One of the most frustrating aspects of using a small solid state drive designed for your Windows operating system is that some software installers simply don’t give you the ability to install outside of the main drive.
There are even some applications that allow you to save installation data to a secondary drive, but place temporary files or cache files on the primary drive. This can be a major problem for anyone looking to keep their main drive clean and tidy.
Spotify is one of the many Windows apps that end up taking up a lot of space. This is because Spotify caches your data locally so that you don’t constantly switch music from their servers. It allows Spotify to save bandwidth and deliver music instantly without buffering.
However, this comes at a cost 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 there is a way around that. Let’s talk about how you can move your Spotify local cache data to a new location on Windows.
How to change Spotify data location in Windows
To accomplish this task, we will use something called a symbolic link or directory connection. Linking directories effectively creates a mirror of your data in one file path, but actually stores the data in another.
The first thing we need to do is find exactly where the Spotify data folder is. To do this, press Windows Key + R to invoke the Run prompt. Here enter “% localappdata” and press Enter.
This should bring up a Windows Explorer window with the AppData Local folder at the location of your Windows user profile. In this list of files, find the Spotify folder and open it.
The Data folder inside is what contains all of your cached music data. You can right-click it and select Properties to see how big this folder is. Is it so big that you want to move it from your current drive to another? Large! This is what we will do next.
The first step is to make sure Spotify is not currently running on your computer. After making sure it is closed, you want to select the data folder and press Ctrl + C to copy it.
Then open a second Windows Explorer window where you want to move Spotify data. At this point, press Ctrl + V to paste the folder.
Above, you can see that I created a new location to store my data: D: craig Spotify. The inserted data folder contains the contents of the same folder at C: Users craig AppData Local Spotify.
Next, make sure the two folders are identical. Take a look inside both to make sure you’ve copied all the files correctly. Once complete, go back to the original location of the Spotify folder (in our first Windows Explorer window under AppData Local), select the data folder we just copied and hit the Delete key to delete it.
Then we’re going to create a directory connection so that your new data folder points to where the old one once was. To do this, press Windows Key + R to invoke the Run prompt again. Enter “cmd”, but be sure to press Ctrl + Shift + Enter (not just Enter) – this will run the prompt as administrator.
This is where we start to create our directory intersection. You want to enter the following command: mklink / j
In my example above, I ran this command: mklink / j C: Users craig AppData Local Spotify D: craig Spotify
It is important to enclose folder paths in quotation marks if they contain spaces.
After creating a directory connection, you will see a success message. You should also see the data folder now reappear in our original location, this time with a small shortcut icon in the bottom left corner.
This is it! Now when you play music on Spotify, it still caches that data in the original folder at the link location. However, the directory join will automatically move it to a new location and “mirror” it in its original location.
For those of you who use Spotify every day, years of regular use can cause this folder to bloat to an enormous size. With this simple directory joining trick, you can store all this data in any folder on any disk.
Best of all, this same procedure can be useful in many other useful scenarios – watch how we use a symbolic link to sync folders to Dropbox and OneDrive!