Can You Install Games on an External SSD?


Can You Install Games on an External SSD

Can You Install Games on an External SSD?

As new games continuously demand more and more storage, using an external solid-state drive (SSD) to install or transfer your games onto is a great option. Many experienced gamers and computer users alike recommend purchasing an SSD due to its many benefits.

You can install games on an external SSD, and doing so is quite easy, even for those with little computer experience. Advantages of installing or transferring games onto an external SSD include games booting quicker and faster load times from the game menu. 

This article will explain how to install games on an external SSD, why you would do so, and tips for a successful installation.

How Do You Install Games on an External SSD?

With multiple operating systems and gaming software available, the process to install or transfer games vary. It’s critical to determine which steps apply to your set-up with an external SSD and if any additional directions are required. There are many resources available for those wanting to learn more about storage and games, including forums, videos, and blogs.

How to Buy an SSD

As they’re non-mechanical, SSDs have many advantages compared to a hard disk drive (HDD). Due to their increasing popularity, SSDs come with various sizes of storage space from numerous manufacturers. They can be purchased online, in-store, or through many affiliated websites. It’s best to look at all of the SSD specifications, including cost, storage space, and size.

We recommend the WD P10-Game Drive from Amazon.com as it’s a great SSD option for gamers. This drive has 5 TB of storage, which can hold up to 125 games. If you know that you’ll eventually be downloading more games, it is best to buy an initial SSD with lots of storage. 

For a great explanation of all types of SSDs, watch this video from Greg Salazar, which is especially helpful for beginners:

Determining Your Needs as a Gamer

Although most experienced gamers recommend buying an SSD, this may not be the best choice for you and your unique needs. Before deciding to purchase an SSD, there are a couple of questions you need to be able to answer:

  • What is my budget?
  • How much storage do my games require?
  • Do I plan on downloading more games in the future? 

In answering these questions, you’ll be able to determine if you need to purchase an SSD and how much storage you may require. You’ll be able to search for SSDs based on these specifications and filter your options to stay within your budget.

To assess your storage requirements, take a look at what your current games take up in space, as well as future games you could consider buying. Game Rant lists Quantum Break as the PC game with the largest file size at 178 GB.

How To Install and Move Games Onto an SSD

If you’ve decided to upgrade your current set-up and have purchased an external SSD, it’s time to move your games over. For software such as Steam and Origin, this is fairly easy to do. There are also programs developed by gamers to make transferring games as easy as possible, such as Steam Mover. That being said, there are many tips and tricks for moving games from other software, such as UPlay and Epic Games.

In general, you can move the location of the files containing the game to the SSD. However, the steps following this can vary from software to software. The launcher may need to be redirected, the game may need to be reinstalled, or a new folder may need to be added. 

For an excellent video that goes over how to transfer games to any hard drive on all platforms, check out this video from JeffTechMedia:

If not already set up, you can change the location of any newly downloaded games to the SSD. It’s much easier to install games on an SSD rather than move them over. That being said, be sure to research if any additional steps are required for your set-up.

How To Install and Move Games Onto an SSD

With over 30,000 games available, Steam is a go-to destination for gamers with all backgrounds and interests. To migrate an existing Steam library to an SSD from an HDD, you can follow the subsequent steps:

  1. Right-click the game folder, click Copy.
  2. Click Paste in your Steam library.
  3. The game can be deleted from the HDD once it has been copied.
  4. Using Steam Client, delete the Local Content on the recently moved game file and reinstall the SSD’s Steam library location.

It’s important to note that before completing these steps, Steam.exe must not be running, and the Steam Client must be closed. Ensure that you have enough space on your SSD for all the games you wish to move, which can be checked by viewing the “Properties” of the game folder.

To do transfer games more efficiently, you can use the program Steam Mover. For more information on this program and how to use it, check out this video from Vivid Tubbs:

Why Would You Install Games on an SSD?

Generally, most gamers recommend buying an SSD as they come in various sizes and are manufactured by many companies. There are many adapters available for desktop computers or laptops so that any set-up can easily add an external SSD. If you’re someone who has lots of data or is considering downloading more games in the future, buying an SSD is a great move.

Advantages of Having Games Installed on SSD

There are many benefits to installing a game on an external SSD rather than HDD, including:

  • Load times are faster, especially from a game’s menu to the game.
  • Games will boot more quickly when installed on an SSD, but this will vary according to PC and game.

In addition to the advantages of using an SSD to game, an SSD is also a great option to use for storage for any data. Compared to HDDs, this form of storage is also more durable, portable, quieter, and energy-efficient.

Potential Issues With Using an SSD

Although they’re significantly more benefits to installing a game on an SSD, they are important to take note of:

  • The cost of an SSD can be quite expensive and may not be worth it for a novice gamer or someone who doesn’t require a ton of storage.
  • By installing the game on an SSD, the loading and boot times are faster; however, this won’t do much to improve your current computer if it needs a major upgrade.

It’s definitely worth assessing how much storage you actually need before deciding on purchasing an SSD. It’s a great idea for most, but if you’re not going to be taking full advantage of it, you may be wasting your money on unnecessary storage.

To help determine if buying an SSD is the right decision for you, check out this helpful video from Cult of Mush:

Final Thoughts

You can install games on an external SSD, which helps load games faster and provide more storage. For gamers hoping to improve their current set-up, it’s generally quite easy to move your current games to a new location on the external SSD. It’s important to establish what you require in an SSD to determine the amount of storage you may need. There are many resources available online for gamers wanting to learn more about SSDs and installing games.

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