One of the most frustrating parts of having a
small SSD dedicated to your Windows operating system is the fact that some
software installers simply won’t give you the option of installing outside of
the primary drive.
There are even some applications that allow
you to store your installation data on a secondary drive but still place
temporary or cache files on the primary drive. For anyone interested in keeping
their primary drive nice and tidy, this can be a major issue.
Spotify is one of the many Windows
applications that you’ll eventually find taking up a whole mess of space. This
is due to the way Spotify locally caches your data so that you aren’t
constantly re-streaming music off of their servers. It serves as a way for
Spotify to save bandwidth and instantly deliver your music without needing to
However, this comes at a price for those of us
trying to save precious disk space. Not everyone can afford to have several
gigabytes of local Spotify data on their primary drive, and the good news is
that there’s a way around it. Let’s talk about how you can move Spotify’s local
cache data to a new location within Windows.
How to Change the Location of
Spotify Data in Windows
To perform this task, we’re going to use
something called a symbolic link or directory junction. A directory junction
effectively creates a mirror of your data at one file path but actually stores
the data in another.
The first thing we’re going to need to do is
to find exactly where our Spotify’s data folder actually is. To do so, press
the Windows + R keys to bring up a
Run prompt. Here, type in “%localappdata”
and press Enter.
This should bring up a Windows Explorer window
of the AppDataLocal folder within
your Windows user profile location. In this list of files, find the Spotify folder and open it.
folder within is what contains all of your cached music data. You may want to
right-click on it and select Properties
to see how large this folder is. Is it so big that you’d like to move it off of
your current drive and onto another? Great! That’s what we’re going to do next.
The first step is to be sure that Spotify is not currently running on your machine. After making sure that it’s closed, you want to select the Data folder and press the Ctrl + C keys to copy it.
Next, bring up a second Windows Explorer window of the location where you want to move your Spotify data. At that location, press Ctrl + V to paste the folder.
Above, you can see that I’ve created a new
location to store my data at D:craigSpotify.
The pasted Data folder here contains
the contents of that same folder in C:UserscraigAppDataLocalSpotify.
Next, be sure that the two folders are
identical. Look inside both of them to see that you’ve fully copied all of the
files properly. Once complete, go back to the original Spotify folder location (in our first Windows Explorer window at AppDataLocal), select the Data folder that we just copied, and
hit the Delete key to delete it.
Next, we’re going to create a directory
junction so that your new Data
folder points to where the old one once was. To do so, press the Windows + R keys to again bring up the
Run prompt. Type in “cmd”, but be
sure to press Ctrl + Shift + Enter
(instead of just Enter)—this runs
the prompt as Administrator.
This is where we’ll begin to create our
directory junction. You want to type in the following command: mklink /j <link> <target>,
where <link> is the path to
the original folder (that we’re recreating) and <target> is the path to the new folder (that we’ve pasted).
In my example above, I’d run this command: mklink /j
It’s important to enclose the folder paths in
quotation marks if they contain a space.
You’ll see a success message after the
directory junction has been created. You should also see that the Data folder now appears again at our
original location, this time with the small “shortcut” icon at the bottom-left
That’s it! Now, when you play music in
Spotify, it will still cache that data in the original folder at your link
location. However, the directory junction will automatically move it to the new
location and “mirror” it at the original location.
For those of you who use Spotify on a daily
basis, years of regular use can cause this folder to swell to a massive size.
With this simple directory junction trick, you can store all of that data in
any folder on any drive.
Best of all is that this same procedure can be useful in many other useful scenarios—check out how we use a symbolic link to sync folders to Dropbox and OneDrive!