How To Backup and Restore your Games with Steam

By Mike Clements, on August 31, 2011

The most recent information I saw indicateded that there are over 30 million Steam users now. When I last logged in, there was over 3.2 million users online. Those are astounding numbers. And of course I hope they are all Corsair customers!

One thing I personally like about Steam is the backup and restore functions. If you do many OS installs or new system builds, I'm sure you know what I mean. But, I'm also sure that there are some people that do not utilize this feature or may not even know it's there. It's super easy to use so let's take a look at it.

I'll start this out with an admission. Yes, I am a Steam user. And, the more I use it, the more I like it. If you check the Wikipedia information you’ll find this:

Steam is a digital distribution, digital rights management, multiplayer and communications platform developed by Valve Corporation. It is used to distribute games and related media online, from small independent developers to larger software houses. Steam also has community features, automated game updates, and in-game voice and chat functionality.

As of July 2011, there are over 1,300 games available through Steam, and over 30 million active user accounts. 

Steam Main Page

One specific feature of Steam that I like is the backup and restore function. If you have ever done a clean OS install followed by a new Steam install, you probably realize that there are 2 ways restore your games. The slow time consuming way is to download each and every game all over again. Even with a fast internet connection, this is a long slow process. If you own a lot of games via Steam, it can be incredibly time consuming.

This is why I use the Steam backup and restore feature. Running this feature allows you to store a local backup of all of your Steam games. This means you can backup at the speed of your storage subsystem which is exponentially faster than downloading multiple gigs of games again. Situations like this are where storage augmented with Corsair SSDs really shine.

The backup and storage feature is easy to use and can be found under the Steam tab, Backup and Restore Games option. Let’s take a look at the Backup feature first.

Backup and Restore Tab

Since we’re beginning with a backup, select the that option then select NEXT.  

Select Backup

The utility will allow you to select the games you want to backup. Once you have made your selections, select NEXT.

 Select Games

The next step is to select the directory where you wish to store your backup. Use the BROWSE feature and select your backup volume.

Choose Directory

If you are storing your backup on a separate drive, you may need to create a new folder so you can keep up with the backups.

Select Folder

Once you have selected your backup location, you will need to decide how you wish to break up your files. They can be broken up into 640MB sections for storage on CDs, 4.7GB for DVD, or set to a custom file size. If you want 1 large file, simply set your file size to the overall backup size indicated by Steam.

Select File Size

Once you select next, your backup has started. The time will vary depending on the speed of your machine and mostly upon the speed of your storage subsystem.

Backup in Progress

Restoring Steam is just as easy as backing up. The restoration will depend on the speed of your drive where you choose to restore. Once again, this is where fast SSDs really show their worth. This time, we’ll select Restore a previous backup.

Select Restore

Navigate to the directory where the backup is stored using the BROWSE option.

Find Backup Folder

Select your backup that you'd like to restore.

Select Back to be Restored

Once you find your backup file, select NEXT and Steam will restore the games you have selected and do it much faster than if you downloaded all the games again.

Restore in Progress

We hope this has been helpful. I do a lot of system builds and OS installs so this is an extremely helpful feature for me. And trust me, it is so much and faster when you are using SSDs. This means more fragging and less lagging waiting on your games to download.