I use (and have it much bigger) drive D: to store all my user data and games, but I have installed the Steam client on drive C:. When I was installing a first game (Warhammer 40000), I've chosen to place my library folder on drive D: and the game went there.

But now as I've got installed the second game (Portal), I can see that it was put on drive C: despite to the choice I've done previously. When I open Steam - Settings - Downloads + Cloud - Steam library folders, I can see both installation places in the list. Can I merge them into one?

I would even agree to use the default drive C: library (as I've replaced it with a symlink already). When I press to remove one library it says it can only remove empty ones.

  • 1
    There is a way, using links. It's even simple, but the question is now protected by community: I can't answer
    – Vinz243
    Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 16:04
  • 3
    The best answer, which should be accepted, is the one by aytimothy below. You basically right-click on the game and go to Properties. Then, under Local Files tab, you click Move Install Folder. That's it.
    – Jesse
    Commented Apr 10, 2018 at 11:49

6 Answers 6


Before January 19th 2017, there was no built in method to move games between libraries

Here is what I did though:

  1. Browsed to the steamapps folder that the game is currently installed into
  2. Copied the game folder for the game I wanted to move into the other Steam library (it's important you copy it; don't move it)
  3. Deleted the game within Steam (delete local content)
  4. Reinstalled the game, selecting the other game library

This finished "downloading" to the new location instantly, since the files were already present in the new location.

Important note on the folder structure of the destination library

It is important to note that as of trying this process on 2/11/2016 you cannot simply paste the folder into the destination "steamapps" folder but instead to a "common" folder within the "steamapps" folder.

For example if you created a Steam Content Library at "D:\Games\Steam" you will want to paste your game folder into "D:\Games\Steam\steamapps\common" resulting in something like "D:\Games\Steam\steamapps\common\Grand Theft Auto V"

  • 3
    Steam now officially supports moving games! I think this answer is no longer needed.
    – user79446
    Commented Jul 6, 2017 at 0:14
  • @HugoZink Some games do not have "Move the install folder..." option in the properties. So for them, this method is still valid. Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 2:23

I took a more... technical approach.

If you're not comfortable with editing files or if you just want a simpler approach, please use one of the other answers. Otherwise, this lets you skip having to "delete" and "reinstall" the game when you relaunch Steam — it's all seamless. It's not actually time-saving or anything, but if you want to feel badass, you can follow what I did:

Note that Steam has updated the format of its .acf files since I originally posted this answer, such that you no longer need to edit them. It does still have the benefit of being seamless and not requiring having to "delete" and "reinstall" the game, however. I've updated my answer in the interest of not confusing future readers, but check out sj26's answer for a summary of basically the same updated process.

  1. Find out the game's app ID in the store. (You can easily get to this by viewing the game in your library, and clicking the link that says Store Page, although this won't work for games no longer in the store such as Deadpool; you'll need to use a search function in that case.)

  2. Open the SteamApps folder where the game resides. Make sure Steam isn't running.

  3. Open the game's manifest file, appmanifest_<app ID>.acf, in a text editor (I did say technical).

  4. Find the line that contains the string "installdir". Here's mine:

    "installdir"        "Team Fortress 2"
  5. This is your game folder. Typically, this folder can be found in the common folder within SteamApps; the main exception are Valve games still under the legacy distribution system and not SteamPipe, but that's out of the scope of this answer.

    If you want, back up this folder, as well as the manifest file itself.

  6. Move the game's folder. In my case, I moved Team Fortress 2 in the common folder from the old library to the new library.

  7. Move the manifest file to the new SteamApps folder.

  8. Relaunch Steam, and the game should be there without you having to do anything further within the program. You can just launch the game right away.

    If you want, you can verify that the game is in its new location. You can do this by right-clicking, choosing Properties and going to the Local Files tab. If your new library resides on a different drive letter, this drive letter should be reflected. From here, you can click Browse Local Files.... You can also Verify Integrity of Game Cache... but if you didn't modify any files in the process that should not be necessary.

  • 2
    The Annoying Pyro's (TAP) procedure works perfectly. No need to backup/restore. The backup and restore process takes twice as long, as you are doing TWO copies rather than one. One of my games had an "appinstalldir" of just "c:\\". I still set to the new absolute path location. TAP says if his procedure makes you squeamish to use the backup/restore, but there's no risk if you save the original ACF files. You can always just move the game back and set the ACF to its original contents.
    – user52814
    Commented Jul 29, 2013 at 19:06
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    I found this didn't work for me and Steam kept renaming it back. I then tried moving the game from D:\...\SteamApps\common\game to C:\...\SteamApps\common\game and the .acf file from D:\...\SteamApps\appmanifest_.acf to C:\...\SteamApps\appmanifest_.acf. I didn't edit the .acf file. Then I opened Steam again and it just worked. I'd post as an answer but I don't have 10 rep earned on this site. Commented Nov 23, 2013 at 15:23
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    This answer may be out of date--there doesn't appear to be an "appinstalldir" element in the acf files anymore. Instead we have "installdir" however this value is not fully-qualified; Steam appears to be interpreting it to be a relative path, although how it establishes the app's parent folder, i.e. the correct steam library, isn't clear just yet.
    – bwerks
    Commented Dec 27, 2013 at 18:31
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    Just like bwerks, there dosnt seem to be an appinstalldir anymore Commented Jan 12, 2014 at 16:29
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    There is no appinstalldir element in new acf files. If you have games that were installed before the element was dropped, they'll still have appinstalldir in them. I used the powershell command select-string -path .\*.acf -pattern appinstalldir | foreach {$_.path} to find these legacy acf files, deleted them, then manually moved the corresponding game folders to the new library. Those games will show as not installed in Steam, but if you install them, it'll find the existing data.
    – JamesGecko
    Commented Jul 5, 2014 at 20:14

Since January 19th 2017 it is now possible to use the built-in "Move install folder" function from within the Steam client (even without participating in the beta program).

