Many games require the Steam application for proper operation and online/offline gameplay. It allows gamers to buy games digitally, store game data on the application’s incorporated cloud storage, communicate with other gamers, trade game goodies, besides other features and benefits. Steam has a collection of over 3,500 games, and a total membership of approximately 8 million users, as of June 2014.
The application supports multiple platforms, including Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, and PlayStation 3. Steam also supports cross-platform multiplayer gaming, and supports user-created content via the Steam Workshop (a subsidiary to the original application). However, as mentioned above, Steam could be unresponsive at times due to a bug or some internal error, and needs to be uninstalled completely in order to reinstall a fresh updated version. Uninstalling Steam could also be required when migrating from your old computer to a new one.
Learn how to uninstall the Steam software without losing your precious games or game data, by following the steps below.
From Windows XP/Vista/7/8
The simplest method is to use the add/remove programs feature, but in case that fails, and you can’t uninstall Steam, you’ll need to manually delete the files from your system.
Do this by right-clicking the Steam icon in the notification area, and then click on exit. Alternately, you could also use the task-manager (Ctrl+Shift+Esc) to exit the application.
Backup Your Games
Move the ‘SteamApps’ folder from C:\Program Files\Steam or C:\Program Files\Valve\Steam to another folder on the hard-drive or on a flash drive (if migrating). This will keep your games and game data secure, and would eliminate the need to reinstall your games all over again.
Delete Steam Contents
Permanently Delete (Shift+Delete) all the contents from your Steam directory.
Edit the Registry
Go to Start > Run and type regedit. In Windows 8/7 or Windows Vista, you can directly search for ‘regedit’ in the start menu.
In the left pane of the registry editor, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Valve (for 32-bit operating systems), or HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Valve (for 64-bit operating systems).
Right-click on the Valve directory, and click delete.
Delete User Profile
Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Valve\Steam in the registry editor; right-click on the Valve directory and click delete.
Close the registry editor. Steam has been completely erased from your system. When reinstalling Steam, place the ‘SteamApps’ folder in its original location.
(Note: Editing the registry values requires proper caution, do not delete or edit any file or folder without proper knowledge.)
Click the Steam menu and click ‘Quit Steam’ to exit the application.
Backup Your Games
Navigate to, Hard Drive > Users > Your Mac Username\Library\Application Support\Steam\SteamApps. Now, backup the SteamApps folder to retain all your installed games, and avoid re-downloading and installing all over again.
Navigate to Applications and drag the Steam icon to the trash icon.
Open Finder, and navigate to Hard Drive > Users > Your Mac Username\Library\Application Support. Delete the Steam folder by dragging it to the trash icon.
Now that you have uninstalled Steam, you can very well migrate your game data to another computer, or simply use it to retain your games in case you plan to reinstall.