Hello? Hello? I got poked...
Side item first. Download a very useful tool: NTFSLinksView. This gives you a way to see what is a hard link, and what is an actual file:
When Steam installs a game, what you see is what you get. The game and all mods manually installed are real files.
Now Vortex is tricksy... What you see is not what you get. Your mod only exists in the Mod Staging Directory.
What gets placed in the game /Data directory is just a hard link back to the Mod Staging Directory.
If you run NTFSLinksView on your game /Data directory at this point, you will see all the hard links.
Now what you need to be aware of, when Windows copys a hard link, it does not copy just the pointer. It copies the file the pointer points to.
This is known as a Deep Copy, and is true if you are moving the game or just making a backup.
Net result: The game grows to the size of the original game plus all the enabled and deployed mods from Staging. So a LOT bigger.
Side effect: Vortex loses control over all those hard linked mods. It is as if you manually overlaid Vortex' hard links with actual files.
Proper procedure: Before you move a game directory, or make a backup - issue Purge from within Vortex. That removes the hard links - and Windows will copy only the game.
After the move, Deploy will restore them.
Now back to the issue at hand. You moved the game without Purge. Windows helpfully populated your game directory with real files for all those mods.
Use NTFSLinksView on your moved game directory. No hard links - but a lot of files.
And the bad part. There is no quick fix, but the options are not too bad.
1) Start Vortex and tell it where the game is now.
2) Issue Purge to get Vortex out of the picture.
3) Clean up your game directory. Delete everything not installed by Bethesda. That includes Data/Scripts, Textures, and Meshes directories. And anything that looks like a mod.
4) Have Steam validate your game. That will replace anything you deleted by mistake. Or you could just have Steam reinstall the game at the new location. You need to tell Steam the new location anyway.
5) Bring up Vortex again. Make sure the game runs from Vortex with nothing deployed; i.e. you fixed any dashboard shortcuts.
6) Back when you saved changes - you destroyed the Staging copy. For each enabled mod, you will need to select the Reinstall dropdown. It is quick.
7) Deploy. With a bit of luck, and maybe some last minute tweaking, you should be back in business.
And hang onto NTFSLinksView. It can answer a lot of links related questions.
Enough for this book. Happy modding!
Edited by rmm200, 04 September 2020 - 03:36 AM.