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Windows Storing program files for the same program in multiple locations (Steam)

Discussion in 'Software' started by Unicorn, 28 Mar 2010.

  1. Unicorn

    Unicorn Uniform November India

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    [edit] This is a two part thread: Part one regarding steam and part two regarding my experiences in general of moving from a fast hard disk to an SSD.

    I'm going to put a new drive in my PC tomorrow and make it the primary (system) disk. I'd like to know if it's possible to store steam game files in multiple locations. I want to keep all the games that I currently have installed, but the new drive is less than half the size of my current hard drive and to achieve this, I'd need to be able to store the most frequently played games (say, games A, B and C) on one drive, and the rest (to exaggerate the number of games here, games D-Z) on the larger hard drive. I will also be doing this with many of the other programs, but Steam is the only program that needs to be able to "share" drives because the rest of the software will be stored on either Disk 0 or Disk 1. This may be totally impossible, but if anyone can shed some light on it for me before my new drive arrives in the morning, I'd appreciate it. I'm spending today pairing down the old primary disk by backing up files to my server in order to have a small enough partition to mirror to the new, smaller drive.
     
    Last edited: 30 Mar 2010
  2. DK63

    DK63 Resident magpie

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    I don't think this is possible. When you install a Steam game, you don't get the option of where to locate it, it goes where Steam says so.
    Your best bet is to install Steam onto the larger, secondary drive. That should work fine then.
    Why are you moving to a smaller primary drive? Are you moving to an SSD?
     
  3. Unicorn

    Unicorn Uniform November India

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    Yeah I'm moving to an SSD as my system disk. I've learned since posting this that performance in most of the games that I play most frequently and would want to store on the primary will only be decreased by a negligible amount by keeping them on the old secondary disk, which is a 300GB Velociraptor. There's more on this subject here. Given this, I'm reasonable happy to just use the Velociraptor (and the Raptor X that lives above it) as the secondary store for Steam games and data.
     
  4. masterjonny

    masterjonny New Member

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    I looked into a similar situation when pondering whether or not to take the SSD plunge. The best solution I could find was a bit of a sticky work around.

    Download your games onto your primary drive as you would normally. Ones you don't play so often literally cut the files onto the second drive (D-Z) and leave your most frequent games on your primary drive.

    As you go through 'phases' of games, you can paste them back into your steam folder where it will detect them and flag them as installed in the games window.

    This might not sound ideal but it achieves the desired effect and does mean you only have to wait ~5 mins to play a game, instead of hours of downloading time.

    This is just like using the steam 'backup' games option, except that takes forever, whereas cutting the files only takes the time to get some tea and biscuits :D
     
  5. Unicorn

    Unicorn Uniform November India

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    Yeah, I already use the "backup game files" option extensively to avoid downloading everything every time I change PCs or hard drives. You option sounds workable but as you say, it's a bit sticky. I'm going to have a go at a slightly different solution when I get the drive installed tomorrow and I'll post the results here. It basically involves having two copies of steam installed on the system, one on each drive.
     
  6. masterjonny

    masterjonny New Member

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    Best of luck with that one! Without a portable installation mode I assume it will set flags and registry entries, appdata etc, so expect it to seriously complain if you try and install it twice.

    Let us know it goes :D
     
  7. Zurechial

    Zurechial Elitist

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    What I would do in that situation is to install Steam and all of the games to the larger drive, then move the A-C games to the smaller drive and create symlinks to those moved files in the location where steam expects to find them (on the larger drive).
    Or vice versa, by reinstalling Steam and the A-C games to the smaller drive and create symlinks pointing to the rest of the games on the larger drive.

    The former might be best, since I have a feeling there's a flaw in the Vista/Win7 filesystem that causes it to count symlinks towards the used space of the drive they're on, but I can't be sure of that - It may just be some FUD I picked up elsewhere.

    You're probably already familiar with symlinks, but here's more info if you need a refresh:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NTFS_symbolic_link
     
  8. Unicorn

    Unicorn Uniform November India

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    Thanks for posting Zurechial, yes I've already used symlinks in a couple of other applications and came across it again via a link in this thread.
     
  9. knuck

    knuck Hate your face

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    are you fcking kidding me ? I was testing this last night and I expected to come on this board like a savior and make a tutorial about it... and now you guys are already doing it ? DAMN. I missed on a lot of rep right there

    heh

    I did try it and it does work but for some reason TF2 would update after I did it and I found it annoying so after multiple tests I did not come to any conclusion and the last time TF2 updated (after I put back all the original files in the folder) I think it redownloaded the whole damn game

    Symbolic links are a great idea for this and they do work, but there is still a major problem : we don't know what files a game uses in the steam folder (at least not all of them)
     
    Unicorn likes this.
  10. Unicorn

    Unicorn Uniform November India

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    Damn, sorry dude - I didn't mean to steal your thunder! :( I'm fairly sure I at least used to know exactly what files CSS used from the various steam folders, as I've been messing around with them since it launched :hehe: I used to write scripts, mods and configs as well as create materials and textures add-ins for it up until I stopped playing on a regular basis at the start of last year. The last thing I wrote was a fairly simple and dull v6 of my own league match config for my new rig configuration. At that point though, the way steam used the files and the location that it stored a lot of them in had changed pretty drastically from when I started tinkering a few years previously. For all I know, it has changed again since.

    Like I said, I'm going to make a good stab at it tomorrow and see if I can make it play nice. To be honest, I just can't freaking wait to get my grubby mits on that Vertex :D There may be another on the way for my laptop if I'm suitably impressed (which I believe I will be).

    By the way, who's your new avatar? Rep++ for both her and for accidentally stealing your thread idea :rolleyes:
     
  11. knuck

    knuck Hate your face

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    rofl thanks for the rep :hehe:

    which vertex are you going to get ? I am seriously considering buying an SSD with my tax return but I don't want to pay over 300. I found an X25-M 80GB (34nm) for 250$CAN and so far it seems like the best purchase there is

    Nina Dobrev, a little Canadian girl ;) (she wasn't born here however)

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Unicorn

    Unicorn Uniform November India

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    It's an OCZ vertex 120. According to Custom PC's latest SSD labs test, it's the fastest SSD you can buy for less than £900. It's big brother, the Vertex EX with the same capacity is something like £950 compared to the Vertex's £300 and is therefore only worth buying if you are going to use it in a server. If you need to spend less than $300 CAD (Roughly £200) then you'll need to go for a lower capacity version, or settle for a slightly slower disk. The disk that won the labs test on bang-per-buck and beat the Vertex to the gold award only beasue it was considerably cheaper at the time was the Crucial M225. I didn't go for it when ordering becasue the price difference between its 128GB version and the Vertex 120 has since dropped to a mere £10.
     
  13. knuck

    knuck Hate your face

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    interesting. I just found the 64GB M225 for 200$ (129£) on newegg. Damnit now I want to take 2 :hehe:

    I want to make sure it supports TRIM before I do anything stupid though ... So many SSDs... so many firmwares

    edit: they also have the X25 (34nm) 80GB for 235$ (152£) ! Damn it
     
    Last edited: 29 Mar 2010
  14. Unicorn

    Unicorn Uniform November India

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    My disk didn't arrive today :grr: Apparently, when a certain company tells you that an item was shipped via city link (hint for the UK members) on Saturday morning at 11am, they actually meant that they had no intention of shipping it until I called them today and enquired as to why it wasn't in the City Link computer system yet. Loud sigh. Apparently it's coming tomorrow, along with the rest of the stuff I ordered the same day from a different company with less than half the postage costs on it. I am unimpresed.
     
  15. Unicorn

    Unicorn Uniform November India

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    I took delivery of my new disk today along with the other goodies I bought for one of my own systems and for someone elses, and took a while this evening to mirror my stripped down copy of Win7 to the new system drive. For those who don't know about it, I use Acronis True Image 2010 for this via a WinXP X86 boot drive. Once I'd chopped the 300GB Velociraptor partition down to less than 100GB, Acronis had no problem mirroring it to the SSD in less than an hour. The system booted first time and I changed all the necessary registry keys to make the old 300GB drive my default library location. Everything was then restored to the libraries from the server and the testing began. Here's an idea of what to expect from the worlds fastest hard drive (Velociraptor) when pitted against one of the worlds fastest Solid State Disks (OCZ Vertex 120):

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I'm sure I don't need to point out which is which ;) I haven't moved any Steam files yet. It's been snowing heavily here since lunch time, and the wind is also gusting really hard. Our lights are flickering every minute or so at this point and I'm expecting the power to go off shortly, so I don't want to start messing around with Steam tonight in case it gets cut off in the middle of something! I have my two favourite lights sitting beside me at the desk, A Dereelight DBS V3 and a Limited edition Titanium RA Clicky - more than enough light for one person should the inevitable happen :thumb:
     
  16. knuck

    knuck Hate your face

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    excellent :D

    I was curious and compared your velociraptor to my two first gen 37GB raptors in RAID0

    [​IMG]

    quite disappointing to be honest

    So I thought I could compare the results to a 7200rpm drive aimed for performance

    WD Black 640GB

    [​IMG]

    Then I wanted to know how density would affect performance

    Samsung EcoGreen F2 1.5TB (which was said to be 7200rpm but apparently is 5400rpm...)

    [​IMG]







    interesting results
     
  17. Unicorn

    Unicorn Uniform November India

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    Those are definately interesting. It seems the higher density of the Samsung makes quite a difference to performance. Also, your pair of Raptors in RAID aren't all that far behind the Velociraptor. I'm going to put the 150GB Raptor X and my original 74GB Raptor (yes, I like WD hard drives ;)) back into this machine tomorrow and test them. I have money on the RX beating all but the Vertex and maybe (again because of data density) the Velociraptor.
     
  18. knuck

    knuck Hate your face

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    apparently newegg shipped the ssd today. I don't have a tracking number yet but I am hoping it will be there waiting for me tomorrow night after (presumably) one hell of a sht day lmao

    I'm a little disgusted to know that my F2 is only 5400 rpm. No wonder it was so cheap... I just checked the original email my order and the name of product did say it was 7200 rpm


    meh, it was still a great purchase. 1.5TB for 120$

    EDIT: When I tested the Black, which was right after testing the two raptors, I realized how freaking loud these things were :hehe:
     
  19. Unicorn

    Unicorn Uniform November India

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    Yeah, lots of desktop drives these days are 5400 rpm. My Caviar green drives are all like that but again, they're ~£65 for 1TB of storage, and being in a file server, they save a little on the runnig cost of the thing too. Cheap to buy, cheap to run, same resulting storage capacity. Win :)
     
  20. Krikkit

    Krikkit All glory to the hypnotoad! Super Moderator

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    The green's aren't 7200 or 5400, they're set to the quietest/smoothest rotating speed at the factory, hence why the performance varies wildly between drives.

    My 74GB raptor boot drive is looking rather aged now:
    [​IMG]
     

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