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How To Install Steam Games on a USB Drive

Ubuntu 19

In the world of PC gaming, Steam is a popular platform where users can purchase, download, and play a variety of video games. However, the size of these games can often take up a significant amount of hard drive space. A practical solution to this issue is to install your Steam games on a USB drive. This article will guide you through the process step-by-step.

Quick Answer

Yes, it is possible to install Steam games on a USB drive. Simply plug in your USB drive, open Steam, access the settings, add a new library folder on your USB drive, and choose that folder when downloading a game. Keep in mind that running games from a USB drive may result in slower loading times.

Preparing Your USB Drive

Before you begin, it’s important to ensure that your USB drive has enough storage space to accommodate the game you want to install. Games can range from a few gigabytes to over 50GB for larger, more graphically intensive games.

Also, be aware that running games from a USB drive may result in slower loading times compared to running them from a local hard drive due to the slower read/write speeds of USB drives.

Step-by-Step Guide to Installing Steam Games on a USB Drive

Step 1: Plug in Your USB Drive

Connect your USB drive to your computer. Ensure that it is properly detected and accessible.

Step 2: Open Steam

Launch the Steam application on your computer.

Step 3: Access Steam Settings

Click on the “Steam” menu at the top left corner of the application window, then choose “Settings” from the dropdown menu.

Step 4: Navigate to the Downloads Tab

In the Settings window, click on the “Downloads” tab located at the top.

Step 5: Access Steam Library Folders

Click on the “Steam Library Folders” button at the top of the Downloads tab.

Step 6: Add a New Library Folder

In the Steam Library Folders window, click on “Add Library Folder”.

Step 7: Select Your USB Drive

Navigate to the directory where your USB drive is mounted. This is typically in the /media directory.

Step 8: Create a New Folder

Create a new folder on your USB drive and select it. This folder will be added to the list of library folders.

Step 9: Close the Settings Window

Once you’ve added the new library folder, close the Settings window.

Step 10: Choose the New Library Folder When Downloading a Game

When you purchase and download a game, you will be asked which library you want to install it to. Choose the library folder on your USB drive.

Troubleshooting

If you encounter an error message saying “New Steam library folder must be on a filesystem mounted with execute permissions,” you may need to change the permissions on your USB drive.

You can refer to this Ask Ubuntu post for instructions on how to change permissions on a FAT32 formatted drive.

Conclusion

Installing Steam games on a USB drive is a practical solution for saving hard drive space. Although it might result in slower game loading times, the flexibility and portability it offers can be a worthwhile trade-off. With this guide, you should be able to easily set up your USB drive as a Steam library folder and install your games on it. Happy gaming!

Can I install Steam games on any USB drive?

Yes, you can install Steam games on any USB drive that has enough storage space to accommodate the game you want to install.

Will running games from a USB drive result in slower loading times?

Yes, running games from a USB drive may result in slower loading times compared to running them from a local hard drive due to the slower read/write speeds of USB drives.

How do I know if my USB drive has enough storage space for a game?

You can check the storage space of your USB drive by right-clicking on it in your file explorer and selecting "Properties". The available storage space will be displayed.

Can I install multiple Steam games on the same USB drive?

Yes, you can install multiple Steam games on the same USB drive as long as it has enough storage space to accommodate all the games.

Can I play the games on my USB drive on any computer?

Yes, you can play the games on your USB drive on any computer that has Steam installed. However, keep in mind that you will need to plug in the USB drive and have the necessary permissions to access the games.

Can I use a USB 2.0 drive for installing Steam games?

Yes, you can use a USB 2.0 drive for installing Steam games. However, since USB 2.0 has slower transfer speeds compared to USB 3.0 or higher, it may result in longer loading times for the games.

Can I uninstall a game from my USB drive?

Yes, you can uninstall a game from your USB drive by right-clicking on the game in your Steam library, selecting "Manage", and then choosing "Uninstall". Keep in mind that this will permanently remove the game from your USB drive.

Can I move my Steam games from my USB drive to my computer’s hard drive?

Yes, you can move your Steam games from your USB drive to your computer’s hard drive. Simply right-click on the game in your Steam library, select "Manage", and then choose "Move Install Folder". Select your computer’s hard drive as the new location for the game.

Can I use the USB drive for other purposes while the game is running?

It is not recommended to use the USB drive for other purposes while a game is running from it. This can cause performance issues and may lead to game crashes or data corruption. It’s best to keep the USB drive dedicated to running the game until you’re finished playing.

Can I update the game on my USB drive?

Yes, you can update the game on your USB drive by launching Steam and allowing it to automatically update the game. However, keep in mind that the update process may take longer compared to updating games on a local hard drive due to the slower read/write speeds of USB drives.

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