and saves? I would really like to avoid having to download 800GB of data again.

Thanks!

For those curious, my old comp vs my new one:

Intel Core 2 Quad 2.4ghz -> Intel I7 4770K w/ Noctua NH-D14 Cooler
Cheap PNY mobo -> Asus Z87-PRO
4GB DDR2 -> 16GB Crucial DDR3-1600
Geforce 8800GTX -> 2x MSI Geforce GTX 760 2GB in SLI
Western Digital 7200RPM HDDs -> 512gb Samsung 840 Pro + 2x 1TB WD Black Series HDD
Ancient Antec SX1030B case -> Corsair Carbide 500R case w/ several Noctua fans


Showing 1-15 of 23 comments
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[ROP]Jamebonds1^5 Feb 5 @ 8:42pm 
Ah... good old PNY motherboard :P Sorry, back to topic.

You can drag your game into new hard drive. I must warning you, don't drag "Steam" into new hard drive. it is about 400,000 file which can take a hours and change wrong data of letter drive.

I will tell you how to do that.

Go to (any letter where you installed steam game):\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\

then drag Common folder into new hard drive. same in Steamapps.
Erebus Feb 6 @ 1:23am 
Many games save to the user directoy ie. C/users/<user name>/<games, my games, savegames, game saves, etc> It will vary some by OS. So if you don't want to lose any progress check those locations as well.
Rove Feb 6 @ 1:41am 
No he doesn't want to copy it he just wants to use the new old HDD.

Yes you can use the old HDD as long as they are SATA which it sounds like they are. If they are the directory where Steam was installed as well as the games it should work perfectly. At most you will have to go through the steps for moving a steam installation due to it being a new drive lettter (if you don't set the drive to the same letter that they were before), there is a official info sheet on this, google it.

Erebus Feb 6 @ 1:58am 
Originally posted by Rove:
No he doesn't want to copy it he just wants to use the new old HDD.

Yes you can use the old HDD as long as they are SATA which it sounds like they are. If they are the directory where Steam was installed as well as the games it should work perfectly. At most you will have to go through the steps for moving a steam installation due to it being a new drive lettter (if you don't set the drive to the same letter that they were before), there is a official info sheet on this, google it.
From the sound of it the hard drive is solely for STEAM in which case it wouldn't have ALL the SAVEFILES from the USER FILES on the C DRIVE. Many games store saves outside of the steam file tree.
[ROP]Jamebonds1^5 Feb 6 @ 2:20am 
Originally posted by Rove:
No he doesn't want to copy it he just wants to use the new old HDD.

??? Transfer mean copy or move too.
Rove Feb 6 @ 2:40am 
RIght, you will have to move your OS drive to the new PC also in order to keep your saves.

I assume you have Windows installed on the SSD?

So you need to move the Steam drive and the Windows drive to the new PC and keep the drive letters the same and all should be well.

Most saves that are not in Steam cloud go on your Windows drive, some stay on your Steam drive. It's really all mixed up for each game.

You can also manually find and backup all your saves for each game from your Windows drive and copy them but this is a aweful and tedious way to do it. I hope you just use your SSD/Windows drive in your new PC also.

Again just make sure the drive letters are exactly the same.
Erebus Feb 6 @ 2:42am 
Originally posted by Rove:
RIght, you will have to move your OS drive to the new PC also in order to keep your saves.

I assume you have Windows installed on the SSD?

So you need to move the Steam drive and the Windows drive to the new PC and keep the drive letters the same and all should be well.

Most saves that are not in Steam cloud go on your Windows drive, some stay on your Steam drive. It's really all mixed up for each game.

You can also manually find and backup all your saves for each game from your Windows drive and copy them but this is a aweful and tedious way to do it. I hope you just use your SSD/Windows drive in your new PC also.

Again just make sure the drive letters are exactly the same.
The easiest way is for him to just grab the user account folder, copying the entire OS volume to a new machine is going to cause more problems than going and manually grabbing each save would.
[ROP]Jamebonds1^5 Feb 6 @ 2:43am 
Originally posted by Rove:
RIght, you will have to move your OS drive to the new PC also in order to keep your saves.

I assume you have Windows installed on the SSD?

So you need to move the Steam drive and the Windows drive to the new PC and keep the drive letters the same and all should be well.

Most saves that are not in Steam cloud go on your Windows drive, some stay on your Steam drive. It's really all mixed up for each game.

You can also manually find and backup all your saves for each game from your Windows drive and copy them but this is a aweful and tedious way to do it. I hope you just use your SSD/Windows drive in your new PC also.

Again just make sure the drive letters are exactly the same.

Do you mean one in APPDATA folder instead of Windows drive? I should warning about moving Windows drive to different hard drive. Not everything is going to be copy or move which stop Windows working.
Rove Feb 6 @ 2:58am 
Originally posted by Erebus:
Originally posted by Rove:
RIght, you will have to move your OS drive to the new PC also in order to keep your saves.

I assume you have Windows installed on the SSD?

So you need to move the Steam drive and the Windows drive to the new PC and keep the drive letters the same and all should be well.

Most saves that are not in Steam cloud go on your Windows drive, some stay on your Steam drive. It's really all mixed up for each game.

You can also manually find and backup all your saves for each game from your Windows drive and copy them but this is a aweful and tedious way to do it. I hope you just use your SSD/Windows drive in your new PC also.