Simply go to [Insert Game Name] > Properties > Local Files > Move Install Folder..., as shown below:

In the big red circle.

That or you could move the files and the manifests over...

  • 7
    This should be the accepted answer. Commented Jul 16, 2017 at 21:42
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    Seriously, @Ivan mark this one as accepted answer please. It can save people tons of time and effort. I started moving folders and things like that until I scrolled down an saw this answer. Commented Nov 23, 2017 at 21:07
  • Weirdly, this button appears on all of my Steam games that I've checked, except for Half-Life 2, HL2 Episode One, and Left 4 Dead 2. Also, weird is that it appears for Half-Life 2: Deathmatch, HL2: Lost Coast and HL2: Episode Two (and I've been able to move their installation folders). Commented Jun 17, 2020 at 8:51
  • Wonder how many poor souls are still trying the 8 step processes in older answers since Steam put this feature in place? Please make this the accepted answer.
    – Mani5556
    Commented Mar 8, 2021 at 20:09

Steam's library folder infrastructure means you can simply exit Steam, move the acf and common subdirectory between library folders, and restart Steam.

If you want to move all your games:

  1. Exit Steam.

  2. Open the old and new libraries' SteamApps directories.

    For example, c:\Program Files\Steam\SteamApps and d:\SteamLibrary\SteamApps.

  3. Move all the appmanifest_*.acf files and the common directory from the old SteamApps directory to the new SteamApps directory.

    For example, appmanifest_220.acf is Half-Life 2's app manifest, and the common directory should contain the Half-Life 2 directory.

  4. Restart Steam.

If you only want to move specific games:

  1. Exit Steam.

  2. Find out the game's app ID in the store.

    Half-Life 2 is on the store at http://store.steampowered.com/app/220/ so its app ID is 220

  3. Open the old and new libraries' SteamApps directories.

    For example, c:\Program Files\Steam\SteamApps and d:\SteamLibrary\SteamApps.

  4. Move appmanifest_[app ID].acf from the old SteamApps directory to the new SteamApps directory.

    For example, appmanifest_220.acf is Half-Life 2's app manifest.

  5. Open the appmanifest_[app ID].acf with Notepad or your favourite text editor and look for "installdir" "[directory name]" where [directory name] is the next directory your need to move.

    For example, "installdir" "Half-Life 2".

  6. Open the common directory in both SteamApps directories.

    Again, c:\Program Files\Steam\SteamApps\common and d:\SteamLibrary\SteamApps\common

  7. Move the game directory named as above from the old common directory to the new common directory.

    Completing our example, move c:\Program Files\Steam\SteamApps\common\Half-Life 2 to d:\SteamLibrary\SteamApps\common\Half-Life 2.

  8. Restart Steam.

Disclaimer: Back up your library or don't care about the outcome.

  • my favorite answer Commented Dec 26, 2014 at 3:30
  • This didn't work for me. Right-click -> Properties for the game in Steam still shows the old place as the installation path, and launching the game fails because Steam cannot find the executable.
    – user16401
    Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 3:11
  • 1
    This is the best answer because the folder and acf are meant to stay in sync. If the acf isn't moved, and a new acf is created with the "install" button, Steam can't know which language/dlc/etc were enabled and may download gigabytes of unwanted data.
    – Tobu
    Commented Jun 21, 2015 at 14:23
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    This is the highlighted answer on google XD , works great! Commented Jul 25, 2015 at 8:58
  • Should also add the final step of Verify Integrity of Game Cache (steam link) Commented Sep 20, 2015 at 17:46

I done something similar few months ago.

As far as I remember I simply turn off Steam then cut and paste game folders from my HDD steamapps to external Drive steamapps folder. After turning on Steam "repaired" games downloading 100-200 MB and that was it.

Here you have tutorial from Valve how to do similar stuff.

  • 1
    While I have not had my steam folder separated like the OP, I have moved the full steam folder several times and across computers (upgrades) by turning off steam and moving the folder. Steam figured this out right away and recovered pretty easily as you stated.
    – horatio
    Commented Dec 18, 2012 at 18:16
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    This works for moving the SteamApps directory wholesale, but unfortunately not consistently for individual games. One must follow kalina's directions to solve OP's (and my) issue.
    – Mike S
    Commented Mar 31, 2013 at 17:16

I have created a video on how to do something like this.

Basically, you backup the games to a location, then delete the games' local content, then go to Steam > Backup and Restore Games

Restore your games and pick the new location for them to install to. All from disc; no downloading.

  • 2
    Most awful experience ever. tl;dr: Don't do it.. It won't only NOT always succeed, it will last forever..
    – DrFish
    Commented Jul 17, 2013 at 16:01
  • 2
    @bora I haven't had trouble with steam backups, although occasionally restoring from them ends up with you downloading a lot of data anyway because of updates. I find it best to do backup one game at a time, rather than backing up the whole shebang.
    – badp
    Commented Jul 30, 2013 at 13:40

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