How to Uninstall Steam

Even though it represents roughly three-quarters of the PC gaming industry, Steam isn't the only 'game' in town – and both consoles and freely-downloadable games offer similar entertainment value. Furthermore, on-the-fence users can continue browsing the Steam store through its website without needing the software client. Users who want to remove Steam from their devices are, in most cases, just a few clicks away from a tidier hard drive.

Steam users who want to free up space but still wish to use Steam should consider trimming their libraries of games, other software, soundtracks and so on. For uninstalling specific games, right-click the game in your Steam library, and highlight the 'Manage' menu option before choosing to Uninstall it. Another way of navigating to the same option is by left-clicking the game entry and clicking the gear icon on the right. The same methods work for other software, soundtracks and tools.

Incidentally, users may also preserve the 'Steamapps' folder (inside the 'Steam' directory) if they want to keep their games while still uninstalling the Steam client.

Although it shouldn't need saying, users always should close a program and related software before trying to uninstall it. This guideline also applies to any games that are using Steam.

Ideally, Windows users should follow Valve's official recommendations for removing Steam. Type 'Add or remove programs' in the taskbar and click the result to open the installed software list. Scroll down to Steam, click it and choose to Uninstall.

Users who can't perform this solution for some reason may manually delete Steam's files and Registry entries. However, they should be careful about avoiding removing unidentified Registry content, which can damage the system. Preferably, users should back up their Registries with the 'export' feature before making any changes.

Delete all unwanted Steam directory files from the Program Files (assuming default install locations) first. Then, open the Registry Editor by typing its name into the taskbar and clicking the result. Find the 'Valve' folder, right-click it and delete it.

32-bit Windows users will find their Valve folder here:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Valve\

64-bit users will find it here:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Valve\

On a macOS system, deleting Steam isn't any different from removing most other programs. Use Finder and navigate to its Applications section, and search for the Steam icon. Click it, holding the click and drag it to the Trash.

Not all files related to Steam receive deletion along with the client. For macOS systems, users should consider additional cleanup by entering '~/Library/Application Support' in Finder. Then, find the Steam folder and move it to the Trash. Windows users have equivalent Steam 'leftovers' in the following location:

C:/Users/(currently logged-in user's account)/AppData/Local/

Note that the folder after the 'Users' and before 'AppData' is different for each Windows user's account.

As a last reminder, users shouldn't forget that a Steam account isn't the same thing as a Steam application installation. Removing the program leaves the Steam account intact, and users can sign-in through the website and continue enjoying features like their wish list.