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If anyone caught me in chat, I'm currently having problems with Steam, which is keeping me not only from playing Portal 2, but also from accessing any of the other 28 steam game shortcuts on my desktop.

I'm considering just uninstalling and then reinstalling Steam, hoping that will knock loose whatever wheels got clogged in the first place, but, I'd rather look for alternative ways if uninstalling steam means redownloading all of those games.

So, do Steam-installed games stay installed on your hard drive when steam itself is removed?

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To actually answer the question in the title: Yes - if you choose to uninstall Steam through Uninstall Programs and Features in Control Panel , all Steam games will be uninstalled with Steam –  Private Pansy Mar 3 '13 at 15:01

3 Answers 3

up vote 18 down vote accepted

Move the subfolder /steamapps/ in a safe place before uninstalling Steam, then do the following steps:

  1. Uninstall Steam
  2. Reinstall Steam
  3. Launch Steam
  4. Exit Steam
  5. Move the content of your /steamapps/ backup to the new /steamapps/ subfolder
  6. Relaunch Steam

At this point Steam should find all games without any other action; in the worst case, where Steam does not detect some games as installed, just reinstall them and the game will be downloaded and ready in few seconds/minutes because it only need to validate the game content cache.

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Whew: Word of note - if you have as many installed games as I do, this will take a while. Took about 4 full minutes to move the files. –  Raven Dreamer Apr 19 '11 at 19:03
    
@Raven I have 199 games and probably more than 200 GB in /steamapps/, I know the pain :D good luck –  Drake Apr 19 '11 at 19:18
    
116 gigs! It looks to have worked perfectly, though I do not yet know if it will restore my shortcut icons. –  Raven Dreamer Apr 19 '11 at 19:22
3  
Final note: this will require you re-verify your steamguard twice, once when reinstalling, and a second time when you replace your steamapps folder in step 5. –  Raven Dreamer Apr 19 '11 at 19:44
    
@Raven Last time I did it Steam Guard wasn't released yet, good to know. –  Drake Apr 19 '11 at 21:11

Before drilling a giant hole through the mountain, you can check if there are pathways around it.

Have you tried deleting everything except your steam.exe and steamapps in the same directory and re-running steam.exe?

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You can also create a backup of your Steam Games. You can use it to backup your saves to CD, DVD or an external hard drive. You also have the option of backing up individual games or all of your Steam games. If you backup multiple games at once, you are given the option to choose which games you'd like to restore when you initiate the restore procedure. I used this when upgrading from Windows Vista to Windows 7.

See Steam Support:Using the Steam Backup Feature

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It's much better answer than the accepted one –  Andrzej Bobak Dec 5 '12 at 15:25

protected by kalina Oct 20 '13 at 11:41

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