Steamdeck | Add an external Drive for backup games. (2023)


Ok, in fairness, it could be easier, but its now pretty easy! Join me as I add a 2TB external SSD to my Steam Deck... that can also be used on my OneXPlayer, Anbernic Win600 and my main PC.

Join me on my journey on why I won't be cracking open my Deck when it comes to adding more storage.

SCAWP @ChinballsGaming has created this brilliant simple script, See the script and his video below.

Here is an alternative guide if you want to make your drive usable only by your Steam Deck.


Welcome back now, as some of you may know, I have a 512 gig model, steam deck and also I've fitted a one terabyte, SanDisk.

Ultra micro SD card.

So that's, totally enough space, right wrong to be honest.

It probably is more than enough for normal gaming, but I do a lot of game testing install and remover and reinstall.

And this takes a lot of time.

And a lot of that time it's just downloading all the time with my steam debt switched on.

So what are the options? Well, there's option one, the easiest option is just to crack open the steam deck and stick in a bigger.

M2 2230, Drive, that's, the best option, yeah, well, probably but to upgrade for a 512 gig to a one terabyte will cost me about 160 pounds, that's 180 dollars in the UK and two terabytes.

Well, that's going to cost me 350 pounds or more like 420 dollars.

So what's option two occupy a second micro SD card.

I can pick one up for around about 100 pounds, that's 120 dollars for a one terabyte, a good option, but I don't like a Jack to make your SD cards, too often I find that the Springs inside the mercurialism just feels about too weak for me and I'm just worried that I'll break one at some point and then that's that socket rent and also dropping and losing something as small as a Micro SD is a real issue.

You know, it's far too easy to do.

But it would allow me to hold off my game, Test games quite easily.

So option three I could use the new feature in Steam that lets you download games directly to your main PC.

And then this is an option that I'm going to look at.

But unfortunately, my main PC is also a bit low in space at the moment.

So the games I test are not installed in there.

Either are there any other options? Yes, this is why you're here listening to my justification we're, not doing the sensible thing and doing this thing instead so option, four buy a two terabyte, portable, SSD in this case, I've gone for a SanDisk two terabyte, which I picked up for what I felt was a reasonable.

125 pounds it's about 150.

It was a better purchase than it went I just spotted on Amazon thought, I'm gonna have one of them.

Now there are better options.

In fact, I've got mine a rather nice looking and even smaller, crucial, four terabyte, external SSD.

But that might be in a later video.

So right back to option.

Four should be easy, Plug and Play.


First off the drive arrives pre-formite as you'd expect an x-fat format.

So you'll need to make it compatible for the deck.


Now it is kind of compatible for the deck.

If you put in a desktop model, we'll recognize an expert drive, but you won't be able to play any games from it.

You could copy stuff off her, but that's, not what I want to do so you'll need to make it compatible for the deck.

So here's, what you could do this is probably the recommended option is format, the drive and ext4 format download the games process, mounted on your steam deck and the automatically rtfd library.

And you can play them straight away, but then that will work on your home PCS now, you'll have to keep your deck switched on for hours at a time downloading those titles, which is what I was trying to avoid.

Now there are ways around the ext4 format, not being recognized on Windows.

You can use free tools or you can purchase tools.

But ultimately, you need to remember to do that on every PC that you then subsequently plug that SSD into and that's a pain.

So what's, the easiest option or should I say the laziest option.

Well, if like me, you've done Google searches or watched videos.

The only simple option is the NTFS format of the SSD.

You can then use it easily in Windows.

And you can use it in your deck generally speaking, though only in desktop mode, not in games mode for many.

This may be a better issue for me.

It was less of an issue.

I was quite happy to look at that room I wanted to quickly move games from my deck and not just delete them.

So with this method I could file up the deck in a desktop mode.

Connect the Drive, Mount it and steam and quickly drag and drop my games backwards and forwards to the nvme or to the SD card or back under there solid state drive that seemed like a good option.

So I started investigating that now I didn't expect it to be super fast, but as faster than downloading the game testing it removing it and then redownloading it.

And now I have a portable library that you can quickly Mount to any PC came from and copy from to any PC in my house.

This should be extremely handy when it comes to testing games like Ark survival or Forza.

Horizon 5.

Both games are which are about 125 gigabytes in download.

