I'm setting up an HTPC/Steam machine. It has a 60GB SSD drive for C (wow, small right?). There are several other drives, totalling about 2TB. I'm using Steam in big picture mode. When I install games via big picture I am not given a choice of install location, it looks like all the games are going in C.

Is there a way to force games to be installed on the F drive, for instance? I can see that I can set up a SteamLibrary folder on F (and I have) but I get no option to install on F when I install via Big Picture. What's the best way to solve this situation? I will run out of space on my C drive very quickly.

The reason this question is different from the other one: the other question is about installing games via Steam in standard mode. This question is about installing games in Big Picture mode -- they are very different experiences.

Windows 7.

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    Don't install using big picture mode? Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 4:25
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    Retitled since being in Big Picture is fundamental to the question. Related: gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/75999/…
    – Schism
    Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 4:32
  • Except you can't modify the install locations in Big Picture mode. Please undo your changes.
    – jcollum
    Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 4:44
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    Hm. My interpretation of your question was that it was asking how to install specifically in Big Picture. If that's not the important part (which is what the body makes it seem like), then it's a duplicate of the other post. Sorry about the mistake.
    – Schism
    Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 4:49
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    I bet Big Picture is currently using the default Steam library. You may want to change the default one to the not C drive library or delete the C drive library (without deleting its content) and see if that makes it install in the other library (drive). Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 11:31

5 Answers 5


Yes and no. While Steam doesn't support this directly that I know of (though I rarely use Big Picture mode), you can use a symbolic link to make Windows "lie" to Steam. This will require a keyboard and/or mouse for the initial setup, but shouldn't require them after that.

Assuming your SSD's Steam install is at C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam, and you want your games to be stored at F:\SteamApps:

  1. Make sure there's not already a folder at F:\SteamApps (or choose a different path).
  2. Move the folder C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps to F:\SteamApps. At this point, no SteamApps folder should exist in your SSD's Steam folder.
  3. Open a command prompt and run mklink /J "C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps" "F:\SteamApps"

Afterwards, if you look in C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam, you should see a shortcut leading to your HDD's SteamApps folder. When Steam queries for this folder, Windows will seamlessly send it through the symbolic link.

You can be more specific with your symlink, and only move certain games over, or everything under SteamApps\common, etc., but for the purposes of Big Picture mode, this should be your one-time-only setup step.

  • A bit annoying that it works great in non-big-picture mode, so I just close BPM and install my games. Not ideal, but it works. A symlink though was not something I thought of, thanks for sharing.
    – Seiyria
    Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 12:53
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    Thanks, I'll give this a shot later today, this is most likely the answer though.
    – jcollum
    Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 14:10
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    If you already have "f:\steamapps" (the target of the junction) set up as a library location in steam, you should probably remove that from the steam library list before adding the junction point. Just a hunch: its probably not a problem. Probably.
    – Yorik
    Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 21:13

So the answer is sort of. You can't choose an install location or set a default location for big picture mode (at the moment). There is no configuration for this, it will always use the default install location which is the drive Steam is installed on.

And that's the key. You can move your steam installation to a different disk and it will default to that location instead of to the one on your SSD.

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    Except Big Picture mode uses the first location always. Note I said "I get no option to install on F when I install via Big Picture".
    – jcollum
    Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 4:45
  • In addition, you can't remove the C drive location from that list. It appears that a) Big Picture will always install to the first location and b) the first location will always be the C drive. That's why I'm wondering if there's a way to force Steam to install to another drive for all installs.
    – jcollum
    Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 5:14
  • @jcollum Updated answer. Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 5:17
  • moving the whole steam install is actually very easy and won't "blow up" your install because of e.g. registry items pointing to the wrong location.
    – Yorik
    Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 21:11

I hope I can update this to be relevant to September 2016. Short background I reinstalled my OS (Win 10) and Steam was all ran from my D drive and all of my games.

I reinstalled Steam on my C:\ Drive and was able to get it to read my library from my D drive; in the app no less.

I went to the "Steam" menu in the upper left-hand corner, then went to "Settings", selected the "Downloads" section and clicked on the "Steam Library Folders".

From there I clicked "Add Library Folder" and found my "Steam" folder in my D:. NOTE: I could not make it specific to the "common" folder or anything, I had to select the entire "Steam" folder.

Then when I had the C:\ and D:\ drives recognized, the last step was to right-click on the D:\ and make it my default. All 36 games I had installed were recognized and ready to go.

I hope this helps anybody not wanting to reinstall every game or wanting to keep the Steam application on an SSD and the games on another drive.


Before Steam supported multiple library folder I would install steam to a different place than C:\program files (eg. g:\steam), I don't know if this will still work but it could be worth trying as steam is pretty great a recognising games in libraries from previous installs now (I just install win10 and after adding my old steam library to a new install it just had to check for dx etc when launching any of the games in it)


One VERY important thing to force the discovery : Discovered that by lurjing around in the steam Files.

When Steams restart downloading the game, check it's ID number in ...\steamapps\Doanloading[folder ID eg:237895] Then while steam is closed, delete the ...\steamapps\appmanifest_[ID].acf

Restart steams and you're good to go. If you edit the this file for curiosity, you'll find that it sotres the folder name to download to, how much you already downloaded etc... By deleting it, you just force steam to go through all the process again ;-)

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