How to change the steam install path

Written by brandon w. campbell
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How to change the steam install path
Consider changing Steam's default storage path. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Whether you've already installed the Steam software platform on your computer or are about to, choosing where to store your ever-growing collection of PC games is an easy decision. If your primary hard drive is almost full, or you have a faster secondary hard drive, you should consider changing Steam's default storage path to the most suitable location. This simple task will give you greater control over your PC gaming experience and could potentially make your games run better.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Computer
  • Windows XP, Vista, or 7
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 1 Ghz or faster processor
  • Steam installation software

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    For New Steam Installations

  1. 1

    Go to and click the "Install Steam" button in the upper-right corner. Then click the green "Install Steam Now" button and run the executable "SteamInstall.msi" program.

  2. 2

    Follow the on-screen instructions until you get to the screen titled "Destination Folder." To choose where on your computer you would like to install the Steam program, and subsequently all of your downloaded games, click the "Browse" button. A new menu will pop up.

  3. 3

    Click the drop-down menu titled "Look in:" to choose the hard drive and folder where you will install Steam and save your downloads.

  4. 4

    Follow the on-screen instructions to complete your Steam installation.

    Move an Existing Steam Installation Folder

  1. 1

    Shut down Steam completely.

  2. 2

    Find where Steam is currently installed on your computer -- the default location is C:\Program Files\Steam\ -- then delete all files and folders, except the SteamApps folder and the Steam.exe program, which you should cut to your Windows clipboard by highlighting and pressing "Ctrl" and "V."

  3. 3

    Create a new folder wherever you want to move your Steam installations. For example, if you wanted to change from the default hard drive location, you could choose a second hard drive -- for example, "D:\Steam." Paste the files you cut from the default location in this new folder.

  4. 4

    Launch Steam, which will automatically update to the new location where all of your future downloads will be stored.

Tips and warnings

  • These instructions are specifically for PC Steam users. Mac users will have different installation instructions and folder options.

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