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I recently find myself needing to start Steam in offline mode rather frequently (my wife is hogging my account to play Plants Vs. Zombies, and most of what I play doesn't really need to be online).

I was wondering if there is some way to launch Steam in offline mode without first logging in (and selecting it from the menu), since that usually beats the purpose.

While I know that killing my network connection before launching Steam is an option, I am looking for a more "civilized" way, such as a command line switch or something of the sort.

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Hm, this would have been useful to know when Steam went down worldwide for three hours yesterday, preventing everyone everywhere from playing any of their steam games! – BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Jan 6 '12 at 20:24
Steam now supports Offline mode via simple command line parameter: Steam.exe -offline – DiGi Jul 21 '13 at 23:29

2 Answers 2

up vote 28 down vote accepted

I can confirm that creating/editing steam.cfg (in the same directory as the Steam executable) with the following lines works, as long as you've set Steam to remember your password (thanks DarkAnime):


If you want to manage this with a command-line parameter, you could create a script to do something like the following (Windows .bat file):

IF "%1"=="offline" (
    IF EXIST steam.cfgx (
        rename steam.cfgx steam.cfg
    IF EXIST steam.cfg (
        rename steam.cfg steam.cfgx
start steam.exe

It used to be that you could hit "Cancel" while Steam was starting up and it would allow you to start offline mode from there, but that no longer works.

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Either I didn't really understand your instructions, or this method doesn't work anymore. – Aubergine Mar 30 '11 at 21:40
@Matthew: When I tried to press cancel then steam simply shut itself down. Regarding the .cfg method, I am a little reluctant on following the unconfirmed advice of a banned steam forum member. – Aubergine Mar 30 '11 at 21:52
I am neither a banned steam member, nor do I know the poster, but I can confirm that the 2 edits he is suggesting are not in any way dangerous to you, your computer or your livelihood, nor is the simple copy and replace batch file he posted. – horatio Mar 31 '11 at 16:34
i can confirm that this works.. just create a steam.cfg and put: BootStrapperInhibitAll=enable ForceOfflineMode=enable but you need to have checked: remember my password first. then this works great :) thnx for the info mate ^_^ – user11785 Aug 17 '11 at 15:24
@chris, that file isn't there by default, you have to create it. I don't know that it ever was there by default, in fact. – goldfire Dec 16 '11 at 21:21

New, working solution (03.09.2015 and it still works):

Make sure you've set Steam to remember your password. Now open <Steam_installation_dir>/config/loginusers.vdf and change value of WantsOfflineMode to 1. If you don't want warning about launching Steam in offline mode just do the same with SkipOfflineModeWarning. If you can't see those values, just add them so it looks like this:

    "<your profile number>"
        "AccountName"       "<your login>"
        "PersonaName"       "<your display name>"
        "RememberPassword"      "1"
        "Timestamp"     "<timestamp>"
        "WantsOfflineMode"      "1"
        "SkipOfflineModeWarning"        "1"

There can be of course more users listed.

You can change those values back to 0 to launch Steam in online mode.

To automate this on Windows machines, save

Const ForReading = 1
Const ForWriting = 2

Set objFSO = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
Set objFile = objFSO.OpenTextFile("config\loginusers.vdf", ForReading)

Do Until objFile.AtEndOfStream
    strLine = objFile.ReadLine
    If InStr(strLine, "WantsOfflineMode") = 0 And InStr(strLine, "SkipOfflineModeWarning") = 0 Then
        strText = strText & strLine & vbCrLf
    End If

If WScript.Arguments.Count = 1 Then
    strText = Replace(strText, "RememberPassword", "WantsOfflineMode"" ""1"" ""SkipOfflineModeWarning"" ""1"" ""RememberPassword")
    mode = WScript.Arguments(0)
    strText = Replace(strText, "RememberPassword", "WantsOfflineMode"" ""0"" ""SkipOfflineModeWarning"" ""0"" ""RememberPassword")
    mode = "online"
End If

Set objFile = objFSO.OpenTextFile("config\loginusers.vdf", ForWriting)
objFile.WriteLine strText 


Set objShell = CreateObject("WScript.Shell")

If (mode = "offline") Or (mode = "online") Then
    objShell.Run("steam://rungameid/" & mode)
End If

as steam.vbs in your Steam directory and make two shortcuts to it. Add offline as parameter to one of them and it's done. I have two Steam shortcuts on my desktop now. Steam Online with path "C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steam.vbs" and Steam Offline with path "C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steam.vbs" offline.

I added support for games, so you can launch them in offline mode. Just start steam.vbs with app id as parameter. Example: "C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steam.vbs" 440 launches Team Fortress 2 in offline mode.

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+1 Works like a charm! – Benjamin Scheibe Nov 29 '14 at 11:32
As of the present time, this solution appears not to work anymore. – Kyralessa Feb 1 at 0:48
Solution works fine. Code I gave to automate it does not. I'll update it later. – Piotr Kowalski Feb 6 at 10:53
Still works. Now you can launch games in offline mode too with this script. – Piotr Kowalski Sep 2 at 23:32

protected by Community Dec 16 '11 at 20:45

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