Steam may face stiff competition from Epic and Uplay, but it's still a solid place to go for games right now. While digital downloads have gradually taken over for game discs, Steam makes it easier to manage hundreds of games. But what happens when you fill up your storage space? Can you change the game location in Steam? Can you move games to another drive?
While Steam does a great job of managing your library, you can control where games are installed and even move them around if you upgrade your storage or want different locations.
Changing Game Locations in Steam
For games that come on a disc, their size limit is based on storage capacity. Games require updates which are stored on a drive. Downloaded games are huge, but all files fit easily on HDDs and SSDs in one central location, with a few exceptions, of course. It's not uncommon for a game to take up 60-120GB of storage, and with downloadable content (DLC), add-ons, mods, and save files, storage is very valuable.
Steam creates a game storage folder by default but lets you choose where it creates it. You can also create different game folders in Steam and place them in other locations according to your needs. If Steam already exists and you already have games there, you can move them if you want. Here are some ways to change game download locations in Steam.
How to Move Existing Steam Game Downloads
Many Steam users find that they are running out of space on the currently used partition of the existing storage or need to replace the drive due to a failure or upgrade it to get more space. These examples usually lead to moving the games to a different location. Here's to moving your existing Steam games.
There's a clunky way to move your games and a smart way. As I have tried both, I will describe both. This first way is the wrong way, but it works.
- For a replacement or upgraded drive, have your operating system recognize the new device and format it. Mac uses the Apple File System (APFS) and Windows uses the New Technology File System (NTFS).
- In the existing games location, delete all the games you no longer need to speed up the whole process.
- Copy your Steam folder to the new drive.
- Start Steam, let it load and select a game.
- Right click on the game and select "Properties".
- Select "Local Files" and "Verify integrity of local files".
- Select the new location for Steam when it says it cannot find local files.
Copying your Steam folder will take some time, so it makes sense to delete any games you don't need. This solution does not work with all games, so you can uninstall it from Steam and reinstall it in the new location. You will not have to download the files again. You can ask Steam to identify the game and add it to your library.
A better way to move games to a new drive is to create a new games folder on that drive.
How to Create a New Games Folder in Steam
Creating a new Steam game folder is arguably a better way to move games to other locations. The process is built into Steam and means you can add games wherever you want. This method is a better solution for changing a game's folder because it does not require uninstalling and rediscovering the games in Steam.
- In Steam, click on "Menu" at the top and select "Settings".
- Choose "Downloads", then "Steam Library Folders" in the middle.
- Select "Add Library Folder" and point it to your new games location.
- Name your folder and select it to add it to your game library.
How to Move Games Between Steam Game Folders
Once you have multiple folders, you can move games between them. If you added an extra drive to accommodate more games, you can add your new folder to the new drive and move games between them. Here's how.
- Select the game, right click and select "Properties".
- Choose "Local Files", then "Move Installation Folder".
- Select your new games folder and choose "Move Folder".
This process retains all Steam links for the move and does not interfere with saved games or other settings.
Combine Multiple Disks into One Partition in Windows 10 for Steam Games
If you are adding a new player to your system, rather than moving games, increase the volume to include the existing game player and the new one. Windows and Steam both see a single partition, but it spans two different hard drives or SSDs. You can do this multiple times, and it's a simple way to manage disk space. Here's how.
- Add your new drive to your computer and have Windows format it.
- Select any drive in windows explorer, right click and select " Manage. »
- Select "Disk Management" from the left of the new window.
- Convert your game discs from "Basic" to "Dynamic" by right-clicking and selecting "Convert to Dynamic Disk".
- Select your original games disc, right-click on it, then select " To deploy themselves. »
- Select the new disk in the new window and click " To add. »
- Enter a size of your new partition on the right and select " Next. »
- Click on " To finish " to confirm your changes.
The above process is a much more elegant way to manage games in Steam. You can theoretically add more disks as you fill them and extend the partition as much as you want!