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Is it possible to be selective about updates to Steam games? If a recent update introduces crashes, performance degradation or other problems, can I go back?

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+1, it would also be nice if there was a way to get Steam to ask you about updates before downloading. –  GnomeSlice Jul 29 '13 at 1:52
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It is possible to disable automatic updating.

To do this for all games, you can choose to use Steam in offline mode.

For more specific games:

Right-click on the game in your library and go to

Properties

Then choose the Updates tab:

Screencap

Change the dropdown from 'Always keep this game up to date' to:

Screencap 2

It has been reported that this does not work for some, it seems to be patchy at best, as per comments on this Q/A.

I've never done any revert-to-pre-patch trials on games myself, but I did come up with a Sotpedia article on how it can be done.

Taken from that tutorial:

This method only works if you have a Windows Vista +. If you have a more recent system restore point, you just need to go to the folder where Skyrim is installed (C:/Program Files/The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim or C:/Program Files/Steam/Steamapps/Common/The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim), select TESV.exe, right click on the file, select properties, and then, in the new window, go to the Previous Versions tab.

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+1 for the detailed answer. –  ヴァイシャリ Jul 29 '13 at 5:28
    
If you want to restore a previous version, don't just restore the executable file. Either restore everything or nothing at all. Just reverting the executable file won't work for most games (or applications in general), especially considering there might be other executable files belonging to the game as well as data that might have changed. –  Mario Jul 29 '13 at 7:42
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