I know it wasn't impossible to move your entire steam folder after either reinstalling windows or getting a new HD or whatever, but this is a much better option. Thank god.
Originally Posted by jhoff80
I've been using it, but when I need to reinstall Windows in the near future (wiping the SSD), there's not going to be any way (that I know of) to easily redo the hard links to re-add the games to Steam again from the HDD.
I've kept my steam folder backed up and moved it between windows installs. But to move it there's a couple steps you need to do, which I don't remember. I'll see if I can find the text file I copied the process to or the link I got it from. But you have to just move the entire steam folder. I don't have any symbolic link installs so I never had to deal with any of that.
Took some effort to find this file on my computer, really hidden in one of my backups...Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Moving Your Steam Installation
Edited by Yrd - 9/14/12 at 1:12pm
Please ensure that you have your Steam account name and password before following this procedure. Also ensure that your account is linked to your current email address so that you can reset your password if necessary.
It is not recommended that you install Steam to an external hard drive due to potential performance issues.
It is highly recommended that you create a backup of your SteamApps folder before attempting this process. If there is a problem in this process and you do not have a backup of your games or the SteamApps folder, it will be necessary to reinstall the games individually. Please see the Using the Steam Backup Feature topic.
The following instructions are a simple way to move your Steam installation along with your games:
Exit the Steam client application.
Browse to the Steam installation folder for the Steam installation you would like to move (C:\Program Files\Steam by default).
Delete all of the files and folders except the SteamApps folder and Steam.exe
Cut and paste the whole Steam folder to the new location, for example: D:\Games\Steam\
Launch Steam and log into your account.
Steam will briefly update and then you will be logged into your account. For installed games, verify your game cache files and you will be ready to play. All future game content will be downloaded to the new folder (D:\Games\Steam\SteamApps\ in this example)
If you encounter any errors during the move process or when Steam is launched from the new location, it may be necessary to perform a more thorough process:
Exit the Steam client application.
Browse to the Steam installation folder for the Steam installation (continuing the from the last section example, this would be the new location of D:\Games\Steam\.
Move the SteamApps folder from the Steam installation folder to your desktop.
Review the Uninstalling Steam topic for instructions to uninstall Steam (this must be done to remove your old Steam installation settings from the Windows Registry).
Review the Installing Steam topic for instructions to re-install Steam to the desired location.
Move the SteamApps folder into the new Steam installation folder to copy all of your downloaded game content, settings, and saved games to the new location.
Start Steam and log in to your existing Steam account to confirm that the move was successful.
For installed games, verify your game cache files and you will be ready to play.
If you are moving your Steam installation to a new hard drive and want to keep game saves/profiles for third party games that are not saved on Steam Cloud most of these can be found in your Documents folder: ~\Documents\[username]\My Games\. Moving this folder to the same location on your new hard drive will maintain your saves/profiles.