Video games can take up a lot of space on your computer. Some of them can be as big as 45 to 60GB, and you may not have enough storage space when you want to install new games you really want to try out. If you want to completely uninstall some of your Steam games, this guide will help you. This guide is specifically for uninstalling games on a Mac and Windows desktops or laptops. It will also cover uninstalling titles from an external hard drive.
Inside this article:
- Where Does Steam Install Games?
- Why Uninstall a Steam Game?
- How to Uninstall Steam Games Completely from Your Computer
- Deleting Games From the Steam Cloud
- Deleting Left-Over Mods
- Will I Lose All My Saved Game Data If I Delete My Games?
- How to Uninstall Steam Without Deleting Games
- How to Reinstall Steam Games
To completely uninstall Steam games, you have to know their exact location on your computer. By default, Steam chooses the location for the installation but there is an option to choose a different folder. So if you did that, you would have to access that directory. Below is the default location of all the game files. You can type this address directly from your folders’ browser both on Windows and Mac.
- PC – C:/Program Files (x86)/Steam/steamapps/common
- Mac – ~/Library/Application Support/Steam/SteamApps/common/
If you have changed your Steam game’s installation location to an external hard drive, you have to connect it to your computer to uninstall your games. Enter the password if you have protected your external HD with one. Your game files will typically be in a folder similar to the ones above but its parent directory will be the folder that you chose for the installation. Look for the folder named Steam then click on SteamApps and choose the folder named common.
As this guide says, the greatest benefit and the most common reason why gamers would choose to completely uninstall a game is to free up disc space. Some role-playing games (RPGs) can be especially heavy on your drives. A lot of people have limited storage on their computers so it is not always possible to keep as many games as they would like. You may also just want to delete a game if you have finished it and simply want to focus on the ones you are currently playing. You could also erase it if you were not satisfied with it at all. So take a look at the steps below and learn how to uninstall your games.
There are two main ways to uninstall your Steam games. One is from your library and the other is directly from your device. Some advanced users may choose to uninstall using their computer’s terminal, but we will stick to simpler and easier ways.
After you uninstall a game from Steam, there may be other files left on your computer that may take up a lot of storage space. These steps will ensure that all files will be deleted. Take note that this does not remove your games from your library, meaning you will still own them and can reinstall them any time.
This is the fastest way to delete your games since you will be doing it from the Steam client.
- From your desktop or application launcher, launch the Steam app by clicking on the icon.
- Click on Library from the top menu beside Store.
- From the left column, look for the game you wish to uninstall and click on it. You can confirm that it’s on your computer if it has the green Play button.
- Right-click on the game then click on Manage from the dropdown.
- Click on Uninstall. You will see a popup confirming if you want to uninstall the game. It will tell you that you would have to re-download the game if you want to play it in the future.
- Click on Uninstall again.
The other way is to delete the game folder from your laptop or desktop. This takes a few more steps than uninstalling from the Steam client. Before doing any of these steps, make sure that Steam is not running. Close or force-quit the app if it is.
- Click on the Windows icon on the bottom left of your PC or wherever you have set the main menu bar’s location.
- Go to Settings by clicking on the gear icon from the left menu. It will show you a popup with several options like System, Devices, Phone, etc.
- Click on Apps which is on the right side. It will take you to the Apps and Features menu.
- Scroll down to look for your game or type its name on the search bar.
- Click on the game and select Uninstall below it beside the Modify button. You will see a message saying that its related info will also be uninstalled.
- Confirm your selection.
- Launch your Finder app by clicking on it from the App Launcher or the pinned apps on the bottom of your computer.
- Go to Applications and scroll down to look for the game or search for it on the search bar.
- Drag and drop the game to the trash bin.
- Another option is to click on it and press Command + Delete at the same time.
- Confirm that you want to delete the game.
As mentioned, uninstalling Steam games from your library or computer does not permanently delete them from your library or from Steam’s cloud storage. Steam stores all your game files in the cloud, so it won’t be completely erased from your account by just uninstalling it from your computer. Take the following steps if you want to completely remove the game from your account. This will stop Steam from syncing your computer with their server.
🛑 Warning: This will delete all your game files including your saved game data. Do not do this if you wish to play this game in the future.
- Launch Steam and access your Library as stated in the above steps.
- Right-click on the game you want to delete and select Properties.
- Click on General. You will see a section that says Steam Cloud. Below that, you will see a couple of checkboxes.
- Uncheck the option that says Keep Games in the Steam Cloud.
- This will delete all your files including your progress in the game.