And it means I could actually do some quick comparisons between the Steam deck 1X player and one 600 without having to download the game three times now that's a lot of downloading I've managed to avoid finally there's, actually a twist.

So there is a script by sc-awp Scott called the steam deck mount external drive script.

You can download this, uh, there put a link to as um GitHub and also I'll link to this video that I saw just recently.

This is a nice little script that will you can run it, and it will automatically Mount your drive and desktop mode.

So it saves you have to go in and manually Mount Your drives, but I don't know, what's changed.

But actually works in game mode as well.

Now, I'm running steam deck, OS, 3.5.

So I don't know if it's got something to do with that, don't know what exactly has changed I've, ran that script I'm running this later version of Steam OS, when I plug my SSD and the USBC and the top of my steam deck, it matches within a few seconds and boom, I can see all my games and I can run them.

Look at this here we are fire, not AR key survival.

As that example, I mentioned earlier.

124 Giga is not on my steam deck is running from the SSD and I can unplug this and plug it into my desktop PC and then run it just as easily from there.

Thank you for watching this far.

If you want to stick around I've got a couple of quick Channel updates.

Firstly, a massive.

Thank you to all of those who have watched this far and all of you have watched the channel before.

And particularly for those of you that follow the channel I have a request it's.

Not much of an ask I, just want some feedback on what you'd like to see I think there's room for me to switch to these long form videos, I quite enjoy.

These scripted videos as well.

I probably won't do maybe one every week to Fortnight maximum I've had a lot of fun doing the Ayn reaction videos and I may extend that to do another Ayn and I anneal content.

Now, I stuck with the Ayn because I have one on reserve I also like the Simplicity of the silent gameplay videos.

So they're quite popular where someone just plays through a scenario on game and I'm just thinking about doing that Direct on the steam deck I'm, not going to plug it in and capture it simply I'm actually going to record me playing on the steam deck.

So you can see the full experience.

But what do you think why not have your say in the comments section below? And lastly, when would you like to see these videos? Go live now I tend to drop so much sporadically.

But the analytics and YouTube are suggesting Sunday is the best day for people to watch my videos, although the analytics is also quite quick to highlight when I've not posted the video for two or three days.

So the reason My Views are down is because I'm not posting enough content.

So today's video is going to go live on a Sunday.

And during the week I might drop some more simple videos, Gameplay reactions as they occur.

Now if I don't have a major topic for release on a Sunday I may do a weekend review video.

If people are interested in that and that'll be a week in review of handheld gaming things that have happened in the handheld stream of games, perhaps that are good on Hangouts.

No finally, thanks for sticking around to the very end of the video I've got a few game codes from the recent turkey, Syria earthquake, appeal, Humble, Bundle and I'm going to drop a code somewhere into a video now.

And then now maybe I dropped one today, if I did did you see it can collapse if you're dead and you're, the first person to grab it? Why not leave a comment in the comment section below if you managed to get that code, I'll, see you next video bye for now.


Steamdeck | Add an external Drive for backup games.? ›

The process essentially requires you to make an ext4 partition on your external storage, add a steam library to it, then set the drive up properly to automount. If done correctly any game you install to the drive through Steam, including in Gaming Mode, will be accessible immediately and always following a reboot.

Can Steam Deck run games off external hard drive? ›

The process essentially requires you to make an ext4 partition on your external storage, add a steam library to it, then set the drive up properly to automount. If done correctly any game you install to the drive through Steam, including in Gaming Mode, will be accessible immediately and always following a reboot.

How do I backup my Steam Deck games? ›

How to Backup Steam Deck Data Before An RMA?
  1. Open your Steam Deck and plug the SSD directly into the PC or the USB adapter.
  2. Boot the Linux system with the bootable Linux USB drive.
  3. Use the Linux dd command: if=/dev/DECKDRIVENAME to create the whole image of your Steam Deck drive.

Can you use external SSD on Steam Deck? ›

If your Steam Deck has run out of storage, or you want an easy method to make your game library more portable. You need to choose an external SSD for your Steam Deck, which can provide a way to expand the storage without the hassles involved with installing a drive.

Does Steam Deck support external memory? ›

Like the Nintendo Switch, every Steam Deck supports microSD cards for storage expansion, and those cards come in a range of capacities — many of which are regularly discounted.

