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Do you want to move your Steam games to another computer or take your Steam Library wherever you go? There are several other ways to put Steam games on a flash drive.
In this article, we’ll show you how to put your steam games on a flash drive and have access to your favorite Steam games on the go.
Table of Contents
Your flash drive size and speed will be critical determinants in the game transfer process.
For starters, you will not be able to transfer a large Steam folder to a small drive. Also, if your flash drive has slow read and write speeds, you will likely experience issues moving the game from your computer’s drive C.
The slow response issue may extend to your computer when playing resource-intensive games.
We recommend using a 64GB USB 3.2 flash drive (at minimum), such as the Kingston DataTraveler Kyson (available on Amazon.com).
The Kingston is a compact, metal-bodied flash drive that’s easy to carry wherever you go. This drive can read and write your game content at a higher-than-average speed. Using a large drive will ensure you don’t worry about poor gameplay experience, especially when playing smaller games.
If 64 gigs is not an option, you can get away with an 8GB flash drive, depending on your game folder size. However, it is advisable to go for the highest storage you can find if you wish to hold more gaming content in your flash drive.
Note: Your flash drive must be well-secured in the computer’s USB port when moving the Steam folder. Also, avoid any movements that can sever the connection, as they may lead to a repetition of the transfer procedure and require you to restart the Steam client.
First, make sure the Steam application is closed. Then look for the Steam folder.
If you haven’t deliberately moved the primary Steam folder on your computer, it should be in the default file path:
C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common
To find this folder, right-click the Steam client shortcut on your desktop and select Properties. Clicking should open a new window displaying various Steam properties. Click on the General tab to view the file location.
You can also click on the Shortcut tab to view the target location and folder.
If you deliberately moved the primary Steam folder to a different drive, locate it and copy it.
Pasting your games to your flash drive is the simplest part of the process. Simply copy the primary Steam folder and paste it into your flash drive. Now, you have your games on the flash drive.
In addition to the games, you may want to save the player profiles on your flash drive.
By default, some games save this information in a separate folder in your Documents or someplace else on your computer. Locate these separate files and paste them into your flash drive as well.
When done, eject your flash drive from your computer the right way.
- Go to Windows Explorer.
- Locate your flash drive from the left panel.
- Right-click on it and select eject.
Yanking out your flash drive may corrupt the data in your flash drive.
Now that you have the games on your flash drive, you need a way to retrieve and play them on your current or new laptop. You can achieve this by launching Steam on your computer.
- Insert your flash drive into the new computer.
- Go to your new Steam folder.
- Double-click on the Steam application to open a new User Account Control Window.
- Grant permission to make changes on your computer.
- Complete the setup and launch the application. Once Steam detects a new computer, you must verify your email by typing in a code sent by Steam Support.
As you can see, putting your Steam games on a flash drive is straightforward. But there are other ways to get your favorite games on your flash drive.
It is worth pointing out that external hard disks and solid-state drives are more efficient and better performers for storing gaming content.
While having an external hard drive is the most reliable way to store games downloaded from Steam, there are additional steps to store your games on a flash drive.
Did you know that you can easily move the Steam folder on your computer by dragging and dropping it into the new drive? All you need is a formatted external drive, then follow these simple steps.
- First, turn off Steam. Windows will prompt you to close the program before executing the transfer.
- Next, drag and drop the Steam folder into the target location (your flash drive).
Doing this moves the Steam folder to a new drive. The process may take a while, depending on the folder’s contents (large files move slower) and the drive’s speed.
This process also works well if you’re moving your Steam folder and all its contents into a dedicated gaming hard drive/SSD on your computer.
To use it, we recommend reinstalling the application setup (Steam.exe), which you can find in the folder you just moved. Reinstalling the Steam setup file refreshes your shortcuts in the new folder location.
Adding a new Steam Library folder lets Steam recognize your flash drive as an additional folder to store your games. Here’s how you can go about it.
- Plug in your flash drive on an open USB port.
- Create a new folder in the drive and rename it.
- Next, launch the Steam application and navigate to the top menu.
- Click Steam in the top left corner and select Settings > Downloads.
- Click on STEAM LIBRARY FOLDERS, which allows you to remove or add a new content location.
- Steam may identify the drives connected to your computer or only display folders that have been added to Steam Library folders. In that case, you want to click on Add Library Folders.
- Select your drive from the drop-down list and then select Add.
- Navigate back to your primary Steam folder to display the available games. Next, select all the games you want to move and select Move.
- Close the application and eject your flash drive.
