I've downloaded a Steam game on my Mac (Team Fortress 2), and I'd like to install it on my PC as well, but I'd like to know if it's possible to avoid re-downloading it (even in part) by copying the game data across my local network.

I imagine the executable binaries are completely different between the platforms, but that the maps, textures, sounds, etc would all be identical.

Any ideas?

3 Answers 3


The majority of TF2 content by file size is in .gcf files in SteamApps. If you simply copy the source *.tcf and team fortress 2 *.gcf files (maybe skip the ones with mac in the name…) over, they will much shorten the remaining download time, and there is no chance of overwriting user data files. Steam will automatically verify the files (that's why “Preparing to launch” takes so long!) and download the remainder.

I have done this myself before, but I forget whether I have done it across platforms. If the files are wrong it should do no harm as Steam will make any needed corrections.

  • Will try this. Do I reproduce the directory structure for the game (which presumably exists?)
    – aaaidan
    Jan 15, 2013 at 0:33
  • 1
    The .gcf files are all directly in SteamApps. There is a directory for TF2, SteamApps/<your username>/team fortress 2, and you could try copying that, but it's small compared to the GCFs. It contains your configs and custom map downloads and so on, so you might want that. It also contains every wacky custom sound file a server ever inflicted on you...
    – Kevin Reid
    Jan 15, 2013 at 1:49
  • This worked great! I moved the largest few .gcf files into the respective location on the PC, then started installing (downloading) the game (on the PC). Although it said it was going to take 4 hours (as it normally would), this estimate plummeted by 3 minutes every second... I don't know how long it actually took in the end, but this seems to work.
    – aaaidan
    Jan 24, 2013 at 18:36
  • Install Steam.
  • Move your complete steamapps folder to your pc via local network or any other method, overwriting the old one, assuming it is empty since you apparently did a new install of Steam.
  • Verify integrity of the game cache for TF2 and any other game you moved, it should download the necessary parts. You can also delete any binaries (.so and others) before you try.

Tell me if it worked :D

  • Sounds good except that I am not doing a clean install: I have an existing library of games I'd like to keep. Thanks anyway!
    – aaaidan
    Jan 14, 2013 at 19:42

As odd as it seems its really just isn't practical. On a Mac all of an applications files are stored with the '.app', which is really just a folder. On a PC the files are in a folder combined with the '.exe'. Because of this you are really able to copy games between the platforms.

  • Although this is generally true of many "vanilla" games, this is more of a question about Steam games, which tend to store a lot of their cross-platform data in a special folder called (SteamApps or "steamapps" on Windows). See accepted answer.
    – aaaidan
    Jan 24, 2013 at 18:42

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .