[SOLVED] Does Uninstalling a Steam Game Delete the Saves?

Want to uninstall a game from Steam but aren’t sure if your Saves will be deleted? 

Nearly every Steam game uses Steam Cloud, a feature that automatically uploads save files to Steam’s servers. Afterwards, reinstalling the game will download the saves to your PC, so you can continue from where you left off. Games that don’t support Steam Cloud require manual backups of save files.

Most modern games have Steam Cloud active

In 2008, Steam launched a feature called Steam Cloud, which automatically uploads a copy of a game’s save files to Steam’s servers.

Thus, even if you delete a game and all its save files from your computer, Steam Cloud still keeps a full set of save files remotely.

Afterwards, Steam will automatically download those save files to your computer whenever you reinstall and start up a game for the first time.  

However, not all games have Steam Cloud integration. You can check if a game has Steam Cloud integration on the features list of the game’s store page. The image below is from God of War 2018.

By comparison, Serious Sam 2, a game from 2005, doesn’t have the Steam Cloud feature activated.

Steam Cloud works not just for the base game but also for any DLC you might have installed. 

Finally, Steam Cloud keeps your save files forever. This means you can uninstall a game now, reinstall it 10 years later, and continue playing where you left off.

Double check if Steam Cloud saves are active in your Library

If you want to be sure the Steam Cloud feature is active, do the following:

  1. Go to your Steam library, right click the game and click Properties.
  1. Check if Steam Cloud feature is active.

Manually backup your saves

Finally, if you want even more control over your data, you can simply backup a game’s save files manually.

The only problem with this is that every game stores its save files in different ways and in different locations. 

Some games store them in your Documents folder, while others store the save files in the game installation directory.

The image below shows where Shadow of the Tomb Raider stores its save files.

This means you’ll have to google “where does [GAME NAME] store saves”, find the save files, then upload them to Dropbox, Google Drive, USB stick etc.

After reinstalling the game, you’ll then have to copy/paste those saves in the same location.

Mod data is not backed up on Steam cloud 

Unfortunately, things get complicated if you have installed mods for your game. This applies to games such as Fallout 4, Skyrim, The Sims 4 etc.

If you don’t know what mods are, they are basically fan made content for a game that adds new stuff such as new maps, quests, weapons, characters, dialogue.

For modded games, Steam Cloud sometimes keeps a copy of save files. Other times, it doesn’t.

It’s frustratingly inconsistent because it depends on how each mod is structured, whether it has integration with Steam Workshop, etc. 

And even if your saved files are uploaded to Steam Cloud, there’s a good chance they will be corrupted if you try to use them again on a fresh install.

Ranked progress and skins in multiplayer games

If you play multiplayer games such as CS:GO, Dota 2, PUBG, or Apex Legends, you can safely uninstall and reinstall the game whenever you like.

This is because these games automatically store everything about your account on the game’s cloud servers.

This means ranks, skins, emotes, and friend lists will automatically be synced whenever you reinstall the game. 

Paul Bonea
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