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During the Holiday sales, I logged in to Steam on a different computer (one powerful enough to actually run my games :). When I logged back in on my notebook, all of my categories except one were deleted, and all of the games except one were removed from my favourites and from the one remaining category. I re-added some of them.

Later, after logging in again, I lost all my groups and favourites again. Is this behaviour common? Can I get them back, or at least back them up in the future?

edit: yesterday's patch (7. 10. 2015) seems to address this bug (release notes here):

Fixed bug causing category info to be missing from the Library in Offline Mode, and sometimes cleared permanently when going back online

Took at least 3 years, it seems.

(I have read this, but I'm not sure it's the exact same problem. Both my computers ran Windows and I lost my categorization entirely.)

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I lost all my favorites recently too, also multiple times. Steam actually deleted the game files too though the first time. – Matthew Read Jan 4 '12 at 15:13
@MatthewRead "game files" meaning a whole game, or its Cloud files (saves, etc)? – ver Jan 5 '12 at 7:28
The whole game, sadly. – Matthew Read Jan 5 '12 at 17:06
@MatthewRead Huh. I had a feeling that Steam deleted my Spiral Knights, but I dismissed it thinking I probably just don't remember deleting it (before doing the Steam Holiday achievement, wth). But if the same thing happened to you... – ver Jan 5 '12 at 19:46
There is this thread as well, but at least one user reports that that solution does not restore categories, and there's no copy of a Steam email response in that thread. – Dave DuPlantis Feb 3 '12 at 23:17
up vote 7 down vote accepted

I know this is an old question, but for future generations:

Copy Steam_directory/userdata/your_long_number/7/remote/sharedconfig.vdf between computers or back it up.

Steam_directory is~/.local/share/Steam/ on linux, ~/Library/Application Support/Steam on mac, and wherever you chose to install Steam on windows (usually C:\Program Files\Steam or C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam).

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Questions are forever at StackExchange, so don't hesitate about answering old ones when you have a good answer that hasn't already been covered. (You can even get a badge for it!) – SevenSidedDie May 14 '13 at 1:54
Yes, thank you. Making this the accepted answer. – ver May 17 '13 at 9:42
I have just loaded up Steam and found my categories were gone. I've closed down steam, gone to the folder mentioned in the answer above, renamed the sharedconfig.vdf, restarted steam. Categories are now back. Could be useful if you don't have another computer handy to copy it over from! – rtpHarry Mar 13 '14 at 20:35

If your categories didn't sync, then you can't get them back.

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This was the best answer back then, but there seems to be a better one now; so I'm upvoting this and accepting the other. Thank you. – ver May 17 '13 at 9:41

I just experienced the same issue, and found out on this thread that sometimes simply restarting Steam restores the categories; it worked for me.

I understand you probably have tried that already, but other people might benefit from this simple "solution".

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Your categories need to sync to the Steam Cloud - if they didn't for some reason they won't save to your account and thus won't be available on other PCs.

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This doesn't answer my question. I asked whether I can get them back. Saying they won't be available on other PCs doesn't help at all. – ver Feb 28 '12 at 7:31

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