How to Move PC Games to a Different Hard Drive Efficiently

June 23, 2024
Justin Lumiere

For avid gamers, managing game storage efficiently is crucial, especially with the increasing sizes of games today. Moving games to a secondary hard drive can be an effective strategy to free up space and improve performance. Here’s a detailed guide on transferring your game libraries across different platforms.

Storage Limitations and Game Sizes

Modern games can be exceptionally large. Titles like "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare" can take up over 200GB, consuming a significant portion of your SSD. Managing this is vital to ensure your primary drive doesn't get overloaded, affecting overall performance.

Platform-Specific Methods

Steam

Steam offers a built-in feature for moving games. You can add a new library folder through the Storage Manager, allowing you to select between library folders for installation or transferring existing games. This process is streamlined within the Steam interface, making it user-friendly.

Black Internal Hdd on Black Surface

GOG Galaxy

GOG Galaxy also supports game library relocation. Move the game files manually to the desired location. When installing the game again, point the app to the new folder, and it will recognize the relocated data.

Epic Games Store

With the Epic Games Store, the official method involves uninstalling and reinstalling games at the new destination. However, a more efficient workaround is to copy the game files manually and resume the download in the launcher, which will verify existing files instead of re-downloading them.

EA App

The new EA app replaced the Origin’s 'Move Games' option with a manual process. Move the game files to the desired location and update the install directory in the app’s settings. This ensures your game files are recognized in their new location.

Blizzard Battle.net and Ubisoft Connect

Both Blizzard Battle.net and Ubisoft Connect require manual file transfers. After moving the files to the new location, you need to update the game directory in the launcher to ensure file integrity and avoid the need for re-downloading.

Xbox App

The Xbox App simplifies the process by allowing users to change installation folders or drives directly in the app settings. Individual games can be moved to new drives with minimal hassle, making it a convenient option for managing game libraries.

Microsoft Store (UWP)

Universal Windows Platform (UWP) games can be moved through Windows settings. Select the game and use the 'Move' option to transfer it to another drive, leveraging native Windows tools.

Using Symbolic Links

If no official method exists for a specific platform, creating a symbolic link is a viable solution. This technique tricks the system into recognizing the game in a new location while maintaining the original folder structure, ensuring smooth gameplay.

General Tips and Considerations

Using migration software or manual copying are common methods for transferring games. Each has its pros and cons regarding convenience and speed. For optimized performance, consider moving games to an SSD, providing faster load times and an enhanced gaming experience.

PlatformMethodNotes
SteamBuilt-in storage managerUser-friendly interface to move games.
GOG GalaxyManual file transferReinstall and point to the new folder.
Epic Games StoreManual file transferCopy files and resume download.
EA AppManual file transferUpdate install directory in settings.
Blizzard Battle.netManual file transferUpdate game directory in launcher.
Ubisoft ConnectManual file transferUpdate game directory in launcher.
Xbox AppChange install folder in app settingsMove individual games with minimal hassle.
Microsoft Store (UWP)Windows settings 'Move' optionUse native Windows tools for transfers.
Symbolic LinksCreate symbolic linkTricks system into recognizing new location.

Before moving any files, back up your game data to avoid potential data loss. Organize your game libraries to manage storage effectively across multiple drives, choosing storage solutions based on budget and performance needs. For example, external hard drives offer a budget-friendly option with slower load times, while external SSDs provide faster performance.

By following these platform-specific methods and general tips, you can efficiently manage your game storage, ensuring your primary drive remains uncluttered and your games are easily accessible.

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