If you read our guide on how to install Steam games on D drive, you would’ve known that Steam installs games to C:\Program Files\ by default. And, although we provided steps to change the installation directory, changing it without reinstalling the game is different. You can afford to reinstall an indie game. But what about games like GTA 5 or Call of Duty: Modern Warfare that can take around 60 GB of storage space? With post-installation downloadable content, the latter was known to reach 170 GB! You also wouldn’t want to move the entire Steam library either. Instead, here’s how to move Steam games, one or a select few.
Create a new folder for the Steam game library
To transfer a Steam game to a different Steam library folder, you must create the said secondary folder first. If you haven’t already, here’s how.
- Click on Steam in the top left corner.
- From the drop-down list, select Settings.
- Select Downloads in the menu on the left.
- Click on the Steam Library Folders button.
- Click on Add Library Folder.
- Go to the desired drive, click on New Folder, and name it however you wish.
- Now, click on OK, then on Select. Highlight the folder you just made.
- If you did everything right, the folder is now added to the Steam Library Folders list.
- Click on Close.
Steps required to move Steam games
1. Relocate your game files to the second library in Steam
- Right-click on the game in your Steam library.
- From the drop-down menu, select Properties.
- Switch over to the Local Files tab.
- Click the Move Install Folder… button.
- Select the Steam library you created from the list, then click on Move Folder.
- Give Steam some time to complete the process.
2. Move the entire Steam game library
If you don’t have a lot of games, and you want to avoid moving them one by one, you can just transfer the entire library at once.
- Close Steam completely.
You can also open Windows Task Manager, go to Details, and look for Steam.exe to make sure it’s not active.
- Go to your current Steam game library folder. For example, C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam.
- Copy the entire folder (the one that contains SteamApps inside if there are multiple) to a new location.
- You can rename the original one to something random to use it as a backup, or delete it altogether.
You now have two options.
Right-click on Steam.exe from the new location, and log in as usual.
Move the SteamApps folder to a different folder. Uninstall Steam, install it in a new location, then shut down the Steam.exe again. Cut and paste the SteamApps folder into the new Steam folder, and launch Steam. After a brief loading period, things should work. If they don’t, try this.
- Right-click on the game that doesn’t work and select Properties.
- Go to the Local Files tab.
- Click the Verify integrity of game files… button and wait.
Alternative 1. Use mklink
This is the primary way people used to move Steam games before 2017 when Steam introduced options above. You can use these if Steam malfunctions because you don’t have to use the built-in way to add a Steam library.
- Create a new folder you want your game to be in.
- Find the original game folder, cut it (Ctrl + X), and paste it (Ctrl + V) to the new folder. Important: Don’t copy the folder, you must move it completely.
- Now open the Start bar, type ‘Command’.
- After Command Prompt is selected, click on Run as administrator.
- Now type:
mklink /d "original file path" "new file path"
mklink /d "C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps\Common\CSGO" "D:\Games\Steam\SteamApps\Common\CSGO"
- Press Enter on your keyboard.
- You now tricked Steam into thinking the game is still in the original folder when it isn’t.
Alternative 2. Use third-party utilities
Although the program was last updated back in June 2017, it still works like a charm. It’s extremely easy to use and does the same job of creating a symbiotic link.
If you need something that’s been updated recently, this is the way to go. Among a variety of security features, it includes a built-in way to move Steam games.
Our personal favorite. Simply click on the down arrow next to Code, and select Download ZIP. Extract the files, go to the Binaries and run Steam Library Manager.exe. In the program itself, you can see the libraries on the left, and games in the libraries listed on the right. Simply drag the game’s icon to another library, and track the progress in the Task Manager tab. The program works with Origin and Uplay libraries too.