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VirtualInstall and HDD Space


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#1
Kronos7714

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Hey there. First, I want to say that I've been using mods since shortly after the release of Skyrim.

This entire time, I've always wondered what the VirtualInstall folder is for.

 

I used Mod Organizer (though this is not about MO) for awhile, and it used to be good in that it would basically "inject" mod's contents into the game when launching from Mod Organizer, which is basically what I thought a "Virtual Install" means.

 

Now, I've been using NMM for almost a year (since the release of Fallout 4), and I've noticed that the VirtualInstall folder just contains copies of the files that are installed into the game's Data folder, so I literally have 3 of each mod on my PC, which takes up quite a bit of HDD space (especially considering that I'm using a 320GB HDD).

 

The first copy is the mod archive (.7z, .zip, .rar, et cetera) which is copied when installing a mod to NMM's [Game]\Mod folder.

The second copy is the extracted contents of the mod to the VirtualInstall folder.

The third copy is the extracted contents of the mod to the game's Data folder.

 

I recently tried Mod Organizer again because of this, only it does exactly the same, now, where it used to use the VirtualInstall contents.

 

Is there any way that I can set up NMM to *not* take up 3x as much space as is necessary if I were to manually install all mods?

Or am I using NMM/MO wrong?

 

Or is the VirtualInstall folder necessary for NMM/MO to realize which files were installed with each mod, or something like that?

 

As of right now, I have 10.3GB worth of files in the VirtualInstall folder for Skyrim, and 11.8GB in the folder for Fallout 4.

If I include the archives, I have 36.5GB of data that is not necessarily needed (though I see the point in the archives, not Virtual Install), so really I have about 22.1GB of space taken up that I'd like to free by deleting the VirtualInstall folders, which of course causes problems with NMM realizing that the mods are installed.

 

Is there any way for me to set up NMM to not make two copies of extracted files?

Every file that is in the VirtualInstall folder is already in my game's data folder, as well, so there is no need for both, it appears.

 

Am I missing something, or is there a way to do this?

Or, if I want extra HDD space, should I just manually install mods to prevent "extra" space from being taken up?

 

I appreciate any feedback or input. 

Thank you very much :) 

 

 

 

 



#2
DrakeTheDragon

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The VirtualInstall folder is the only physical existence of the files.

 

Yes, there's also the archives, but the archives are not the same space consumption as the unpacked files, nor can the game run the contents from inside the archives. And the archives are the memory of the NMM, remove the archives and it loses everything it knew about the mods.

 

Inside your game folder, however, there are no physical files. These all are only symbolic or hard links, allowing the game to access the files inside the VirtualInstall folder.

Windows as well is tricked by these, as the size of a link is shown the exact same size of the file it links to, while in reality the link is but a few bytes, if at all.

So if you look at the space consumption of your game folder, you're shown the size the folder "would" have, if it "was" containing the actual files. But it does not.

 

You can easily check this by looking at the "total" space consumption of the "drive". If you install a 5MB mod, the size of the VirtualInstall folder will rise about 5MB, the size of your game folder will rise about 5MB, making 10MB in sum, but the total drive space will lower only about 5MB as well, not 10. The links you won't really notice.



#3
Kronos7714

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Aah, okay. That is a bit confusing, though, and it seems as though it does take up actual HD space.. Odd. 

With an older version of Mod Organizer, no files were displayed inside of my Skyrim folder, though they were "virtually injected" upon startup.

(And the Skyrim folder appeared smaller, as well. Now, with the new version, it appears the same as NMM regarding the VirtualInstall folder).

 

I do, however, understand the need for the archives.

 

Well, I suppose that answers my question, so thank you very much. :smile:

 

I feel like I remember deleting the VirtualInstall folder awhile back, and my mods still worked (though I may be mis-remembering). Confusing x_x

I suppose that this is similar to the winsxs folder (in the Windows folder); it appears to contain 6GBs+ worth of data, but it actually links to several files throughout the filesystem.

 

I suppose that eventually I'll do a bit of testing just to "make sure", lol.

