Sooner or later it happens to everyone to have to “move” things from one PC to another, perhaps because you have bought a brand new one, faster and more powerful. If you use games on Steam, one of the problems you may encounter is downloading times. It’s true, Steam allows you to download games from any location, but some games are really huge and you could lose hours to download them. And if there was a way to bring along at least some of the files from the old PC to the new PC, to shorten the time a bit? If you asked yourself this question you can already breathe a sigh of relief: you can create and restore backups on Steam.
You can proceed either using the integrated system in Steam, or creating the backup manually. In this way you can speed up the download of the games on the new location because the files you already have will not be downloaded from the server.
Be careful though: backups made with the automatic mode are not always “complete”, so in the recovery phase you could find yourself without multiple files and still have to start all over again. However I will explain both procedures even if, personally, I suggest you opt for manual mode.
If you have not yet downloaded the Steam client on your PC, you can do it from the following link.
LINK | Steam
Create backups on Steam
There are two ways to create backups on Steam: the built-in mode in the client and the manual mode.
Start Steam and click on Library; Now look for the game for which you want to backup files, right-click on it and select ” Back up game files … “. Put the check mark on the game (or games) you want to save and click on Next and, in the next window, choose the path where you want to save the files of your backup and click on Next.
At this point choose a name for the backup and, if you need it (if you need to copy it on a particular device for example) choose the format of the media you will use; in this way Steam will create many small files that will fit into the single medium. When you need to restore the backup you will need all the files created. If you do not need this option and save your file to a device with sufficient memory, select Custom Size and enter a size (in MB) greater than the final size of the backup.
At this point the big thing is done: Steam will start to create the backup file (s) you requested.
You will find the file (or files) containing the backup in the folder you chose at the beginning: you can now copy them to the new PC using appropriate support.
NOTE: in this part of the guide I will assume that you have installed the games in the default Steam folder, ie C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common. If not, remember to change this route with yours in the rest of the guide.
Press the WIN + R key combination and write the following command
explorer "C:\Program Files(x86)\Steam\steamapps\common"
Search now for the game folder you want to save the files to; keep in mind, however, that for some games, Steam will use abbreviations – for example the “Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Plan folder will be called “MGS_TPP”.
Now take the folder and simply copy it on the new PC: your backup is nice and ready! But remember that, for some games, saved files can weigh even tens of GB, so keep a sufficiently large device (even an external disk) to copy them.
Restore backup to Steam
There are two methods to restore backup to Steam: using the built-in mode in the client or the manual procedure.
Install Steam on your new PC, open the program and log in with your account. After that, click on the Steam menu and select Backup and restore of games …
… then Restore existing backup. At this point select the folder in which you saved the file (or files) backup previously created with the integrated mode, click on Next and wait for the end: you will have thus terminated the procedure to restore backup on Steam.
NOTE: Also here I will assume that you have installed the games in the default Steam folder, ie C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common. If not, remember to change this route with yours in the rest of the guide.
Install Steam on the new PC and log in with your account but do not download any games. Now close Steam completely, press the WIN + R key combination and write the following command
explorer "C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common"
Now take the folder of the game you are interested in previously copied (even more folders at a time, if you want) and move it (or move it) to the folder you just opened. Wait for the procedure to be completed, re-open Steam and install the game (or games) that you have restored the backup: as if by magic, you will notice that Steam will take much less time because it will be able to automatically recognize and import the files you have copied by hand! After this procedure to restore backup on Steam you are ready to play!
And the bailouts?
Unfortunately there is no general rule that tells you where Steam saves files related to the progress of the games; they could be saved in the Documents folder of your PC, or on the Steam Cloud or in both places! Even if your progress on Steam is almost always with you, I suggest you to always look at your documents folder in search of various rescues and, just to be sure, to create a copy!