Do Steam games run slower on external hard drive? ›

No, using a slow, external (or internal) HDD will not “slow” performance. It will slow down the game loading and you might have to wait more and the first 20–30 secs might be a little stutter-y for loading all the assets, BUT, after that the FPS will be exactly same and you'll see no loss in PERFORMANCE.

Can you run games off an external HDD? ›

Can I Install Games on an External Hard Drive? Of course! Although there are big differences between internal and external disks, the task of both is to read and store data. For this reason, you can play your games on an external HDD or SSD just like other programs.

Is it better to backup Steam games as CD or DVD? ›

Use CD for games smaller than 1 GB. Use DVD for games larger than 1 GB. For 100GB data, up to 25 DVDs will be created. Use custom only if necessary, especially if your games go beyond 100GB data.

Should I backup my Steam games? ›

If you have a decent internet connection, backing up your game saves may be enough—after all, if you want to return to a game later, you can just re-download it from Steam. But if your internet connection is slow, backing up all the game's files to another drive allows you to re-install it much faster in the future.

Where to backup Steam games? ›

Backup and Restore Game Files with Steam Backup Feature
  • Click "Steam" in the upper left corner of the screen.
  • Choose "Backup currently installed programs" and click "Next".
  • Decide the games you want to back up this time and click "Next".
  • Choose the target destination.
  • Change the file name or not, and click "Next".

Can you put a 1TB SSD in the Steam Deck? ›

And if you find yourself struggling for storage on your 512GB of Steam Deck, swapping in a 1TB SSD will make a world of difference. We didn't hit those speeds in a Steam Deck, but it definitely was much faster than the stock drive.

Does Steam Deck have 2 SSD slots? ›

The Steam Deck uses the smallest kind of modular SSD — the M. 2 2230, which measures just 30mm long — and it's only designed to fit a single-sided one, which has flash memory chips on one side.

What is the largest SSD you can put in a Steam Deck? ›

What is the largest SSD you can put in a Steam Deck? You can install up to 2TB inside a Steam Deck. This is due to the limitations of the 2230 NVMe that the Steam Deck requires. Framework and Western Digital currently sell the 2TB version in the Framework store.

Should I use SD card or internal storage for Steam Deck? ›

Another thing to consider is the fact Steam Deck is limited to UHS-I, which can run read speeds at 100MB/s. This is the fastest we can go. So at any stage, your Steam Deck will absolutely run faster using the internal storage. That being said, we'd still recommend using an SD card alongside.

Is SD card good enough for Steam Deck? ›

The best way for most people to get expanded storage is with an SD card which has fewer worries than swapping to a bigger SSD. To be more precise, though, you'll need a microSD card, which is the smaller SD card format in use on many phones and tablets, and of course, the Steam Deck.

Will any microSD card work with Steam Deck? ›

What microSD cards are compatible with the Steam Deck? The Steam Deck's microSD requirements aren't very demanding. Any UHS-I microSD should work, including microSDXC (Expanded Capacity) and microSDHC (High Capacity) cards.

Should I put Steam games on hard drive or SSD? ›

An SSD or an HDD? There's no harm in putting the Steam program on the SSD. However, unless you have a large SSD, your Steam library should be on your HDD. Games tend not to benefit much from an SSD other than faster load times.

Should I save my Steam games in SSD or HDD? ›

And so, there is a big advantage to install games on an SSD instead of an HDD. However, if you're working with a limited amount of storage on your SSD, the best way is to prioritize the most played games and install them on your SSD and then, store all other things on your secondary HDD.

Is it better to store games on SSD or HDD? ›

SSDs work without moving parts, giving them an advantage over HDDs. Games launch and levels load faster when installed on an SSD. SSDs provide a smoother experience in games that stream assets from storage. New I/O technologies are starting to capitalize on the potential of SSDs.

Is an external hard drive better than internal for gaming? ›

External drives are ideal for raw storage space and the transportation of files. Internal drives are suitable for frequent file access and speed, especially with gaming. External drives can also be easier to repair and have a higher storage cap, while internal drives can hold up better and last longer.

Can you play games off Seagate external hard drive? ›

Designed to work in harmony with both the Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and Xbox One—the Seagate Game Drive has no problems bringing all your favorite games to the next generation. Archive new Xbox Series X|S games, plus play your legacy titles straight from the external drive.

