How to install / move Steam games on SSD [Explained]

Madalina Dinita
by Madalina Dinita
Former Managing Editor
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  • Any games aficionado will have learned to appreciate the importance of owning an SSD storage device by now. 
  • If you plan to move your Steam collection to an SSD, do keep this tutorial close.
  • Check out more handy tips and tricks on our Solid-State Drive Guides.
  • Explore our Steam Hub as well and get the latest news and updates before anyone else.
Windows 10 version 2004 defrags your SSD over and over again

A solid-state drive (SSD) is a storage device that uses integrated circuit assemblies as memory to store data. Unlike classics HDDs, SSDs don’t have any moving parts, which makes them more resistant to shock.

There are also other advantages: SSDs run silently, have lower access time and lower latency, use less power than HDDs, generate less heat, have a longer lifespan, are not affected by magnetism, and more.

PC owners often use SSDs as the primary storage devices for their Windows OS and large-file programs.

If you’re a gamer and you’ve got tens or hundreds of GBs of games stored on your computer, then the best choice is to install or migrate them on an SSD.

How to install/ migrate Steam games on an SSD

  1. Close your Steam Client and make sure that Steam.exe is not running in Task Manager
  2. Go to the game that you wish to copy from HDD to SSD
  3. Right-click the game folder > select Properties to see how much space it really takes up
  4. Make sure that have this free space on your SSD
  5. Then right-click the folder > click Copy
  6. Go to your Steam game library on your SSD > click Paste
  7. Wait for the process to complete.
  8. Once the game has been copied, delete it from your HDD

Inform your Steam Client about the new game location

1. Launch Steam Client > go to the game in Library that you just moved > right click it > select Delete Local Content.

Rest assured, nothing important gets deleted, only a manifest file. When you moved the game files over, you deleted them manually from the HHD.

2. Click Install > select the Steam Library Folder located on the SSD.

Steam should detect and verify the new game files on the SSD.

It is worth mentioning that installing source-based games on an SSD doesn’t always work using this method.

You can also use a dedicated tool to move your games on an SSD. Steam Mover is a program created by a gamer to help other gamers complete this task faster. You can download Steam Mover from the tool’s official page.

Install Ashampoo WinOptimizer

Even better, you can use a PC optimizer tool that will not only take care of your migration but also bring data recovery tools to the table along with next-generation cleanup and tuneup features to get your system in a snappier state.

What’s more, WinOptimizer even has a dedicated Game Booster function that closes unnecessary background processes while your game is running to guarantee a smooth gaming experience all the way.

This is an ultra-powerful, next-generation complete tuneup and cleaning suite that comes packed with 37 modules covering everything you need to keep your PC in pristine condition from security, maintenance, privacy, deep scans to repair tools.

Needless to say that if you want to move game files, this system optimization software is your trusted partner.

Let’s quickly look at its key features:

  • System optimization, in-depth cleaning, and diagnosis
  • Remove junk data and broken shortcuts,  fix Registry entries, and disable unnecessary services
  • Next-get SSD-ready Defrag tool to merge free space, automate drive analysis while enjoying uninterrupted use of your PC
  • Comprehensive dashboards to provide an extensive look of your system
  • Designed for Windows and set to evolve with it (includes fixing issues introduced through Windows updates)
  • Privacy Control and Antispy features
Ashampoo WinOptimizer

Ashampoo WinOptimizer

Take your gaming experience to the next level with Ashampoo's built-in Game Booster!

If you’ve come across other solutions to install/ migrate your Steam games to your SDD, feel free to list the steps to follow in the comments section below.

FAQ: Learn more about moving games from one location to another

  • Should I put games on my SSD?

Yes, games installed on your SSD are quicker to load. Our tip is to use a good game back tool for any migration. Check out this amazing guide of the best SSDs to use as well.

  • Can I move a game from HDD to SSD?

This is possible with the App Migration transfer mode in Windows 10. You can also add a good uninstaller software in order to make sure no leftover programs remain on your HDD.

  • Can I move my entire Steam folder to another drive?

Yes, you can use the built-in Move feature in Steam client. Check out other useful alternatives in this comprehensive Steam migration guide.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2017 and has been since revamped and updated in July 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.