How To: Install Steam Games to Different Hard Drives

By Published January 05, 2012 at 1:07 pm

Our SSD article kicked off a discussion among a few forum users and commenters, even a couple of staff, all wondering how to better manage limited SSD space when Steam forces its games to be installed on a single location on the hard drive. Due to this Steam restriction, you're basically forced to have all of your games on a single, designated drive, at which point -- if you had a 60-100GB SSD, you'd have to add and remove games quite frequently.

In this short tutorial, we're going to address the question of how to move Steam games to a different drive or folder/directory. It's quite easy, actually, and we're going to do it all with a simple utility that I discovered about a year ago when I had the same questions.

 

Fair disclaimer: neither we nor the author of the utility can guarantee the safety of your files, so please back up your save game data prior to transferring it en masse. This will ensure the security of your save games in the event the game gets corrupted, which it likely won't, but it's always possible given the amount of people out there.

steam-moverDon't judge me. I have an issue with never uninstalling things.

Steam mover, available here and mirrored here, is a simple utility that executes move commands to 'archive' your unused Steam games. Let's take this scenario:

You have a 120GB SSD, 30GB of which is consumed by a large install of Windows, several GB used by core applications, leaving you with only 50GB or so for games. You want to run your favorite 3 - 4 games on your SSD while 'storing' the rest on your HDD. Why not just uninstall the unused ones? Well, if you decide you don't want to re-download a game all day and night, it's useful to have it ready-to-play on a different drive. All you have to do is move it back.

Here's how to move your files around.

  • Download Steam Mover.
  • Unpack the archive to a convenient directory.
  • Launch SteamMover.exe.
  • You'll be presented with the above screen.
  • Set your Steam Apps common folder if it is not already set (normally C:\Program Files\Steam\steamapps\common\). This is where files will be moved from.
  • Set your alternate folder, this is where files will be moved to.
  • Back-up all saved games for the targeted games.
  • Select a game you want to move. Click the blue arrow in the bottom panel to move it over.
  • Command prompt will open and automatically execute move commands (faster than an interface).
  • You're done! To move the game back for play, simply repeat these steps and then click the left blue arrow instead.

 

As always, questions are more than welcome below if you have issues.

Last modified on January 05, 2012 at 1:07 pm
Steve Burke

Steve started GamersNexus back when it was just a cool name, and now it's grown into an expansive website with an overwhelming amount of features. He recalls his first difficult decision with GN's direction: "I didn't know whether or not I wanted 'Gamers' to have a possessive apostrophe -- I mean, grammatically it should, but I didn't like it in the name. It was ugly. I also had people who were typing apostrophes into the address bar - sigh. It made sense to just leave it as 'Gamers.'"

First world problems, Steve. First world problems.

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