 

Again, thank you very much :smile: Take care, and have a good one!


Edited by Kronos7714, 18 September 2016 - 09:32 PM.


#4
uzumakinarutoseki

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You said that "Windows as well is tricked by these, as the size of a link is shown the exact same size of the file it links to". Does that mean that If have a 100GB HD that is 80% full by mods (but their actual size is 40 GB), I wont be able to install a game that has more than 20 GB (because Windows will be tricked by those files)? This is (obviously) an exaggerated example.

 

(Sorry for my english)



#5
dracofish

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Sorry to drag up an older post, but this is my exact question. It seems that NMM is not creating "hard links." Everything is literally being doubled on my system. For example, if I install an armor mod, I can navigate to my Skyrim data folder and actually open up the texture or mesh files in their respective programs. I can go so far as to change the color of a diffuse texture, and then I can go to that same file in the VirtualInstall folder and it's also there...unchanged (or vice versa). The only way that can happen is if that texture is in both places. This is eating up a lot of space on my drive, as my ultra-modded Skyrim's data folder is about 100GB in size. My VirtualInstall folder is about 62GB in size. I also do a lot of manual texture and mesh edits, so for me the entire concept of a virtual install is pointless and not needed (or welcome). I physically back up my entire installation on an external storage drive. I can further confirm the existence of this duplicated data by being able to run my game perfectly with all mods even when I rename the VirtualInstall folder. 

I have only encountered this issue since updating to 0.63.6. Previous to that I was using a version from early 2015 (and actually am finding that I preferred the older version). 

 

Is there any way for me to get rid of this folder?

I also just realized that this is an issue with both my SSE and my FO4 managed by the same version of NMM. The files are duplicated and I have tested to be sure by editing them in one place, only for them not to be changed in the other. My FO4 install is almost as big as my Skyrim one, so this really is eating up hella space on my drive. This was not an issue with the old version of NMM. I was wondering why when I moved to the new version my drive all of a sudden had a lot less space even though I was using the same mods. 



#6
MrTimscampi

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Got the same issue here. It's not linked, they are copies of the files. Skyrim SE's data folder if full of files even when NMM isn't launched and they take up actual space (NMM's Mod folder reports at 33GB, Skyrim SE's at 31GB). My disk is full as a result and nothing will install anymore. Using Windows 10 x64, by the way.

#7
FateRover

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Aah, okay. That is a bit confusing, though, and it seems as though it does take up actual HD space.. Odd. 

With an older version of Mod Organizer, no files were displayed inside of my Skyrim folder, though they were "virtually injected" upon startup.

(And the Skyrim folder appeared smaller, as well. Now, with the new version, it appears the same as NMM regarding the VirtualInstall folder).

 

I do, however, understand the need for the archives.

 

Well, I suppose that answers my question, so thank you very much. :smile:

 

I feel like I remember deleting the VirtualInstall folder awhile back, and my mods still worked (though I may be mis-remembering). Confusing x_x

I suppose that this is similar to the winsxs folder (in the Windows folder); it appears to contain 6GBs+ worth of data, but it actually links to several files throughout the filesystem.

 

I suppose that eventually I'll do a bit of testing just to "make sure", lol.

 

Again, thank you very much :smile: Take care, and have a good one!

that the point .    and there is another problem about nmm,if i move the game to another  driver  or other PC,how it will be with tricking files?



#8
dracofish

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It's nice to know I'm not the only one seeing this. I went back and forth for over an hour the other day with someone who thought I was totally crazy. It seems like it does work as intended with "hard links" for some people, but for others (like me) it genuinely is duplicating everything. 



#9
BenjaminCook

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It's now January and I am having the same problem. Files are duplicated. Still no solutions.



#10
Tyco1709

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Its now April and still some people are having issues with this. The only way i can get the links to work for the files is if i stick the virtual folder on another HDD, Which for me is pointless as it removes the whole load quicker on SSD thing. I just want it to install them into the virtual folder then link into my data folder. Not sure why this is so hard for NMM to figure out.






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