Steam has been ramping up the free weekends lately. Just a few weeks ago, X Rebirth and its series got a freebie and Valve sometimes does multiple of those at a time. It gets a little hard to keep up. Luckily, for those who can’t manage so much free time, Steam allows for file storage, in hopes of getting reacquainted later on. It seems, however, that the two systems weren’t designed with each other in mind.
I recently got into Steam backups hardcore, after I found out how easy it is to reconnect. For those of us who run on limited download space, it’s an easy way to shave off tons of data. Even for users in general, installing a backup will take merely minutes, over having to wait for dozens of gigabytes to trickle in. So, now anything beyond a couple hundred megabytes gets stored on an external drive, so the old SSD also gets some breathing room. It’s a click of a button away, so there’s no reason not to do it.
Last weekend, Tropico 5 was free to try out, along with Killing Floor. The former was something I had been meaning to get to for some time now, alas time was not kind on that part. Cut to this week and storing the game wasn’t as easy as mentioned before. In fact, Steam doesn’t show the “Backup Game Files” option by right-clicking at all. Luckily, there are multiple ways to get this done. Clicking on “Properties” and heading to the “Local Files” tab should do. Yet again, however, no such luck. Worse yet, the necessary option seems greyed out, implying it has been disabled. Not even going to the client’s “Steam” tab on the far left and choosing “Backup and Restore Games” will show the freebie.
To further this curiosity, Valve weirdly enough has no issue with backing up game content while the free weekend is active. For instance, this is the case with Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare’s free multiplayer event. Since the shooter takes around 40Gb of download space, storing it elsewhere was a no-brainer. That made it possible to almost immediately jump back into the second free weekend the game held, which produced a ton of content as a result. We’ll post that below. Anyway, removing this option past the event in an effort to force users to a purchase seems somewhat unnecessarily mean from Valve.
On their site, Valve does provide info on how to backup game files, but this tidbit from free game trials doesn’t seem to be mentioned anywhere. Therefore, we’d rather make sure all bases are covered, in case anyone needs to do some internet sleuthing and only comes up with a “found the problem” post with no explanation. Those are the worst. On that page, there is an alternative that could work, though it’s a lot less elementary than just a click or two, which defeats the purpose of highlighting what’s great about Steam backups over downloads. If it’s going to make me work for it, I’ll just eat the download space. Never underestimate people’s laziness.