In my Steam folder, under steamapps, there is a downloading directory which is totaling more than 5gB. Exploring it shows game files for games that, not only do I not have a local installation for, but have since been removed from my library completely (trial for a HL mod).

Steam is currently not downloading anything (paused, suspended or otherwise) and I was wondering whether it was completely safe to just delete the files in steamapps/downloading.

I've restarted steam and it doesn't seem to be performing any cleanup

  • In general it's safe to delete anything in the Steam folder, with the exception of userdata (contains user settings) and steamapps (contains installed games and, depending on the game, save files). Even then, deleting those won't break steam, it'll just lose you some settings and save games and require re-installing all of your games. As long as steam.exe still exists, it can reconstruct or re-download everything else it needs.
    – ToxicFrog
    Commented Oct 13, 2013 at 0:16
  • 1
    that's what I meant by 'safe'; it won't have any of those consequences. I mean, if I meant safe in a way where nothing was irreversibly damaged I could just delete the whole Steam folder, because its all re-downloadable. I don't want to have to redownload or set up anything after doing this, was what I meant
    – Hashbrown
    Commented Oct 13, 2013 at 0:19

2 Answers 2


I noticed that the files and folders that were direct sub-folders of downloading were numbered.


These correspond with the steam app ID's of the games that don't exist on my system (17585).

There are no other files which leads me to believe that this is just a bug in Steam (because it is cleaning up files for games I do have).
I.e. it will clean up downloads for games that it knows about, but any other files it may have put there will not be removed if the game is deleted.

I deleted the files, restarted steam, and nothing adverse happened.


It should be ok. If in doubt just move the contents to somewhere else temporarily and see if it has any adverse affect.


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