One of the main complaints that many gamers have in regards to Valve Software's popular Steam gaming platform is the limitation to one installation directory and partition. While you can use some magic, in form of programs like Steam Mover to move some folders to another drive, it was not something that a lot of Steam users knew about or wanted to use.
If you have been running out of disk space on the drive Steam was installed on, you were left with the choice to uninstall one of your installed games to make space for the new game, or move the entire Steam games library to another drive on your computer.
Move Steam games to another hard drive
Valve finally seems to have come to their senses. When you run a game installation on Steam now, you will be presented with an "choose drive to install to" option. You can use the option to create a secondary Steam library on another drive that is connected to the computer locally, or pick one of the libraries that you have created previously.
Please note that you only see the option if the system has another partition or hard drive that is accessible under its own drive letter. You won't get that option if you only have one partition on the system.
A click on "create new Steam library on drive x:\" opens a configuration menu where you can select the Steam library folder location on the drive. You need to create a folder for the new Steam library as you can't select the drive root as the location.
Steam goes back to the game installation screen afterwards and displays the newly selected path under the installation options. The game is then downloaded and installed as usual on the system.
It feels strange that it took Valve that long to integrate secondary game libraries into Steam. The rise of Solid State Drives may have convinced the company to give it a shot, considering that you can't save lots of games on an average SSD.
Manage Steam libraries
To manage existing Steam libraries, or create new ones, you may also use the Steam settings.
- Select View > Settings in the Steam client.
- Switch to the Downloads listing.
- Locate the "Steam Library Folders" menu at the top and click on it.
- This opens the manage interface listing all existing Steam library folders.
- Click on Add Library Folder to add a new folder that you can from that moment on select when installing games, or click on one of the existing folders (with the exception of the default folder) to remove a library folder again.
The option to select an alternate download and installation location for Steam games is really useful, especially if the main hard drive partition of the computer, the one Steam was installed on, is not large enough to hold all the games that you want to keep available on the system.