Steam - Unable to change default content library for games

Hello Zorin community, nice to meet you all :slight_smile:

I've been running Zorin for the past couple of weeks and it will be my new goto OS for my laptop. In getting myself setup for my own personal use, I installed Steam from the Software store.

It installs and runs absolutely fine but I'm having a real show stopper of a problem. I'm running Zorin OS 16 on a 30 GB SSD and there is simply not enough storage for games.

As such, I created a 200 GB ext 4 partition on my 1 TB standard internal drive so I can use is as data storage for Zorin. It is mounted, I can see it in file browser and from df -h all fine.

The problem is, when I try to change the Steam Content Library directory, it only allows me to select between a few different dirs in the / of my Zorin OS partition and shows absolutely nothing outside of the. Things like /usr /var /etc etc.. (ba dum tish).

My drive is mounted in /mnt but Steam cannot see it. It seems broken to me as my bro uses Manjaro and he doesn't have this issue at all. So seems to be a Zorin/Ubuntu problem.

I found multiple dirty workarounds on the interwebnets which involve moving steam folders, creating symlings, different mountpoints etc. I spent about 2-3 hours trying all this and anything else I could think of but alas no joy.

Hoping someone else has had the same issue and can help me cut to the chase as I'm at a total loss and would like to start using Steam in Linux. It seems this feature is broken rather than being an after thought as I imagine it's extremely common for folks to install their games on the big mechanical drive instead of the (invariably) much smaller SSD.

Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks!

How did you install steam? If you install it as snap/flatpak it recommended not to. It may be the cause of your problem if it is.

Thanks Storm. I just installed it from the Zorin Software store. A quick ps aux suggests it is indeed running in flatpak:

spawnsw+ 21767 0.0 0.0 2588 608 ? S 13:29 0:00 /usr/libexec/flatpak-bwrap --args 45 /app/bin/steam-wrapper
spawnsw+ 21795 0.0 0.0 2984 1620 ? S 13:29 0:00 /usr/libexec/flatpak-bwrap --args 45 /app/bin/steam-wrapper

I guess I should uninstall it completely and try installing directly from apt?

Yep. Snap/flat is root to all evil in my book. Uninstall it. And then:

sudo apt install steam
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Now that you mention it, that would probably explain why it can't see anything outside of its flatpak bubble.

I'll give that a bash and will update on the outcome!

Thanks Storm! :+1:

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So there it is. Nailed it Storm!

Uninstalled from the software manager which gives me the flatpak installlation. Then installed with sudo apt install steam

I can see all the dirs, set my new default folder and am now downloading Portal!

I also checked the app on the store and I have once again reminded myself how important it is to RTFM! I somehow missed a rather important piece of information.

There is a note at the bottom which only appears if Steam isn't installed. It specifically mentions the need to run an additional command if you intend to use a game directory outside of flatpak. It even displays the command which I would share but I can't see it anymore as the app is now installed.

So thank you again and I am now fully up and running!


Happy gaming :slight_smile:

I wrote a tutorial on this, because the software store comes with Flatpak Steam, people are inevitably going to run into this issue.

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