Now that you have uninstalled the games, you can delete all the leftover files such as mods that you have created or downloaded. Mods allow you to change your games. This includes adding unique graphics, creating unique game items, or even completely new stories. Gamers typically use this option when they have finished a game and want to play it again differently. Not all games support this feature, though.
If you have installed mods for the game you want to uninstall, here the steps to delete them:
- Launch Steam and click or hover your mouse on Community on the top menu. Select Workshop from the dropdown.
- Under Your Workshop Files, click on Your Files then scroll down and click on Subscribed Items. You will see a list of the mods or items that you have subscribed to.
- Click on Unsubscribe and confirm it.
- From the Steam app, right-click on the game again and select Properties from the dropdown.
- Select Local Files from the right menu and click on Browse. This will open the folder where those game files are stored.
- Look for the addons folder and right-click on the addons file. It usually has a .vpk extension.
- Right-click on it and select delete from the dropdown.
- Confirm the action.
As you can see from the warning above under Deleting Games From the Cloud, your saved game data will only be deleted if you removed it from the server. If you have simply uninstalled your Steam games, whether it’s done from the app or your computer, you still get to keep your data.
This means that you get to keep your progress or location on the game if you want to reinstall and play it again in the future.
As long as you skipped the steps on deleting your games from the cloud, you will most likely still have your characters and downloadable content (DLCs). However, this is not guaranteed for all games. Make sure to check with the developers or the game’s website as well. A lot of RPGs and MMORPGs allow you to add DLCs like The Elder Scrolls Online DLCs, for example. You can still access them if after you have reinstalled your games. However, you will need to download and install them again on your device.
Sometimes, you cannot reinstall your DLCs directly from the Steam client. You would have to go to the game’s website, download it again, and reinstall it. If you have purchased it, you should not have to pay for it again.
If it is the Steam client that you want to delete from your computer, there are steps you can take to uninstall it without deleting your games. Why would anyone do that? This is recommended if you want to take a break from gaming or if you want to temporarily free up space.
Deleting the Steam app will prevent you from launching and playing your games. You can uninstall Steam and keep your games on your Mac or PC but you will not be able to play them. To delete Steam without losing your games, below are the steps.
- To ensure that you will keep your game files, you can move the SteamApps folder from your C drive to another folder.
- To do this, you can go to C:/Program Files (x86)/Steam/steamapps/common and move the game folder to another location.
- Access the Apps and Features menu as stated on the steps for uninstalling Steam games from your PC. You can do this by clicking on the Windows icon and clicking on Settings then Apps.
- Scroll down to click on the Steam icon or type Steam on the search bar.
- Click on the icon and click on Uninstall below it.
- Confirm the action.
- As with PC, move your Steam game’s folder to another directory by accessing it from your Finder.
- You can go directly to ~/Library/Application Support/Steam/SteamApps/common/ then select the game folder and move it to another location.
- Go back to the Finder and click on Applications.
- Scroll down to the Steam icon and drag and drop it to the trash bin.
- Alternatively, you can right-click on it and click on Uninstall.
- Confirm that you want to uninstall Steam.
If you decide to reinstall after you’ve uninstalled Steam games from your Mac or PC, there are several steps you need to take, depending on whether you’ve deleted your files completely. Take note that if you have done all of the steps above, including deleting your files from the cloud, you may have to purchase the game again and start from scratch. If the games are still in your Steam Library, you can easily reinstall them.
First, if you have uninstalled the Steam app, you will have to download it again by going to the official Steam website. Click on the green Install Steam button on the top right of the screen. Click on install Steam.
- Launch Steam and go to your Library. If you still own the game, you should see it on the left column.
- Games that you still own but have been uninstalled will show the blue Install button on them instead of the green Play button. You will also see when you have last played the game and how many hours you’ve played it.
- Make sure that you have enough storage space to reinstall the game.
- To see how much space is required, you can click on the Store Page below the Install button. If you own it, you will also see a message in green saying the game is already in your library.
- Scroll down and check the required space under System Requirements. See the required HD space beside where it says Hard Drive.
- If you have enough space to reinstall the game, go back to your Library and click on the game again.
- Click on Install.
- Wait for the game to finish downloading and follow the prompts. This includes giving it access to your folders again.
If you want to reinstall your Steam games to an external hard drive, you can revisit our guide on how to change Steam games’ install location.
Uninstalling Steam Games completely from your computer is a practical step if you want to free more disc space. However, as you can see from above, this is not recommended if you want to play the games again in the future and continue where you’ve left off. Fortunately, you can simply skip the final steps on this guide if you want to keep your game files intact.