Does playing games damage HDD? ›

Anything you run on your PC will use DRAM, the CPU, and of course the Hard Disk. Anything that is mechanical (the HDD) will have a mechanical wear out process. The CPU, DRAM, and all the other electronic components also have 'wear out' function based on use, and also based on temperature during use.

Do games run better on disc or digital? ›

Here's something you might find surprising, however: When it comes to gaming speed, there's no appreciable difference between a digital or physical game.

What happens when you backup game files on Steam? ›

What does backup game files do in steam? In Steam, backup game files create a copy of the games that you download, install, and patch via the Steam platform and save the copy in c:\program files (x86)\steam\Backups folder by default.

Why are games cheaper on Steam than console? ›

Console manufacturers sell their hardware at a loss. To compensate for this, they charge developers licensing fees for using their platform. Therefore, it's more expensive to develop a console game than a PC game which requires no such fees.

Do you keep Steam games forever? ›

Once you add a game to your Steam library, you will own it forever, even if you do not download it. This is because Steam games are not physical objects that you can lose or damage. Instead, they are digital copies of the game that are stored on Steam's servers.

Is it possible to reinstall Steam without losing game data? ›

If reinstalling Steam and Steam games in the near future, please move the steamapps folder (C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps) outside of the Steam directory to prevent your games from being deleted. Additionally, backups of all game content can be created for reinstallation.

Can you copy Steam games to another computer? ›

Once a game is installed on one PC, all other PCs or the Steam Deck can install or update that game by transferring files directly from that one PC. A modern PC can easily transfer game content with 100MB/sec over a wired network connection.

Can you burn Steam games to disc? ›

You can burn all of the installed files to a disc. Then, say down the road when you decide to format and redo your HDD, install Steam, then place the files you burned on the disc into the proper folder within Steam.

How to restore Steam games without backup? ›

  1. Copy and paste the game's folder in the original steamapps/common directory to the new one.
  2. Go to the game's page in the Steam store and note the URL. ...
  3. Go to the original steamapps directory. ...
  4. Copy that appmanifest file to the new steamapps directory.
  5. Restart Steam if you had it running.
Feb 16, 2018

How do I copy Steam games without downloading? ›

To copy Steam game files from another computer to save you having to download the full game, simply do the following;
  1. Cancel the download on your machine and delete local files for the game.
  2. Close Steam on your computer.
  3. Copy the whole folder Borderlands 2 from your brother's PC into Steam\SteamApps\common.
Dec 24, 2013

Is Sandisk Ultra 1TB good for Steam Deck? ›

Perfectly suited for the Steam Deck

The Sandisk Ultra microSDXC line is in the perfect sweet spot for the Steam Deck. The Sandisk Ultra line can add up to 1TB of expandable storage to your Steam Deck. This A1 class card will perform at maximum speeds on the Steam Deck for playing games.

How do I increase Steam Deck storage? ›

There are multiple ways to upgrade the storage space on a Steam Deck. Sure, you can add a microSD card to the Steam Deck's card slot, but if you want a more permanent boost, you can do that with a new M. 2 SSD, similar to what's used in the PS5.

Is 256GB SD enough for Steam Deck? ›

Best Steam Deck Micro SD cards USA

As well as Samsung, which is always a safe pick, we've opted for TeamGroup's Pro Plus cards which offer extremely good value in the higher capacities. 256GB and 512GB are the current sweet spots, with better value than 128GB or 1TB cards, but all four capacities are viable at present.

How many games can 256GB hold Steam Deck? ›

With the size of modern triple-A games though, you might need additional storage. We'd highly recommend it in fact as we managed to fill up our 256GB Steam Deck with just four games. Even if you're only planning on playing smaller Indie games, purchasing additional storage will help boost your install options.

What kind of SSD does the Steam Deck use? ›

Introduction. Use this guide to replace or upgrade the SSD in your Steam Deck. The Steam Deck's SSD is a single-sided M.2 2230.

How do I backup my Steam Deck to SSD? ›

To back up your Steam Deck's data, follow this process:
  1. Download Clonezilla and copy it to a USB flash drive.
  2. Boot into Clonezilla Live Environment with an external drive connected.
  3. Go through the Clonezilla setup process.
  4. Clone your Steam Deck's internal SSD to the external drive.
Mar 29, 2023

Does opening your Steam Deck void warranty? ›

Will opening up the Steam Deck void the warranty? The short answer is: no.

