How to install or move your Steam games to a different drive

Author
Ned Jordan
Date
7/13/2010
In Short
Running out of room for your games? Want to move your games to a new drive or even a new computer? This step by step guide will help.

Has your collection of Steam games grown so large that your hard disk is now bursting at the seams? Or do you have a huge second hard disk on your PC for your games and want Steam to put your games on that disk instead of your C: drive? Or did you get a new computer and are dreading the hours it's going to take you to re-download your Steam game collection to your new gaming rig and the loss of your saved games? If you answered 'yes' to any of these questions, then I know what you're going through. My gaming PC had a large drive that I filled up relatively quickly with games. I got tired of having to uninstall a game from my Steam library every time I got a new game, so I added a terabyte second disk to it just to hold games. I thought it would be a simple matter to point Steam to my new drive and have it start downloading and installing games there. Unfortunately, it was not a simple matter at all. In fact, I couldn't find an option anywhere in the Steam application for setting or changing the download destination drive. It took a little digging, but I was able to find a way to move my Steam library to my new hard drive. It requires reinstalling Steam, but that's a minor inconvenience in comparison to downloading everything all over again and potentially losing your saved games in the process. I've listed the steps you need to take below, and I hope that it saves you a lot of frustration and aggravation trying to accomplish what should have been a simple task and certainly one that should have been built into the Steam client application.

  1. Make sure that Steam is not running. Check your task tray which sits on the right end of the Windows Taskbar for the Steam app icon, and if you see it there right-click on it and select "Exit".
  2. Open up My Computer and navigate to the folder in which you've installed Steam. If you just used the default folder during installation, you'll find it at C:/Program Files/Valve/Steam.
  3. Look for a folder named SteamApps and copy it to another location. The location you copy it to doesn't matter we're just going to hold it there temporarily. This folder can be quite large, so if you're moving Steam to a new drive due to space issues, you'll want to copy SteamApps to a temporary location on the new drive.
  4. Use the control panel applet to uninstall Steam. In XP it's Control Panel->Add or Remove Programs, in Vista it's "Uninstall a Program" in the Control Panel Home page or "Programs and Features" in the Classic View. Find Steam in the list of applications and select "uninstall".
  5. Reinstall Steam by following this link: cdn.steampowered.com/download/SteamInstall.msi. If you're moving Steam to a new computer, make sure that you click the link on the new computer and not the old one. Install Steam to the drive where you want Steam to store your games e.g. if you're moving your games to a new drive, install Steam on that drive. This is important because if you just go with the default install options you'll just end up back where you started.
  6. Move your old SteamApps folder that you safely stored away in Step 3 into the new folder where you've reinstalled Steam. There will be an existing default SteamApps folder there, so simply replace it with your old folder. If you get a warning about overwriting files, select the option to go ahead and overwrite any duplicate files.
  7. Start Steam and log into your account.
  8. Select the Games->View Games Library option and you should see that all of your old games are listed and are playable.

That's it. You're back on your feet and are good to go. Any new games that you purchase will go directly to the new drive or computer to which you moved Steam. Happy gaming!





Transmitted: 8/13/2020 3:15:30 AM