How To: Split a Steam Install (Vista/Win7)


For those of you who like me have a massive library on Steam and would love some of those games to be able to fit on your SSD for super fast gaming read on!

I found a nice little guide that will allow you to move steam games from one drive to another without steam kicking up a fuss. Allowing you to install Steam on your large storage drive and move those games that take ages to load to your SSD.

This requires full elevated administrative rights on the system in question.

Using this method it is possible to have Steam and games installed on a conventional hard drive, with commonly used games installed on a second drive/raid array/SSD.

Important to note is that this works at the operating system level, and Steam won't be aware of any difference.

This can be done for folders (Steamapps/User/Team Fortress 2) and files (Steamapps/Team Fortress 2 Content.cfg). I detail both below.


1. Install Steam and games on Hard Drive 1
2. Move required games folder/files to Hard Drive 2
3. Use Windows command to point Steam to folder on Hard Drive 2

Detaild Insructions:
Step 1:
Install Steam/Games on drive of your choice. I recommend a mid sized (500GB) 7200rpm Hard Drive

Step 2:
Move the games you want to change location to your chosen new location. I recommend a supafast SSD of awesomeness.
E.g: You want the files for TF2 on your SSD, copy "Steam/Steamapps/User/TeamFortress2" and everything in it to the new location.

Step 3:
Use the CMD prompt command "mklink" to forge the pointer for the folder.

mklink /J "C:\Program Files (x86)\Games\Steam\steamapps\<user>\team fortress 2" "E:\Steam\Steamapps\<user>\team fortress 2"

Done! Now, whenever Steam looks for the TF2 folder, Windows will point it to the "E" drive location specified instead of "C" (change drives letters/paths as required).


Now that is all very well and good for folders, but much of TF2's content is stored in GCF files. As these are in the Steamapps folder, it would be inefficent to redirect the whole folder. Fortunatly we can redirect this too:

Step 1:
As above, install Steam/Games on drive of your choice.

Step 2:
Move the specific file you wish to the new location.

Step 3:
Arrange the hard link for the file.

mklink /H "C:\Program Files (x86)\Games\Steam\steamapps\team fortress 2 content.cfg" "E:\Steam\Steamapps\team fortress 2 content.cfg"

NOTE: For files, use "mklink /H" as the parameter. For folders and directories, use "mklink /J" as the parameter.

The great thing about this is that since it is done at the operating system level, Steam is unaware of any changes. As such is is next to impossible (i.e. Valve would have to do it on purpose) for this to be broken by updates! Updates and addons will automatically be installed to the new location!

Just to be clear, the quotes are required in the filepaths, as otherwise CMD thinks a space is the end of the path (e.g. it sees "Program Files" as "Program").
Secondly it seems you need to delete the original files after doing it. So make sure they are removed.


Found this tool that does the work for you! It will work with all non vavle games as they are all stored on a folder by folder basis.
Vavle games ie TF2, CS:S, HL2 etc will not work with this tool and the author has actually hidden them from the tool so you can't do it. This is due to the indavidual files Steam has for them all over the place.

Very handy tool and saves ALOT of work, tested and works perfectly with the 4-5 games I have moved to my SSD.

Known Issues

* Many Valve games are not listed in SteamTool, since the resources for Valve games are often stored as files within a single folder. SteamTool can only move games that are stored in their own individual folders.
* Windows XP and 2003 are incompatible with SteamTool because of incomplete support for junctions in Windows Explorer. If you're using Windows XP or 2003, you might try the Link Shell Extension instead.
* User Account Control may require SteamTool to be run with administrative privileges to create links.