These activities are particularly important if you’re running on a metered internet connection that charges more when you exceed your monthly limit. Adding your flash drive to Steam’s recognized library folders eliminates the need to bear with low internet speed. You no longer have to download large amounts of content.
For a more detailed explanation of how to move your games between drives, watch the video below:
Be sure to create a backup for your steamapps folder. Steam warns that problems in moving games between drives may warrant a reinstallation of individual games—a backup acts as insurance against massive data loss.
Another easy way to put your Steam games on a flash drive is to create a backup in your local drive and move the backup files to the flash drive.
Unfortunately, this comes with some caveats. For instance, Steam clarifies that most games that use third-party installers will not be backed up. Additionally, any custom files must be located in the following path to be backed up –
C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\<game name>\
That said, here’s how to back up your games on Steam:
- Open your Steam Library.
- Right-click on the game and go to Properties.
- Go to Backup game files on the Local Files tab and select all the games you want to back up.
- Click Next. By default, the system creates a backup folder in the primary steam folder.
- Start the backup process.
- When complete, open the backup files and drag them to your flash drive.
We recommend formatting your drive before moving Steam games to your flash drive. The formatting creates a clean space for the transfer and allows for a smooth process. Also, ensure that any games to be moved are first installed on your computer in the primary Steam folder.
You should be able to run Steam games from a flash drive without lagging issues. However, we do not think it’s such a good idea. For starters, the load times of a USB flash drive could be excruciatingly long.
Worse, your USB would struggle to keep up with the read/write operations occurring when you play big games.
Large file formats demand intensive storage usage, which translates to thousands of operations that a flash drive may be unable to keep up with. The result is a burnt-out flash drive or a poor gaming experience.
Here are a few reasons that might make you reconsider using a USB flash drive to play games:
1. Speed and performance issues
When running games from a flash drive, you can expect a noticeable drop in performance. Flash drives are much slower than traditional hard drives and SSDs. This slowdown can be especially evident when playing games that require high-end graphics or quick loading times.
2. Compatibility issues
Another issue with using flash drives for gaming is compatibility. Many games require specific hardware configurations to run properly. If your computer does not meet the game’s hardware requirements, it will likely not work correctly – even if it is stored on a flash drive.
3. The constant risk of data corruption
Finally, data corruption is always risky when using a flash drive as your primary storage source for gaming files. Since flash drives are more prone to physical damage than other forms of external storage media (such as solid-state drives), so they can easily become corrupted if exposed to rough handling.
For these reasons, it would be better to stick to a faster SSD in your system. Solid-state drives are inherently capable of delivering superior performance over traditional hard drives, making them a great pick for gamers who want the best performance out of their gaming setup.
As opposed to traditional hard drives, which utilize spinning platters to read and write data, SSDs use electrical circuitry that allows for near-instant access to files. This results in noticeably faster load times for games and applications.
If an SSD is out of your budget, you might get away with a larger flash drive, starting from 256GB and higher for larger games. The more storage you have for your games, the better.
Steam offers video games from independent developers and AAA titles from major publishers like Ubisoft or Electronic Arts. You can find everything from puzzle games to first-person shooters and roleplaying games.
You’ll need a computer with an internet connection and a free account on the Steam website to get started. Then follow the steps to play your games.
- Install the free Steam client software onto your computer.
- Launch the client software and log in using your newly created account.
Now you’re ready to start downloading and playing your favorite games! Steam also allows users to play offline games with limited or no internet. However, some client features will be offline when not connected to the internet.
To move your games to a flash drive, find a drive with at least 8GB; the larger, the better. Find the primary Steam folder in your computer, then copy and paste it into your flash drive. You can also drag and drop the primary Steam folder to your drive or add your flash drive to the Steam library folders.
It isn’t a good idea to run games from a USB unless you have a particularly large flash drive with at least 256GB capacity.
- SmartSocial: What Are Steam Games?
- PCgamesforsteam: What is Steam?
- Corsair Community: Steam to Go and a Large USB Flash Drive
- Ask Ubuntu: How Can I Install A Steam game On A Flash Drive
- YouTube:(2022) How to Transfer Installed Steam Games Across Storage Devices
- HowtoGeek: How to Painlessly Move Your Steam Library to Another Folder or Hard Drive
- Steam Powered: Moving a Steam Installation and Games
- Steam Powered: Using the Steam Backup Feature
- Partition Wizard: Can You Run a Game from a USB Flash Drive? [Partition Manager]
- Reddit: Can you play steam games off a 128GB flash drive?