Should I get 64 or 256 or 512 Steam Deck? ›

Get the 64GB version if you're comfortable upgrading the storage yourself, and want a screen protector. Get the 256GB version if you're not comfortable upgrading the Steam Deck, only want to install a few games, and want a screen protector.

Is the Steam Deck 64GB worth it? ›

Overall, I highly recommend the Valve Steam Deck 64GB to anyone looking for a powerful handheld gaming device. While the limited storage space can be a drawback, it is easily remedied with an external microSD card. The Steam Deck delivers on its promise of a high-quality gaming experience in a portable device.

Are games slower on SD card Steam Deck? ›

The Results Are In

The results show that using an SD card does increase your game loading times, but not by much. And when it comes to picking the right SD card, a UHS-I U1 SD card is fast enough for your Steam Deck, even for the latest and greatest open-world AAA games.

Can the Steam Deck use external storage? ›

Fortunately, the answer is “Yes”. Each version of this portable gaming PC has a high-speed microSD card slot thanks to the SteamOS 3.0 operating system. You can plug your expandable storage card into your Steam Deck to access games stored on this card via your library.

Is The Steam Deck stronger than my computer? ›

Performance - PC Wins

The Steam Deck has an efficient optimization system, but it can't begin to compare to a desktop gaming PC. So, if you're focusing on performance, it's an easy win for PCs.

How much slower is SD card Steam Deck? ›

The SD card is still 58% slower, although thanks to the loading time being so much lower at just 12 seconds for the SSD, 58% slower only adds 7 seconds for a total of 19 seconds.

How fast should SD card be for Steam Deck? ›

Steam Deck supports UHS-1 SD cards only. That is to say, it is limited to 100MB/S read speed. Therefore, your SD card doesn't need to run faster than 100MB/S.

What is the best SD format for Steam Deck? ›

What format should SD cards be for the Steam Deck? SD cards and all storage should be in the ext4 format. This way, you can start adding them to your Gaming Mode library.

Can you just swap SD cards on Steam Deck? ›

Yes its totally fine. Just make sure your not running anything from it, and eject the card (unmount) before removing.

Is 512GB SD card enough for Steam Deck? ›

A 512GB SD card should be enough for the Steam Deck. However, you may need a card with higher storage capacity if you plan to store larger files. If the 512GB card is insufficient, you can opt for a higher storage capacity card of up to 1 TB.

Is it safe to hot swap SD cards Steam Deck? ›

Valve employee Lawrence Yang was asked about the safety of hot swapping SD cards on the Steam Deck on Twitter and it led to a discussion about what is ok and what is not. He stated that removing your SD card in game mode is perfectly fine as long as a game is not actively running off it.

What storage is compatible with Steam Deck? ›

What microSD cards are compatible with the Steam Deck? The Steam Deck's microSD requirements aren't very demanding. Any UHS-I microSD should work, including microSDXC (Expanded Capacity) and microSDHC (High Capacity) cards.

What hard drive does Steam Deck use? ›

The Steam Deck uses the smallest kind of modular SSD — the M. 2 2230, which measures just 30mm long — and it's only designed to fit a single-sided one, which has flash memory chips on one side.

What is the best way to add storage to Steam Deck? ›

There are multiple ways to upgrade the storage space on a Steam Deck. Sure, you can add a microSD card to the Steam Deck's card slot, but if you want a more permanent boost, you can do that with a new M. 2 SSD, similar to what's used in the PS5.

Can you put a 2TB SSD in a Steam Deck? ›

Framework is adding a 2TB Western Digital M. 2 2230 SSD drive to its shop, giving Steam Deck owners a better option when upgrading.

What is the largest drive for Steam Deck? ›

Valve sells the Steam Deck with up to a 512GB SSD(Opens in a new window), but what if you want more storage than that?

Can Steam Deck use 1TB SD card? ›

If you want to pick up a 1TB microSD card for your Steam Deck, then you should definitely check out the SanDisk 1TB Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card. This is great for those who like to have a copious amount of storage at their disposal, and it'll do the job perfectly for storing games.

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