View Full Version : Doing a Steam back-up for a new PC build and from XP to Win7 - is it possible?

Colonel J
05-09-2011, 06:01 PM
I'm about to build my new gaming PC when the parts arrive later this week. I've got a relatively modest 160GB steam install on my old PC with WinXP. This might be a dumb question...but is it feasible to back up my steam apps install and drop it into the new harddrive on the new PC with a new Win7 64 install? I'm considering just saving a rar of the whole Steam folder tree to a portable drive and then dropping the relevant folders into the Steam apps and saved games area of the new PC. I've not had a particularly good experience with Steam's built-in back-up function (last time I tried it was very very slow and it still seemed to involve a lot of downloading when you restore) so manually seemed a better bet. But will this work, will Steam automatically recognise that the game files are there and patch up anything that's needed, registry entries etc? I'm expecting the answer is probably 'no', but hey it's worth checking.

Plan b is obviously just to redownload everything back into Steam from scratch every night over the next week, just seeing if I can avoid that...

05-09-2011, 06:32 PM
if you copy the .gcf files in the steamapps directory, it should recognise the games, registry entries... I don't know

EDIT: http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1075925 says "yes"

05-09-2011, 06:35 PM
Yes, it's possible.

The easiest way to do this would be to install Steam on the new PC, connect the old and new PC together via the good old Ethernet cable, set up a simple Network share and copy the steamapps folder over. Then open up Steam on the new PC, and hit 'verify integrity of game cache' on all games that don't appear as "ready to play" on the new PC.

RAR-ing and using a portable USB drive is a lot slower.

EDIT: copying the entire Steam folder (games + steam itself) is possible, but may cause some errors with Jump lists and the on-taskbar percentage complete indicator. I did this when upgrading from XP to Win7, and the Steam icon on my taskbar kept flashing. Very annoying, so make sure you get yourself a fresh install of Steam. :)

Colonel J
05-09-2011, 06:45 PM
Excellent, many thanks for the help. I hadn't thought of doing it over LAN, I'll do that for the steamapps and saved games into a fresh install of the steam client, looks like the quickest way by far.

05-09-2011, 07:40 PM
Colonel J, I had to do this a few days ago, due to a windows reinstall. I did as you said, fresh steam install and then just copied the steamapps folder and userdata folders into it. Everything worked fine. Some games behaved as fresh installs, some played immediately, but no problems. Good luck!

06-09-2011, 11:14 PM
You *should* be able to just copy the steamapps folder over. However, I'm pretty sure when I migrated from Win XP 32-bit to Win 7 64-bit, I lost most of my Steam games. It just didn't like it and I had to redownload most of it. IIRC.

07-09-2011, 03:57 AM
Nott 100% on the save games (some might still go to your my docs/my games/some stupid place), but yeah, for the games just copy the steamapps folder. I keep a backup of mine on an external drive and copy them over when I want to play them, to save me re-downloading all the time.