I play Garry's Mod a lot and I am over at a friends house who also enjoys games. I downloaded steam for her and I noticed that Garry's Mod is downloaded onto my hard drive.

I legally own the game, it is legally on this computer, so why can she, on a different account, Not play it? Or can she? Is there a way she can?

  • 5
    The most important point that most answers seem to skip is: When you "purchase a game" on Steam, you actually purchase a personal license to play it. In other words: You don't own the game. You, and you alone, are given the right to play the game, regardless of where the game files exist or do not exist.
    – Zero3
    Commented Jan 10, 2014 at 17:53

5 Answers 5


Yes, you can share your games with your family. Steam recently introduced Family Sharing, a system where a user can share his library with the rest of the family and others who use the same computer.

You simply need to enable Family Sharing on the computer you want to use:

  1. Log in with the account you want to play with
  2. Log in with the account that owns the game
  3. Go to settings > Family > Authorize This Computer...
  4. Authorize the borrowing account by checking the box under Authorized Accounts


Note that two users still cannot play the same copy at the same time.

Also note that not all games support this system, or have only partial support. For example, you cannot participate in CS:GO's competitive matchmaking while borrowing the game from another account. Most games with 3rd party DRM, such as Uplay, will cause issues and might not even show up on the list.

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    Sharing might still be in beta, so you might need to follow the instructions on the Family Sharing page to sign up for it.
    – 3ventic
    Commented Dec 12, 2013 at 12:41
  • Also note that you can held be responsible if the other person violates the terms of service in any way while playing your games on their account.
    – Sentry
    Commented Dec 12, 2013 at 21:09
  • This answer has a glaring, vitally-important gap: Unless you signed up for the family-sharing beta months ago, you will not have this option. See Enabling Steam Family Sharing for more info. Commented Mar 15, 2014 at 21:21
  • @BlueRaja-DannyPflughoeft Are you sure about that? I have never signed up for any betas, and the option was available to me (and usable) just a few days ago).
    – IQAndreas
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 22:52
  • @iqandreas the "signup" is joining the family sharing steam group. Im not sure if its still in beta but I know they were still handing access to it early this year when I signed up for it
    – 3ventic
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 22:55

I've noticed that some games available on steam will continue to run even if the underlying steam account is logged out for some reason. This can either be from a bad internet connection or from someone else on another computer logging into the same steam account.

These are typically older games that have no steam integration. I know this is the case with Trackmania United.

So it might be possible with older release games or third party games to get by the restriction by lauching the game on one computer, then logging into steam with the same account on another computer. If the game doesn't use steam for finding matches (and uses some other method) than it might work. That being said I am not advocating the 'theft' of games from steam. Particularly since your example game Garry's Mod only costs $4.99 right now.

You could always gift it to her account :)


I've noticed before that if my girlfriend logs into her steam account on my computer that often my games (that aren't on her account) show up as installed and ready, But she can't launch them.

The actual files will show up in the list as installed and ready to go, But unless your account is authorised to play the game it won't run.

TL;DR - It shows up on the local computer, But won't run unless you pull your wallet out.


Just put your game file into Steam Apps and Common: I downloaded Call of Duty: Black Ops with my friend's account, and I was able to play it on my account in both single- and multi-player.


It may not work, but try adding it as a non steam game. Otherwise, just log in your account in for her.

Just dont log into the same account on 2 computers at once. bad things happen.

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    Logging in from one computer when you're already logged in from other computer works just fine and you're automatically logged out (with proper message) from the other computer. People sometimes travel, or have both PC and Laptop. Commented Oct 11, 2011 at 11:06

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