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How to install Steam games in custom directories

I recently installed Steam and noticed that it places all it’s games in a predefined directory with no way of choosing where they should be installed.

I also had a problem with adding games I had already bought outside of Steam to Steam. When I entered the key in Steam and tried to install it I ended up with two copies on my computer, the old pre-Steam install and the new Steam install.

After some searching I found a solution to my problems on the Steam forums.

Basically what you do is to create a symlink from the directory Steam want to use to the old install.

Here’s what I did to get Steam (on Windows XP) to believe my old Frozen Synapse installation was something installed trough Steam:

  1. Install Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools to get linkd.exe
  2. Start Steam and choose to install Frozen Synapse
  3. Immediately stop the install and then turn off Steam
  4. Find the directory Steam created for Frozen Synapse (in my case F:\Steam\steamapps\common\frozen synapse)
  5. Find the directory of my old Frozen Synapse installation (in my case F:\spel\FrozenSynapse)
  6. Open the console by running “cmd” in the run dialog (win + r)
  7. Run the command linkd "F:\Steam\steamapps\common\frozen synapse" "F:\spel\FrozenSynapse"
  8. Start Steam again and continue the Frozen Synapse install

Steam will now quickly finish since all files it needs already exists and pick up the old installation as a Steam installation. Apparently this might not work with all games, but it worked with the ones I needed to do this on.

It’s also possible to install games from Steam in custom directories the same way. Then you just replace step 5 with: “Copy the directory steam created to the wanted location” and then continue with the rest of the steps. This can be useful if you’re low on disk space on the disk where Steam is installed and you have other disks with plenty of space.

Categories: english, games Tags: , ,
  1. :3
    12 May, 2012 at 18:42

    Works like a charm. Thanks you!

  2. :3
    12 May, 2012 at 19:01

    Oh, and one tip. If you can’t get it to work, the source folder needs to be completely empty. If it has stuff in it, delete the local content through steam, re-download it ,and close steam much faster.

  3. 21 November, 2014 at 14:36

    It’s an amazing post in favor of all the web users;
    they will obtain benefit from it I am sure.

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