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How to download Steam games to USB on Linux

Steam games are downloaded to the Steam library. You can move the Steam library anywhere you want however, the games will always download to it. This is a problem if you’re short on disk space and have a lot of large games that you want to play, or you’d like them to be portable and playable on more than one system. In that case, you can download Steam games to a USB. Here’s how you can do that on Linux.

Download Steam games to USB

To download Steam games directly to USB,  you must make a new “Steam Library.” A “Steam Library” is a folder that Steam can create, which can be used to specify during installation time.

Create Steam library

Creating a Steam library is quite easy thanks to Steam’s straightforward user-interface. To start, launch Steam and follow the step-by-step instructions below.

Step 1: Find the “Steam” button at the top-left section of the app, and click on it with the mouse to reveal its options.

Step 2: Inside of the “Steam” menu in the Steam app, locate the “Settings” option and click on it with the mouse to launch the app’s settings area.

Step 3: In Steam’s settings area, you will see several options in the left-hand side-bar. Locate the “Downloads” option and click on it with the mouse.

Step 4: Once you’ve clicked on the “Downloads” option, locate the “Content Libraries” area. When you’ve found “Content Libraries,” click on the “STEAM LIBRARY FOLDERS” button.

Step 5: Plug in your USB hard drive or USB flash drive into the Linux computer, and allow it to mount automatically. If the device does not automatically mount, open up the Linux file manager, locate the “Device” area, and double-click on the USB device to mount it to the system.

Step 6: Using the Linux file manager, access the USB device. Take note of its location on the file-system. On many Linux distributions, desktop environments will automatically mount USB flash drives in the “media” or “run” directories.

If you need help finding the exact location of your USB device, open up a terminal window and run sudo fdisk -l. This command will print out all connected storage devices.

Look through the list and locate your flash drive. You’ll be able to find it by looking at the “Disk model” section, as it will print out brand info about your USB device.

In the Fdisk output, find what /dev/ the USB device has. For example, your USB flash drive might be /dev/sdd. Take note of it. Then, run the lsblk command.

Upon running the lsblk command, look through the output for your USB device’s block id (/dev/ followed by d and another letter). It will display the exact location the USB device is mounted to under the “MOUNTPOINT” column.

Step 7: When you’ve figured out exactly where your USB device is mounted on the Linux computer, go back to the Linux file manager and create a new folder called “SteamLibrary.”

Step 8: Go back to the Steam Library Folders window, and click on the “ADD LIBRARY FOLDER” button.

Use the Steam file browser to select the exact folder that your USB device is mounted to, and click the “Select” button to create a new Steam library.

Step 9: Close all open Steam setting windows and return to the “Library” section. Then, find a game you’d like to download and click the “Download” button.

Step 10: Upon clicking the “Download” button, you will see an “Install” window appear on-screen. In the window, locate “Choose location for install,” and use the drop-down menu to set it to the new Steam library created on your USB device.

Step 11: Click “Next” to start the download. When everything is done, your playable Steam game will be saved onto USB.

Select the “Play” button on the game saved to USB to start the game.

Moving already downloaded Steam games to USB

Do you have some Steam games already installed on your Linux PC? Want to move them from the internal hard drive to a USB device? Here’s what to do.

Step 1: Follow Steps 1 – 8 in the previous section of this article to set up a new “Steam Library” on your USB hard drive or USB flash drive.

Step 2: Click on “Library” in the Steam app to go to your Steam game collection.

Step 3: Look through installed games in the “Library” section, and find the video game you’d like to move to the USB device. Then, right-click on it with the mouse to access the right-click menu.

Step 4: Inside of the right-click menu, find the “Properties” option and click on it with the mouse.

Selecting “Properties” in the right-click menu will give you access to the game’s settings in Steam.

Step 5: In “Properties,” make your way to the “Local Files” tab. Then, locate the “Move Install Folder” button, and click it with the mouse.

Step 6: Upon selecting the “Move Install Folder” button, a box will pop-up on the screen. In this box, you will see a message that says, “Select Steam library folder to move files to.”

Use the drop-down menu to select the new Steam Library you created on your USB device. Then, click the “Move Folder” button to move your video game to the new library.

When the installation folder is moved to the new Steam Library on the USB device, your game will be playable from USB.


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