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I have just bought a new computer and I have everything migrated over except for my Steam games.

I looked in Program Files/Steam/ and I found a folder full of the games I have downloaded, but I do not know if it is safe to just copy these folders from one computer to another (seeing as a lot of other applications will not work if you do this), or is there another recommended way?

I don't really feel like re-downloading all my games. I don't have the time nor bandwidth to download 20GB over a 1.5mbps connection.

Is it possible to contact Valve and get a disk with the games on it?

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migrated from superuser.com Dec 14 '10 at 22:08

This question came from our site for computer enthusiasts and power users.

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Note that this question (nor any of the current answers) doesn't mention anything about your personal game files, such as save games. These files may very well be located outside the Steam folder. For example, my Amnesia save games were in my profile folder and had to be migrated separately from the Steam games. Location of these files probably usually depends on the particular game. –  Jeroen May 2 '12 at 21:30

7 Answers 7

I do this all the time and it is fine to do. Any files that do not match are usually re-downloaded from Steam, hence why it will still update a bit after a fresh copy. If you do not want all to redownload just the sounds and maps (which take up the most of the space), you can simply take the .gcf files for each game from Program Files/Steam/SteamApps.

Steam also has a "Backup" feature you can use. The files it creates can be moved from PC to PC and restored on any one.

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Same works for WoW –  Ivo Flipse Aug 2 '09 at 4:54
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Note that the gcf files contain all the data only for Valve games until Left 4 Dead (which falls into the "common" folder). All other games are in the common folder, and nothing else to do than copying them. There is a gcf file for each of other games, but they are very small, containing only basic information, no data. –  Gnoupi Jun 12 '10 at 14:48

Here is the official answer from Valve on how to relocate where Steam games are installed. While the article is written as if you're moving from one directory to another on the same computer, the principles would be alike for moving downloaded content from one computer to another:

https://support.steampowered.com/kb_article.php?ref=7418-YUBN-8129

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An unofficial one, is to copy just your complete steam folder to another PC/HDD, without the need to reinstall steam.

I made it many times, and it works also on external HDD, that is easy if you want to show some games to your friends when you don't have your PC with you.

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Yeah, they're should not be too much trouble, as the games are linked to your Steam ID, and not to your PC glares at EA. –  Macha Aug 2 '09 at 22:32

From this forum thread:

Install Steam, then just copy the directories over onto the new computer, use the same filepaths etc...

And you will need to delete the clientregistry.blob file that you copied over from your old computer. Don't worry Steam will create a new one when you run it on your new computer.

Or re-download the games after installing Steam

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Download Steam mover from the techmixer site:

http://www.techmixer.com/steam-mover-move-installed-windows-applications-drives/

You can check the info first.

It was written by a Steam user and was first posted on the Valve developers forum.

It enables easy transfer between separate folders and/or hard drives, and is free, and portable.

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Noticed you may be a Mac user - Check steam dev forum for Steam_Mover –  Lee Oleary Dec 14 '10 at 18:04

You should be safe to just copy the game files - but should worse come to worse, you can always just re-download as many times as you need/want to. (That's what I always do.)

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I updated my question to include "I don't really feel like re-downloading all my games. I don't have the time nor bandwidth to download 20GB over a 1.5mbps connection." –  joshhunt Aug 2 '09 at 0:03

Having read all the answers I think I had a unique situation where I had already started downloading the game. Attempts to copy the game still had steam thinking it should download.

So here are a list of steps I think includes the other answers and my situation. When taking through this, I will refer to stuff as source and target. Target being the pc or files that you want to copy the games to.

Open steam on the target PC.

First we should ensure that the game is not on the target PC due to a started download of it. Right click on the game / properties / Local Files, and if the button "Delete local game content" is enabled, then click it and do that process. The game should still list in your library, just greyed out now.

Close steam on the target PC. Ensure it is not open. (I don't think this is required, but just in case).

From the source pc, either over the network of with usb sticks etc. Copy the game folder from the source pc from a folder similar to this C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps\common to the similar location on the target pc.

Once the copy has been completed. Open steam on the target pc, right click on the game in your library and click install.

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protected by badp Sep 24 '11 at 9:44

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