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Checkpoint: Split Steam Install Edition


Note: I recently posted this on NeoGAF, but decided to spruce it up a bit for here.

I recently upgraded my OS drive to a OCZ Vertex 2 60 GB solid state drive. Even with Windows 7 and a handful of applications, it has approximately 35 GB worth of free space. That’s more than enough for a game or two, but not my entire Steam directory.

Steam and it likes to keep everything under one directory. So I did a bit of searching to see if I could somehow split my Steam install. Apparently, you can. I found this little trick on the Steam forums. (Note: this only works with Windows Vista and Windows 7)

It essentially works like this:

  1. Install Steam and games on Hard Drive 1
  2. Move required games folder/files to Hard Drive 2
  3. Use Windows command to point Steam to folder on Hard Drive 2

This can be done on a game by game basis. The guide is easy enough to follow, but it’s still a little inconvenient. Then I flipped to the last page of the thread and discovered this SteamTool Library Manager utility which handles the whole process in a nice simple GUI:

I tried the utility and between Civilization V and Crysis: Warhead, my load times were improved by approximately 5 seconds and 15 seconds respectively.

 Hard DriveSolid State Drive
Civilization V42s37s
Crysis: Warhead1m 15s1m

Load times improvements will vary from game to game. Some will give significant improvements while others may not show any. I’ll be trying more games as I get to them.

Until 320 GB or even 120 GB solid state drives become more affordable, this trick is the best we could do. I think it’s ideal for frequently played games and those with horrendous load times.

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