How to change where Steam games install on your PC
Stop Steam from filling up the wrong drive with a few simple steps.
By default, Steam will download your games to whatever is the main drive on your PC. That is, whichever one Windows is installed on. In many cases that's not going to be a problem, but it will if you have a small SSD boot drive to complement a larger mass storage HDD, for example.
In this case, you need to tell Steam that you want things somewhere else. It's not immediately obvious how to do it, but it's not complicated, either.
- Click on the Steam menu in the top left of the screen.
- Select Settings. The Settings window will open.
- Select Downloads from the left column menu.
- Click on the Steam library folders button.
- Now click on Add library folders.
- Click on the drive menu and select your desired drive.
- Click add folder.
- Right click on the folder you just made and select make default folder.
Now you're all set. It won't automatically move any games you have stored on another drive, but it will now make sure that any new games you're downloading will be saved to the new one instead!
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Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine
Great advice, thanks!
I was just looking at this last night. I have a new PC I built last Feb and I have all my steam games on an Intel 450 gb SSD. I still have an untouched 4TB WD Black Diamond that was part of my build. I am fighting fighting to keep 50-100gb open on my SSD (They say thats the healthy thing to do) and finding it harder to do. I admit I have a ridiculous number of games (20-25) installed, but I like options. I was always afraid of touching the default settings on steam, but its looking like no big deal. I take it Steam just knows which hard drive the game is installed on if 2 drives are listed.
Yeah it'll not get rid of your existing library, rather add a new folder on the new drive that you then make default. So long as you see them both under Steam library folders you should be fine.
I have a 250 GB SSD so I keep all of my steam library and big games on my hdd. It doesnt really affect game play much either, loading just takes a little longer. You can also get crazy and make a backup, restore the back up to the hdd, and if everything is there, delete the games off the ssd and I think all saves and whatnot will be there. But for steam, if you lose a game you can just redownload it and saves will be gone but the game is there. :) Unless its an online game of course.
Yes of course it 'knows', just like windows know where your program files are whether or not its on seperate drives. I had this setup for the last 15 years with different HDD, because it's easier to split your drives up or organize your drives to have a 'media' drive, a games drive, and a main C' drive for programs and windows. Because of my OCD for games and games files, I needed more than 1 HDD, and found that having a multi HDD setup made sense, since i've had HDD failiures before, and those can be horrible.
"Now you're all set. It won't automatically move any games you have stored on another drive, ..." To move existing games, the info (as well as this article's how-to, is available @ Steam as well. Exit the Steam client application. Browse to the Steam installation folder for the Steam installation you would like to move (C:\Program Files\Steam by default). Delete all of the files and folders except the SteamApps & Userdata folders and Steam.exe Cut and paste the whole Steam folder to the new location, for example: D:\Games\Steam\ Launch Steam and log into your account. Steam will briefly update and then you will be logged into your account. For installed games, verify your game cache files and you will be ready to play. All future game content will be downloaded to the new folder (D:\Games\Steam\SteamApps\ in this example)
I love how the ms store works. Installing forza was easy as is moving the app to another Drive without the need to reinstall the thing. If only steam would move to the ms store. :).
Great article :), but i have only C drive on my system. :P
It's better to create a new partition, you won't lose all your date when you have to restore Windows.
You can always use an external drive, it's not as fast as an internal drive but it's unlikely you'll notice