How to Fix New Steam Library Folder must be empty

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If you tried adding existing Steam Library in your Steam Client, you might be experiencing this problem – popping up error message “New Steam Library Folder must be empty”. This error is not a bug or something, this is because we’ve added incorrect hierarchy of folders for your existing steam library.

In order to fix this issue, make sure that the folders common, depotcache, downloading, shadercache, sourcemods, temp, workshop and other appmanifest files are inside the steamapps folder.

The example folder hierarchy should be:

  • G:/YOUR_STEAM_LIBRARY/steamapps
  • G:/YOUR_STEAM_LIBRARY/steamapps/common
  • G:/YOUR_STEAM_LIBRARY/steamapps/depotcache
  • G:/YOUR_STEAM_LIBRARY/steamapps/downloading
  • G:/YOUR_STEAM_LIBRARY/steamapps/shadercache
  • G:/YOUR_STEAM_LIBRARY/steamapps/sourcemods
  • G:/YOUR_STEAM_LIBRARY/steamapps/temp
  • G:/YOUR_STEAM_LIBRARY/steamapps/workshop
  • G:/YOUR_STEAM_LIBRARY/steamapps/etc…

Now you can add your steam library without problem, Go to Steam, then Settings, open the tab Downloads and click the Steam Library Folders. Now add your steam library folder, on our example its “G:/YOUR_STEAM_LIBRARY”. It should look like the screenshot below.

After that, the number of games you already installed should appear on the Steam Library Folders table.

Alternative Fix (Credit to Fred)

  1. Make a new folder where you want your games to be on your hardrive (example: steamgames)
  2. Go to steam settings > Downloads > Steam library folders.
  3. Add the game folder, in this case steamgames.
  4. Install a small game on your new steam folder. (Just find a free game that seems small) // What this is going to do is it make a new steam directory for your games.
  5. Move all your previously installed games from your previous steam library folder (steam/steamapps/common) to the new directory where you installed the small game.

Moving all the games won’t take any time because its on the same drive.

Now when you press install on one of your steam games that you installed before resetting your PC it will start validating the game. Your games will validate at the speed of your HDD. Usually that won’t take long because it will be somewhere around 60 MB/S and upwards.

If you still have problem getting this fixed, don’t hesitate to comment or if you have better suggestion feel free to share on this page.

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  • vvlad March 29, 2018 4:37 pm

    i have 2 folders missing ,depot cache and sourcemods,what should i do next?

  • Sheorajek April 2, 2018 7:56 pm

    I have the same problem. The depot cache folder does not exist.

  • Akhilal June 17, 2020 10:38 am

    Thanks for the tip , the first one worked fine .. just add the missing folders

  • Sasha November 30, 2020 3:41 am

    My steam folder “steamapps” has the folders “common,” “downloading,” “shadercache,” “sourcemods,” and “temp.” The “depotcache,” “workshop,” and “etc” are not there. There is a game folder that is empty that is within common. How do I make sure that I have the 3 other folders under steamapps and get the subfolder of common to be full instead of empty?

  • charles quintas July 2, 2021 10:41 pm

    not working for me, i have to download all the files again even though they are already in there


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