How to Move Installed Steam Games to Another Drive or Folder

With game install sizes ballooning to over 100GB, managing limited storage space can be a challenge for avid Steam gamers. Thankfully, Steam offers a built-in feature to easily move installed games between drives without having to redownload everything. This guide will cover the step-by-step process to transfer Steam games to another drive or folder.

Why Move Steam Games?

Here are some common reasons you may want to move your Steam games:

  • Free up space on your main drive: Games take up a lot of storage space. Moving them to another drive frees up room on your primary SSD or HDD.
  • Organize your game library: You can move certain games to specific drives to keep things tidy. For example, move multiplayer games to one drive and singleplayer games to another.
  • Take advantage of faster storage: Move games you play often to faster SSD storage to reduce load times. Move games you play rarely to a slower HDD.
  • Bring games to a new computer: If you get a new gaming PC, you can move games via external hard drive instead of redownloading.

Before You Move Steam Games

Before moving games, keep these tips in mind:

  • Close Steam and make sure it is not running in the background.
  • Do not move games while downloads or updates are in progress.
  • Create a full backup of the “Steamapps” folder as a precaution.
  • Verify you have enough free space on the destination drive.
  • Defragment the destination drive if it is an HDD for optimal performance.

Create a New Steam Library Folder

The first step is to create a new Steam library folder on the drive where you want to move games.

  1. Open Steam and click Steam > Settings
  2. Select the Downloads tab
  3. Click Steam Library Folders
  4. Click the plus icon to add a folder
  5. Choose the drive and location for the new folder
  6. Click New Folder if needed and name it
  7. Click Select to add the library folder

Move Steam Games to Another Drive

With the new library created, you can now move installed Steam games between drives.

Method 1: Use the Storage Manager

  1. In Steam, go back to Steam > Settings > Downloads > Steam Library Folders
  2. In the storage manager, check boxes next to games you want to move
  3. Click the Move button on the lower right
  4. Select the destination drive and click Move to confirm
  5. Wait for the transfer process to fully complete

Method 2: Use Game Properties

  1. In your Steam library, right-click a game and select Properties
  2. Click the Local Files tab > Move Install Folder
  3. Choose new Steam library destination from the dropdown
  4. Click Move and wait for completion

Repeat this process to move more games as needed.

Move Entire Steam Folder to Another Drive

To migrate your entire Steam installation and all games to a new drive:

  1. Exit Steam and go to the Steam folder (usually C:\Program Files\Steam)
  2. Delete all files/folders except steamapps, userdata, and steam.exe
  3. Cut and paste the Steam folder to the new drive
  4. Launch Steam, login, and wait for files to update
  5. Verify game file integrity afterwards

This will transfer your full Steam installation and all game content in one move.

Tips for Moving Steam Games

Keep these additional tips in mind:

  • Large games can take a while to move between drives. Be patient.
  • You can continue playing other installed games while moving some games.
  • After moving a game, verify integrity of game files to check for issues.
  • Remember to backup saves separately if not using Steam Cloud sync.
  • Add non-Steam games to your library to manage them through Steam.

Why Can’t I Move Some Steam Games?

In some cases, certain Steam games may not give you the option to move the install folder. This can happen for a few reasons:

Encrypted or Packed Files: Some game files are tightly packed or encrypted in ways that make moving the whole folder difficult. This is more common with older games.

Registry Data: A few games may store registry data or pointers to specific file paths that break when moving folders. This is rare with modern games.

Permissions Issues: Ensure you have full admin access and ownership permissions for both the original Steam library folder and the destination folder.

If a game cannot be moved through Steam normally, try using the manual process above to move the entire Steam folder instead. Verify file integrity and permissions afterward.

For severely problematic games, a full reinstall may be necessary after moving folders. Thankfully this is uncommon nowadays.


Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about moving Steam games:

Can I move games to an external drive?

Yes, Steam allows installing games on external drives. Just be sure the drive is connected before launching the game.

Will my save files be preserved?

If save games are synced via Steam Cloud, they will transfer over automatically. For local saves, copy the userdata folder during the Steam folder move.

What happens to downloaded mods and custom content?

Mods and custom content stored in the Steamapps folder will move over with games. But subscribed Steam Workshop content may need to be resubscribed.

Can I move back games that were transferred?

Yes, you can freely move games between Steam library folders as often as needed. Just be cautious of constant moves for large games.

What is the best software to move Steam games?

The built-in Steam tools are recommended for easily moving Steam games between folders and drives. Using manual file operations also works for advanced users.

What drive type should I move Steam games to?

For best game loading performance, use an SSD. For extra storage capacity, an HDD is okay, but load times will be slower. External drives work fine too.


Moving Steam games to a new drive or folder is straightforward thanks to Steam’s built-in storage manager and game properties features. By following the steps in this guide, you can easily transfer Steam game installs between library locations without needing to waste time or bandwidth redownloading everything.

Taking full advantage of Steam’s flexible storage options allows you to add more space for new games, organize your massive collection, optimize storage performance, and bring games across computers with minimal hassle. Just be sure to backup critical data beforehand.

With drive sizes increasing and game installs only getting bigger over time, properly managing your Steam storage is key to enjoying your gaming hobby. So if you find your current Steam drive filled to capacity, go ahead and move those games to a bigger and better home.