Changing Steam Download directory

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by lionheartednyhc, May 12, 2010.

  1. lionheartednyhc macrumors 65816


    Jul 13, 2009
    Is it possible to change the download directory for steam so it doesn't throw everything into the documents folder?
  2. Flash SWT macrumors 6502

    Flash SWT

    Mar 14, 2009
    Houston, TX
    Haven't tried it myself but this should work:

  3. esperdiv macrumors newbie

    Nov 9, 2007
    I have a problem that's not fixed by this solution. I have DropBox automatically syncing my Documents Folder. If I put a symlink in, dropbox will sync it anyhow as it's really seeing the Steam Content folder as part of Documents.

    I really don't want to sync 5+ Gigs of Steam data over dropbox. I poked around the configuration files for Steam and couldn't find where to make it look at another directory.

    The sensible thing that valve should have done is put this content under Home/Library/Application Support/Steam as this stuff can hardly be considered "Documents".
  4. ert3 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 10, 2007
    Assuming Dropbox lacks an exception filter. I would say that your rather boned.

    Steam would have to be reworked on the source code level to not look in Documents for steam content (i think).

    going to poke through some plist files and see if I can't make allot of peoples day
  5. Inconsequential macrumors 68000

    Sep 12, 2007
    If thats what steam has to do then so be it.

    It's the wrong place and apparently goes against apples dev guidelines.

    It should be in ~/Library/Application Support/

    Hope they do something about it, and quickly. Rather annoying having to tell all my backup apps to ignore the game data when it really SHOULDN'T be there.

    Besides I want apps on my Velociraptor so they load quicker, my documents is on a 1Tb storage drive, which is completely pointless.
  6. ert3 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 10, 2007
    placing the games in the documents folder and using a 1TB drive for documents, I have to agree both are pointless. but I can't help but feel its not that big of an issue to say ignore Steam Content.

    either way my plist search has been fruitless so far.

    so i decided to see what windows users do.

    First solution is moving steam to a different HD, steam, on windows, seems to refer to the root of its current drive/partition as the system root and places files acordingly. so perhaps cloning things to a different drive might trick steam into using the /user/<yourusername>/Documents that would exist on that drive.


    The next solution im going to offer is what I used to do when I ran linux so that my world of warcraft folder and other games would be on their own partition imune from upgrade to Gentoo.

    your still going to need an exception filter in your back up program and im not even sure this works on macs.

    What i am suggesting is mounting an external drive or partition to a folder within my documents.

    using terminal your steps should be like this

    * diskutil list

    This should return a list of the drives you have mounted

    * diskutil info disk1s1

    Just incase your paranoid fire this one to be sure its the disk you want instead of disk1s1 it should be the name following /dev/ or /volumes/ that coincides with the disk you want to place the game on

    * umount /Volumes/name

    The volume name should be the name you see in finder feel free to run the first two commands again to make sure you did not miss fire and also know the name of the disk your about to remount

    * mkdir ~/Documents/Steam\ Content

    Assuming you have already nuked or moved your steam content folder you need to make a new one for your mount to go to

    * mount_msdos /dev/disk1s1 ~/Documents/Steam\ Content

    Mount the drive directly to the folder

    * open ~/Documents/Steam\ Content


    There is also always the symlink option I never get tired of having to constantly remind people of (but wont be reposting unless asked). but until then an exception rule still seems to be the only way around constantly backing up games.
  7. Inconsequential macrumors 68000

    Sep 12, 2007

    At the moment I don't really care that it gets backed up as im coming towards a HD re-arrange anyway now i've got a 7D.

    I'll just copy the steam folder to an external HD and wait for them to tweak it as its pretty poor IMO atm.

    It still doesn't solve the problem for people with multiple user accounts. They need to move it...
  8. Blair230 macrumors regular

    Feb 17, 2009
    Near Philly
    I was wondering about this...So I am correct in assuming the above method will do nothing if you want to be able to download a game once with steam, and play it with multiple user accounts on the same mac?

    Basically- I have a steam account, and downloaded portal. My Dad is a user on the same mac and he wanted to try it out. I realize I would have to log in to steam with my account from his user logon, but I cant figure out to play Portal on his account without re-downloading.

    Can someone clarify that the above method wont solve the problem? Is there a solution?
  9. ert3 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 10, 2007
  10. Inconsequential macrumors 68000

    Sep 12, 2007
    Thing is with symlinks, it's fine for advanced users like ourselves to do that (my home folder is moved, and what not).

    But for the general public which 95% of the users of this will be they are not going to be able to do this, or won't try because they could mess it up.

    I didn't buy a mac to have to bugger about wasting time. Steam *has* to move it.
  11. esperdiv macrumors newbie

    Nov 9, 2007
    Hi all, thanks for the suggestions. However, Dropbox does not (to my knowledge) have an exception list.

    Looking at the support section for steam, most of the stuff is geared towards windows users. It doesn't seem like they make it easy to have the steam content hosted on a different folder.

    I really wish developers would play "by the rules" and stop using Folder structures that are incoherent or that go against the grain of an operating system.

    I doubt, however, that valve will change this to accommodate the few of us who are annoyed at this.
  12. tjsdangermouse macrumors newbie

    May 17, 2010
    I too had this issue where I use Dropbox for the syncing and backup of my documents folder.
    I have the dropbox folder setup on the root of my user account folder with a sym link to my documents folder. After installing Steam and downloading Portal, it started trying to sync over 5GB. I don't have that much space!!!

    My solution was to simply create another subfolder within my documents folder called... wait for it...'Documents' :eek: and move everything except the steam content folder in to that. I then recreated a sym link to that and substituted it for the one in my dropbox folder.

    All is fine now and it didn't need to resync any data!

    Hope that made sense. :)
  13. esperdiv macrumors newbie

    Nov 9, 2007

    I'm glad you worked it out. However, I thought of that and it's such a kludge (move everything around to accomodate steam) that I didn't want to do it. Finally gave in and have steam backed up over dropbox (what a waste).

    If I think of any better way, I'll let you know!

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