If I Uninstall a Game on Steam Will I Lose My Saves?

Lindsay Hayes

If you uninstall a Steam game, do you lose your saves? Well, if you have games that support Cloud saves, your progress will always be left untouched. For games that don't support Steam Cloud, it depends on where the game data is. If it's separate from the main game files, you won't lose data, but if it's in the same folder as the game, you will lose it.

A friend of mine who uses Steam was running out of space on his laptop and wanted to uninstall some games. The problem was that he didn't know whether his saved game data was going to be fine if he did that. I've uninstalled several games on Steam over the years, so I was able to give him all the answers.

So, if you uninstall a Steam game, do you lose your saves? You'll find all the information you need in this detailed guide. Let's get right into it.


Do I Lose My Save Files If I Uninstall a Steam Game?

If you choose to uninstall Steam games, you're probably worried that you'll lose all the progress you have in the game.

Well, it's hard to answer this question with a straight yes or no. To be honest, it depends on the game in particular. In some cases, you'll lose your saved game, but in others, it will be fine.

If the game you want to uninstall supports Steam Cloud and it is enabled for that specific title, the game automatically saves to the cloud after each session you play. This means that even after uninstalling Steam titles, you'll be able to recover game progress from your cloud save.

Similarly, if you have a game that has its saved data in a folder other than where the game data is, you should be able to keep it after you uninstall the game. Most modern games have their saved data somewhere in the Documents folder on your PC.

What if the game you're playing doesn't support cloud saves and also keeps its saves in the "Steamapps" folder in the "Steam" directory? Sadly, you'll lose all your save data once you uninstall the game.

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Will I Lose My Save Data If I Uninstall Steam Client?

So, you can lose your saves if you uninstall a game on Steam, but what happens if you uninstall the whole Steam client?

Well, it's pretty similar to the above. Certain games will be spared while others will lose their progress.

If the game saves to Steam Cloud or its save data is in another folder apart from the Steam directory, the save data will likely be safe. You can get your progress back after reinstalling Steam client and the game.

However, if your game progress was saved in the "Steamapps" folder with the other files of the game, there is no way for you to get it back.

How to Back Up Save Data Manually?

No matter the game you're playing from your Steam library, you have the option to back up your save file and other vital files to your computer.

The Steam client makes this super easy to do. All you need to do is follow the steps below:

  1. Open "Steam".
  2. Click the "Steam" option at the top-left corner of the window.
  3. Click "Backup and Restore Games".
  4. From the window that pops up, tick "Backup currently installed programs".
  5. Click "Next".
  6. Tick the games that you want to back up. Note that you can back up more than one game, as long as you have downloaded the whole thing.
  7. Press "Next".
  8. Choose the location that you want the backed-up files to go to. Press "Next" once you have. Make sure to save it somewhere apart from the "Steam" directory. This will keep things safe after you uninstall.
  9. You can give it a name, and even choose how you'd like the files to be broken up: into CD or DVD-sized files. Click "Next".
  10. This will start the backing-up process. Depending on the size of the game, this can take anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes.

Just like that, you've been able to back up your game progress. You can now uninstall the game, exit Steam, and whenever you're ready, reinstall it and recover your progress.

To restore after backing up, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Steam client.
  2. Click the "Steam" button in the upper-left corner of the window.
  3. Choose "Backup and Restore Games" from the drop-down menu.
  4. Tick "Restore a previous backup".
  5. Press "Next".
  6. Now, browse to the folder where you saved the backup that you made. Once you're in the right folder, you should be able to see the name of the game that it belongs to.
  7. Click "Next".
  8. Now, this will bring up a new window just like you're about to install the game. Once you press "Next", the installation process will begin.

Just like that, you've been able to recover your game from a backup file.

You can keep backups on your computer or discs, but I recommend having them on an external hard drive or moving the files to the cloud for proper safekeeping.

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What is Steam Cloud?

Steam Cloud is Valve's cloud-based service that automatically saves the most important files of your different games remotely.

This includes your saves, settings, Steam library, and more. This means they are tied to your account, and anywhere you open your account, you can access these files too.

Of course, most people appreciate this because they can access the save info of games they have on one system, even when they are using another PC or after they uninstall Steam.

How to Make Sure Game Files Are Uploaded to the Cloud?

Not all games have support for Steam Cloud. You'll need to make sure the game you want to play supports it before you rely on the cloud to keep your save secure.

In some cases, you may need to manually enable it for a game that supports this cloud functionality.

Fortunately, there's an easy way to ensure that every game that can use Steam Cloud takes advantage of this for save info. Here's how:

  1. Launch "Steam".
  2. Click the "Steam" button in the top left.
  3. Select "Settings" from the Steam menu.
  4. From the left pane in the Settings window, click "Cloud".
  5. Make sure "Enable Steam Cloud synchronization for applications which support it" is ticked.
  6. Press "OK" to close the Settings window.

Any games that have support for this cloud feature will store your progress there, in addition to the local files saved on your system. Even if you uninstall Steam titles, your progress will be in the cloud.

How to Download My Save from Steam Cloud?

If you want to recover your files stored on the cloud for any of your Steam games, you can have them downloaded to your computer using a web browser.

Doing this is easy. First, go to the Steam Cloud page. Sign in if you have to.

Once you do, you'll see a list of the information Steam has automatically backed up to the cloud for your profile.

Look for the game whose files you need, and press the "Show Files" option on the far right. This will bring up a list of all the files related to the game.

Look for the saved game file and press the "Download" button to its right. Just like that, it'll start downloading to your computer and you'll have it ready.

Now all you need to do is put the file in the folder where the game naturally installs it, and you should have all your progress back in an instant.

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Final Words

If you uninstall Steam or its games from your computer, you might be worried about losing all the progress you've made in your games. The good thing is that most recent games support Steam Cloud to remotely back up your game progress, and even games that don't store the save information in a separate folder by default.

For games that store their progress with the rest of their files, an uninstall will make you lose your progress. Fortunately, you can back up any game on Steam directly to your computer or external storage.

We hope this post helped you understand how to uninstall Steam titles and keep your progress. Take a look at our related articles to learn more.

Lindsay Hayes

Hi, I’m Lindsay, a techie from Kansas City. That’s right; I’m a born and bred Midwesterner. I learned to take electronics apart at my dad’s GameStop way back when, and I haven’t stopped since. I spend most of my time checking out new gadgets.
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