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Expert Advice: How to Delete Steam Games From Your Computer (Complete Uninstall)

Author:

Melanie has a BS in physical science and is in grad school for analytics and modeling. Her research is in computational chemistry.

How to delete/uninstall games on Steam

How to delete/uninstall games on Steam

After playing games on Steam for over ten years, I've collected quite a few games.

Unfortunately, my computer doesn't have a ton of space (150 GB hard drive.) I'm constantly swapping out (uninstalling) games, so I have space for the latest and great games.

That's what I love about Steam, though, I never lose the games I buy since they're permanently tied to my account.

This step-by-step guide will show you how to uninstall Steam games so you can save space on your computer, get rid of a horrible game (I'll admit, they're not all awesome games), or get rid of it regardless of your reasons!

Note: If you don't want to use Steam anymore, I recommend completely uninstalling Steam instead of removing individual games.

Alright, let's get started!

Step-by-step video tutorial on how to remove Steam games

How to Permanently Remove Games from Your Steam Library

Log into Steam to get started.

Log into Steam to get started.

In this tutorial, I'm removing Left 4 Dead so that I have space available to download TF2.

In this tutorial, I'm removing Left 4 Dead so that I have space available to download TF2.

Click "Delete local content..."

Click "Delete local content..."

Click the Delete button.

Click the Delete button.

Yay! It's deleting! That means more space on my tiny computer!

Yay! It's deleting! That means more space on my tiny computer!

Uninstalling Steam Games

There are two ways to uninstall a game from Steam. You can do it through "Add or Remove Programs" or by using Steam's uninstaller. I recommend the latter because if you uninstall through "Add or Remove" programs since it'll open Steam anyway. You will have to know your Steam password, so make sure you have it handy before moving ahead. To get started, open Steam and log in.

  • Click the "Library" tab at the top of the screen.
  • On the left-hand side of the screen, there will be a listing of all the games tied to your Steam account. Select the game you would like to uninstall.
  • Right-click the game and select "Delete Local Content..."
  • A confirmation box will pop up. Click the "Delete" button. Voilà! Your game will start uninstalling (it might take a bit for it to be removed entirely.)

You might notice that after you uninstall a game that it's not removed from the list in the left pane. Instead, it's grayed out. Don't worry, the game has been removed and the game having been left on the list is a good thing, I promise. This brings us to the next topic: reinstalling games.

Select the game you would like to download and click the big Install button.

Select the game you would like to download and click the big Install button.

How long will it take for this to download? Long enough!

How long will it take for this to download? Long enough!

How to Reinstall Steam Games

What I love most about Steam is that I don't have to keep track of any disks or anything, I have to remember my username and password. If I don't want to play a game, I can uninstall it. If I decide later that I want to play it, I still have it . . . I don't have to pay for it again.

So how do you reinstall a game in Steam? Easy!

  • In your "Library" tab, in the left pane (the game list), select the game you would like to install.
  • Once you select a game, the middle pane will populate with information about the game. Here, under the title of the game, will be a button that says "Install." Click it.
  • A dialog box will pop-up telling you (approximately) how long it will take the game to download. Click "next."
  • The next screen will give you some options regarding icons. Select whichever options you'd like and click "next." The game will now download and install.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2012 Melanie

Comments

Jean Wheeler on September 01, 2020:

i want to delete all games from my computer but i do not know how wuld you do this for me thanks

Alexsuns on September 01, 2020:

Thanks for the write up. Simple and to the point.

Lance on July 02, 2019:

Are you not going to mention Mac???

Matyus on July 02, 2019:

I don't have "Delete Local content" in options. :-(

Lukas on February 08, 2019:

Helped me a lot:D

An Anonymous Fox on January 21, 2018:

Thanks! Simple and short tutorials like this are way more helpful than those with complicated grammar and reasons behind half of everything. Although, I do have one more question. When you uninstall the game, does it keep it's memory stored, meaning when I reinstall it, will it have everything I had done on it?

Jemcrystal on November 16, 2017:

Thanks for the write up. Simple and to the point. I needed it to remind me how to delete games through the Steam interface.

I know Steam sets aside empty space in anticipation that you might need it for game downloads. A huge empty block on your pc you are not allowed to touch. This has frustrated people for years. So I am not surprised some comments say they did not see that much memory freed up.

Mutato on August 20, 2017:

And what if you have someone who installed Steam on your machine, installed games, then they go and die, and you want to delete them but do not have access to the Steam account?

Aye on August 16, 2017:

I did this with the sims 3 since my cousin likes that game and when she came over once she was bored and watched youtube videos of people playing sims 3 and 4 so I bought sims 3 for her since there was a sale at the time. When I go to re-install it a pop up appears saying "game cannot be installed." What do i do then?

User101 on April 26, 2017:

I did this and lost 3 of my games. What happened.

Restu on April 06, 2017:

I had more than 10 games and they spent 144 GB. I need more space because I want install another software and then I uninstall my games until 4 games left. When I checked, it was using 128 GB. I think there something wrong here so, I uninstall all of my steam and try install 4 games that I need. I was surprise when I checked, it was using 84 GB. How could it be?

Me on December 18, 2016:

Thanks Heaps .. steam wanted me to install a 36Gb test server as well as the 36Gb game .. NOOOOOOO. And I couldn't figure out how to destroy it. Dr Google and yourself to the rescue

: )

gerry on November 08, 2016:

i get this ''time out'' on a game,i would like to unintsal it but it never works,it's even slowing down my computer and it's only two weeks old..how do i unintsal?

Melanie (author) from Midwest, USA on October 30, 2016:

Yes, your games are attached to your account.

bob on October 16, 2016:

if its a bought game will it still be in my history

DC on September 13, 2016:

thanks i wanted to double check if pressing delete local content was right

Donald duck on July 08, 2016:

works

Neh on July 02, 2016:

I cant find the Library button

Tim on June 23, 2016:

What if I want it completely gone?

insert name on June 19, 2016:

i just did it with smite and it removed it from my list is that normal

Lucas on June 16, 2016:

will you still have alll your progress in the game??

Kiera on June 16, 2016:

Hi! I used this to uninstall a game from my laptop and noticed the game disappeared from my library rather than it staying like you said. It was a "Free to Play" game so does this explain it? You only keep the games you paid for?

eskimo360 on May 22, 2016:

how do you uninstall a steam game that isn't yours? for example my son has a game on his account he got onto my computer and installed it. now he has moved out of the house and when i try to uninstall it it opens up MY steam account but it wont uninstall because i don't have access to it. so i have this game stuck on my pc taking up space. i know i can delete the files and remove the registry entries for it but i should not have to do all this work to uninstall a game.

Francisco on November 04, 2013:

Thanks! I wasn't sure about "delete local content" would work.

Patty Kenyon from Ledyard, Connecticut on July 31, 2012:

Interesting and Useful!! I have used Steam, however I find this useful for those that do use Steam!! Thanks for Sharing!!