How to uninstall Steam games (and reinstall them later)

Modern digital game distribution makes buying and installing games easier than ever. If you play games on a PC, there is a very good chance you’re using Steam. With many games requiring more and more storage space for all those HD textures and uncompressed audio tracks, most players don’t have space for every game on their hard drives. Plus, with those attractive Steam sales that are the source of the bulk of our libraries, it’s easy to amass a huge offering of games.

If you’re switching to buying games on the new Epic Games store, you might not even want your older collection of Steam games installed on your system at all, and Epic is quickly building up its own library of digital titles. Luckily, we’ll show you how to uninstall Steam games so you can clear space on your hard drive.

Steam lets you uninstall and reinstall any game you’ve paid for whenever you want. The process is almost as easy as installing them in the first place. In this guide, we’ll teach you how to uninstall Steam games, taking you through the process step by step.

If you’re in running low on storage space but don’t want to delete your favorite games, consider some indie titles instead, or how about a bigger, better hard drive?

Uninstalling through Steam

The quickest and easiest method to uninstall a game is through Steam itself.

Step 1: Open the Steam client and log in, if required.

Step 2: Click the Library tab in the top navigation menu.

Step 3: Locate and right-click the game you want to uninstall in your library, which should open a drop-down menu. From there, head down to Manage, and then a new drop-down menu will appear. On that drop-down, click Uninstall.

Step 4: Steam will confirm with you whether you want to completely uninstall the game. When you are ready, click the Uninstall button.

The game will now be uninstalled. The game will still appear in your Steam list on the left, but you’ll need to reinstall it to play.

If you ever want to reinstall it, simply double-click the game’s name or right-click and choose Install from the pop-up menu. Then, follow the on-screen instructions. To save space on your main drive, you could consider installing the game in a secondary location.

Uninstalling through Windows

If you would rather not uninstall your games directly through Steam, you can delete the game at the system level. Much like any other Windows application, you can uninstall your Steam games through Windows’ own Programs and Features menu.

Although this process will still take you to the Steam interface for the final step, you might prefer this method if you’re cleaning out various parts of your system at once.

Step 1: Search for “apps and features” or navigate to the Control Panel shortcut in the Start menu, and click the Uninstall a Program option under Programs.

Step 2: Find the game you want to uninstall. Listing every program by name or install date may help you find things quickly. When you’ve found it, click Uninstall from the menu above or right-click the game and click Uninstall from the resulting menu.

Step 3: You will then be taken to the Steam interface. Log in, if needed. When presented with the final confirmation box, click Uninstall to finalize the uninstall. Your game will be deleted.

There is no way to reinstall a game purchased on Steam without using the Steam interface. If you want to reinstall the game at a later date, enter Steam, select the game from your library, and double-click the game name. You can also right-click the game name, then select Install. From there, simply follow the on-screen instructions.

Uninstalling manually

While all of the above methods should work for uninstalling Steam Games, it never hurts to double-check with a manual uninstallation. Manually deleting your game files is a bit more complicated, but it’s the best way to be sure you’ve entirely erased the game (and all of its files) from your system. 

Don’t forget that the games you’ve uninstalled will still show up in your Steam library even if they’re no longer a part of your system. 

Step 1: Under your computer’s file explorer, navigate to your Steam install folder. On Windows 10, your Steam folder is in C:Program Files (x86)Steam by default.

Step 2: Find and open the Steamapps folder, then the Common folder. 

Step 3: Within the Common folder, you’ll see a folder for every game you’ve installed on your system. Click on the game folder you want to remove. From there, either press the delete key or right-click the folder and choose Delete from the drop-down menu. 

Once that folder is deleted, the game is not in your system any longer. You won’t be able to play the game without reinstalling it or updating it from scratch.

However, this approach may still leave configuration and save files behind on your system. Steam does this intentionally so you can get these files back if you decide to reinstall a game. You can delete these files by navigating to your Saved Games folder, Documents folder, or AppData folder in C:Users[YourUsername].

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