Epic Games Launcher: Add Feature to Detect Previous Unreal Engine Installations

I recently reset my Windows 10 PC and reinstalled the Epic Games Launcher, only to find there’s no option to scan a directory for previous Unreal Engine installations. Despite having five different Unreal Engine versions on a second SSD (D:\ drive), the launcher fails to recognize them.

Here are some points from my attempts and community suggestions:

  • Manual Rename Method: I tried renaming the previous install directory of the desired Unreal Engine version, starting the install in the launcher, pausing it, closing the launcher, deleting the new folder, and renaming the old install back to the original name. However, this method didn’t work.
  • Same Drive Installation: I installed the Epic Games Launcher on the same drive, hoping it would detect the existing installations. This also failed.
  • Command Line Installation: Running the command .\EpicGamesLauncher.exe -bulkAddUnrealEngineInstall did not yield the desired results.

While some users suggested starting Unreal Engine directly from the files without the launcher, this approach is not ideal. Having all engine versions accessible through the launcher allows for easier updates and adding plugins or marketplace assets. It would be beneficial if the Epic Games Launcher could search and detect existing Unreal Engine installations, saving time and bandwidth and simplifying the setup for complex projects.

Link to reddit thread for reference:

Quick update on this – Here is my post from reddit, explaining that I managed to get the previous installation of UE 5.4.2 to get recognized by Epic Games launcher, in a very hacky way.

I think this works with UE 5.4.2, but not work 5.3.2 and earlier… I started the 5.4 installation and paused it in the launcher after about 30 seconds. Kept the Epic Games launcher running in the background.

You have to rename the old directory to the new install directory -- Windows will prompt with a window that says "Confirm Folder Replace... If any files have the same names, you will be asked if you want to replace those files." Click "Yes"

A new window pops up asking to "Confirm Folder Replace" and you tick the checkbox for "Do this for all current items" then click "Yes"

Open the launcher and click the Play icon the the UE version. It will say "Installing" and "Verifying"

When I tried doing the same for 5.3.2, it looks like it decided to just re-install the engine from scratch anyways. My plugins Marketplace plugins folder is there, so hopefully everything works.

Perhaps I didn’t wait long enough for 5.3.2. installation before pausing. I am going to try on 4.2.7 to see the results.

In any case I think Epic should just allow us to select the directories manually. I can’t see a reason why this shouldn’t be an option.

Reference: https://www.reddit.com/r/unrealengine/comments/1dxp0xg/is_there_seriously_no_way_for_the_epic_games/