Setting Up & Using a “Steam Partition”

September 28, 2011, By Christian Cawley

If you’re concerned about losing your Steam games when you next have to reinstall Windows, or expect a problem with your Windows disk which may necessitate a replacement, then fear not!

Even with a broadband Internet connection a large library of games on Steam could take a while to download again. So why not take heed of the following extremely cool tip which will save you a lot of time and pretty much let you start playing your Steam games the moment your new Windows installation is complete and Steam has been reinstalled?

It’s all made possible thanks to what I call a “Steam Partition”, a hard disk drive or partition that is dedicated for use purely for running Steam and storing your games library.

Using this you can consider your Steam games pretty much indestructible except in cases of extreme data loss.

Setting Up & Using a

Setting Up a Steam Partition

In Windows, open Start > Computer and spend a few moments surveying your disk space. If you have a large portion of storage sat doing nothing (this must be an internal, e-SATA or USB 3.0 hard disk) then this is perfect for the next step.

You will need to use some disk partition software to create a new partition on your computer. This will be used for installing Steam and storing your games library. The size of the library will determine the size of the partition, so make sure you choose accordingly.

Once the partition is setup, it is time to install Steam.

If you already have Steam on your computer, you will need to uninstall it, as well as the games. This will of course mean that you need to download the games again, but this is the last time you will ever need to do this. In your Steam library, right-click each installed title and select Delete Local Content and wait for each game to be removed (copying the contents to the new partition might work, but has mixed results).

Next, use the uninstall method to remove the Steam client. Restart Windows and then install the latest version of Steam into the new partition. Once this is done, begin downloading your games library again.

Steam Partition and Disaster Recovery

The beauty of the Steam partition is that once setup, you never have to download your games library again. If your Windows drive fails or you decide to reinstall the operating system, all you need to do is reinstall Steam into the same folder location on the Steam Partition.

You will be amazed to see all of your games, apparently fully installed and ready to play. This is thanks to some changes that have been made to the way in which Steam works, and is a great disaster recovery option for any avid gamer!

Additional hint from the Editor: If you install the Steam partition on your boot drive, I recommend backing it up once in a while.  If you have a head crash on the boot drive, your other partitions will be useless.

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