Question Can I store games on USB instead of the "cloud" without issue?

bryanc723

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Jan 1, 2015
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So, i have a lot of digital games. Several TB worth. I figure i can use usbs as a cartridge of sorts to store my games and load them on to my ssd with a usb thumb instead of the internet. I'm thinking it's just drag and drop into the right location and back again when I need the room. Or even just copy and delete. Obviously a nice 10-20tb hdd would be nice, but I already have the thumb drives. And i figure the drives would be faster data transfer anyway. I'm worried about data corruption; also if Epic and Steam would do anything weird and make me re-download the games again anyways.
 

USAFRet

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Mar 16, 2013
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Its not just 'drag and drop'. Almost, but not quite.

Steam has a specific function for moving game installs.

To move an already installed game
Games library
Right click the game
Properties
Local Files
Move Install Folder
 
For some of the game launchers, you can move the files out while the launcher is not running and the next time you launch it, it'll realize the game is no longer there and mark it as uninstalled. I've tested this with Origin, Epic Games Store, and GOG Galaxy. Origin and Epic Games Store, if the game was installed previously and is not in the library folder, will also detect if the game is available when you move the game back in. GOG Galaxy still flagged the game as uninstalled.

In Steam you can still move the game files out, but every game has an appmanifest file that flags the game as "installed." Unless you find which one is for which game (the appmanifest file is unhelpfully named with a number) and delete it, it'll show up in your library as installed.

In any case, for every game launcher, if the files are in the library path for that launcher and you ask to install the game, more often than not, the game launcher will detect the files are there, do some verification, download any files that are missing or need updating, and it'll be available.

tl;dr: yes, you can move the files most of the time to another drive for cold storage and most game launchers will figure out the game is no longer there on their next startup. Except Steam because it has another separate file. You can then move it back to the game launcher's library folder when you want to play them again and when you "install" it, the launcher will simply find out the files are there.
 

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