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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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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.

  • 1
    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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    At some point, do not automatically update was removed as an option – Dallium Jul 10 '18 at 15:33
  • @Dallium try renaming the directory for the game, that worked for me – Nick S Jul 10 '18 at 16:31
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    It is useful to note that this only works for games that can be played offline. Any games that require being online to play will have version checks included that prevent a person from being able to play with a previous version. – Kadima Jul 10 '18 at 16:54
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+75

Is it possible to be selective about updates to Steam games?

No, you can't decide of what updates are going to be installed and which ones are not.

Most people will tell you to edit appmanifest.acf and set AutoUpdateBehavior to 1, but this will only disable the update until you try to launch the game.

The available options are to keep the game auto updated, update only when you want to play and update it before other ones, you can't play without the most recent version of the game except if you cut your internet connection.

Options

If a recent update introduces crashes, performance degradation or other problems, can I go back?

Yes you can, and there's two ways to do it:

Beta Branches

Certain games like Euro Truck Simulator 2 and American Truck Simulator have beta branches for old game versions. You can select one by going to your game properties, and selecting an available beta branch for your game:

ETS2 Beta Branches

Depots and the Console

This is mostly a copy/paste of my Steam Guide that shows how to downgrade GTA IV.

There's a more complicated way to play an older version of a game, that requires the use of the hidden Steam Console.

To open the Steam console, press Windows + R at the same time. You should see this window:

Run Window

Write "steam://open/console" and press enter or click Accept (Aceptar).

About to open the Console

If everything went OK, you should see an option called Console on the top side of the Steam window.

Console option

Now, you need to find your game ID. The easier way is to enable the navigation bar on the store. Please note that if you know the ID of your game you can skip this step.

Go to Steam > Settings and select the Interface tab. You should be able to enable an option called "Display Steam URL address bar when available".

Interface window

Once you have enabled the address bar, go to your library and select your game. An option called "Store Page" should appear on the right side.

Store Page Link

Once you have clicked it, the store page should open and the ID will appear on the address bar (in this case, is 236870). Remember this ID because is going to be used later.

HITMAN store page

Now, head down to SteamDB and search your game on the top left bar. You can write the ID from the previous step and press CTRL + ENTER to go directly to your game page.

SteamDB search bar

Once the game page has loaded, go down a little bit and you should see some tabs on the left side. Select "Depots".

Game Tabs

Now you should see the game Depots, search for one that says "Content", "Main Content" or "Base Game".

GTA IV Depots

Once you have found the one that meets our criteria, remember the ID that has and click on it.

The information for that specific Depot will be shown, scroll a bit down and select "Manifests".

The freaking Manifests

Manifests are our game versions (more like git commits). You should see that there is a "Relative Date" and a "ManifestID", try to match the dates with a game version that you remember.

Once you have found the Manifest ID that corresponds, go back to your steam console and write a command with the following format:

download_depot [Game ID] [Depot ID] [Manifest ID]

In this case, our command is:

download_depot 12210 12211 6345365364346988350

Write the command that corresponds and click enter, you should see a confirmation that is indeed downloading:

Download

After the depot/game version has been downloaded you will see a message telling you where it was saved:

Confirmation

The next step will require you to reach the main game folder, you can do that by right clicking your game in Steam and selecting Properties (Propiedades):

Properties

Then select the Local Files tab (Archivos Locales) and click Browse Local Files (Ver Archivos Locales).

Local Files tab

You will now see the game directory:

Game

Delete or Rename the existing game folder (is safe to remove the existing one because we have another complete install).

Then, move the new game files from the depot into the game library:

Fucking Done

Done! You now have downgraded the game version directly from Steam.

As an optional step, you can make the game "update only during launch". Prior to launching the game you can backup the folder and restore it afterwards.

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Steam removed the ability to disable automatic updates for some games, which is why it appears spotty- You have to rename the directory or else a game could update at any given time.

To rename a file on Windows,

  1. Highlight the file or folder.
  2. Click File at the top of the Window and select Rename from the list of available options.
  • What directory needs to be renamed? The game directory or the steam game folders directory? Either way, if you rename it, won't steam fail to detect where the game is located anymore? – Timmy Jim Jul 10 '18 at 16:37
  • The game directory. The whole point of renaming the directory is so that steam fails to detect where the game is- it cannot update the game. Obviously not a perfect solution, but Steam has removed all native support for disabling automatic updates – Nick S Jul 10 '18 at 16:40
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It seems that there is no option in the Steam application to stop games from auto updating. After researching around, there appears to be a few things you can try. From this article, you can try the following:

Edit the appmanifest.acf file

  1. Navigate to "C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps" using File Explorer (I'm not sure what the path would be on other systems)
  2. Find the "appmanifest.acf" file. It may not have the exact name of "appmanifest.acf." For me, it was named appmanifest_228980.acf
  3. Right click the file, and open it with notepad, or some other text editor that can open it
  4. Find the line called "AutoUpdateBehavior" and change the value of "0" to "1"
  5. Restart Steam

Based on how the article words it, they aren't too sure if this will actually work, but it is something to try nonetheless. I changed my file and will see if any updates occur automatically over the next few days.

Set up download restriction times to a time where you will know your computer will be off

This is done via the Settings in the Steam application.

  1. In the top left, click Steam, and select Settings.
  2. Select Downloads.
  3. Check the checkbox for "Only auto-update games between:" in the Download Restrictions section of the dialog box
  4. Select a time frame where your computer is normally off.

Download dialog

The drawback to this is if you happen to be on your computer between the specified time frame, Steam will still update anything. However, if you stop all Steam processes, auto updates should not be able to download during these times. This doesn't completely mitigate the auto updates, but it should help for most cases.

The last option, which I don't really consider to viable but was mentioned in numerous articles and postings, is to set the game to only update when you start the game. This isn't viable in my eyes since I assume you would want to play the game still. If it has to update when you go to start the game, it doesn't really address the problem at hand.

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