Again just make sure the drive letters are exactly the same.
The easiest way is for him to just grab the user account folder, copying the entire OS volume to a new machine is going to cause more problems than going and manually grabbing each save would.


Originally posted by Jamebonds1:
Originally posted by Rove:
RIght, you will have to move your OS drive to the new PC also in order to keep your saves.

I assume you have Windows installed on the SSD?

So you need to move the Steam drive and the Windows drive to the new PC and keep the drive letters the same and all should be well.

Most saves that are not in Steam cloud go on your Windows drive, some stay on your Steam drive. It's really all mixed up for each game.

You can also manually find and backup all your saves for each game from your Windows drive and copy them but this is a aweful and tedious way to do it. I hope you just use your SSD/Windows drive in your new PC also.

Again just make sure the drive letters are exactly the same.

Do you mean one in APPDATA folder instead of Windows drive? I should warning about moving Windows drive to different hard drive. Not everything is going to be copy or move which stop Windows working.

You guys are missing the point. I AM NOT SAYING TO MOVE THE FILES.

I am saying to physically move the HDD & SSD by physically in the real world, while the computer is off, unplugging the SATA connectors from one motherboard and plugging them into another.

Nothing about copy and paste, don't do that.
Erebus Feb 6 @ 3:00am 
Originally posted by Rove:
Originally posted by Erebus:
The easiest way is for him to just grab the user account folder, copying the entire OS volume to a new machine is going to cause more problems than going and manually grabbing each save would.


Originally posted by Jamebonds1:

Do you mean one in APPDATA folder instead of Windows drive? I should warning about moving Windows drive to different hard drive. Not everything is going to be copy or move which stop Windows working.

You guys are missing the point. I AM NOT SAYING TO MOVE THE FILES.

I am saying to physically move the HDD & SSD by physically in the real world, while the computer is off, unplugging the SATA connectors from one motherboard and plugging them into another.

Nothing about copy and paste, don't do that.
HE WOULD STILL NEED TO MOVE THE FILES FOR THE GAMES TO FIND THEM, CAUSE BOOTING OFF THAT HDD AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN.
Rove Feb 6 @ 3:02am 
Why can't he boot off his old OS drive?

I said move the OS drive & the Steam drive. Why can't he boot the OS drive?

I've done this before, to move OS drive to a new computer/motherboard. Had to reactivate Windows with Microsoft via automated telephone service but it still booted absolutely no problem except for the "Activate within 3 days" notice.
Last edited by Rove; Feb 6 @ 3:03am
Erebus Feb 6 @ 3:11am 
Originally posted by Rove:
Why can't he boot off his old OS drive?

I said move the OS drive & the Steam drive. Why can't he boot the OS drive?

I've done this before, to move OS drive to a new computer/motherboard. Had to reactivate Windows with Microsoft via automated telephone service but it still booted absolutely no problem except for the "Activate within 3 days" notice.
Lets see: drivers, licensing, the older machine if it is 7 years old may still be on XP or Vista in which case an upgrade is needed to work properly with new hardware, and lets not forget a clean OS install clears up all the old unecessary junk on one's comp and puts the registry back in a 'fresh' state.

Edit: Segment deleted as I was mistaken.
Last edited by Erebus; Feb 6 @ 3:28am
Rove Feb 6 @ 3:15am 
Not at all true. When you install Windows, be it from OEM recovery disc or from a copy purchased directly from Microsoft, you get a agreement that you have to accept that also include Microsofts warranty to you and your right to transfer your copy to as many new machines as you like as long as you ever only have one copy. This means you either delete the old copy before installing a new one or you move your HDD to the new machine.

He can keep all his files (at least from Windows 7 to 8) if he does a upgrade rather than a fresh install. Even a separate copy of a new OS will also allow the upgrade option. I had Windows 7 and upgraded to 8 even though the copy of 8 I had was full and not the upgrade version, I also kept all my files.
Last edited by Rove; Feb 6 @ 3:16am
Erebus Feb 6 @ 3:27am 
Originally posted by Rove:
Not at all true. When you install Windows, be it from OEM recovery disc or from a copy purchased directly from Microsoft, you get a agreement that you have to accept that also include Microsofts warranty to you and your right to transfer your copy to as many new machines as you like as long as you ever only have one copy. This means you either delete the old copy before installing a new one or you move your HDD to the new machine.

He can keep all his files (at least from Windows 7 to 8) if he does a upgrade rather than a fresh install. Even a separate copy of a new OS will also allow the upgrade option. I had Windows 7 and upgraded to 8 even though the copy of 8 I had was full and not the upgrade version, I also kept all my files.
The odds the 7 year old machine mentioned in the OP is on a recent enough OS to do an in-place upgrade is slim.

Ah, I was somewhat mistaken about the licensing. However I do know that doesn't apply for some of the licenses they have, so if OP wants to do something like this he should probably double-check the terms of his license.
BoilerUp01 Feb 6 @ 5:23am 
While my old comp is running windows 7 Pro, I'm going to do a fresh install. The SSD is brand new, it's not in my current computer. The HDD with all my steam files is a one year old SATA III Black Series Western Digital. I'm thinking that just dropping the Steam HD into my new computer wont work because the games probably leave registry entries, etc on the windows drive when they install, but was hoping that there was some way that I could use the files on the Steam HD to reinstall the games without having to download everything again. Wishful thinking, I know! Thanks for all the replies!
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Date Posted: Feb 5 @ 7:29pm
Posts: 23