My gaming PC (which runs on Windows) has very limited bandwith: I can connect to the internet, but cannot download a game. However I do have a macbook with access to a network with unlimited bandwith. Is there any way I can download Steam games (for Windows) on my mac and then transfer them to the Windows PC?

  • 4
    Maybe he means that the Mac has access to an internet connection that doesn't have a download limit. That would be unlimited traffic volume instead of bandwith though. It's perfectly possible that he intends to use a portable harddrive to transfer the downloads from the mac to his PC. – Otherside Dec 24 '10 at 7:56
  • Yes, I meant traffic volume. I can go to a university library with my macbook and access the network (with no traffic volume limit), but I can't move my desktop there without dislocating my shoulder or something. – Reneald Dec 28 '10 at 14:57

Most multi-platform games share a large amount of data between platforms, even though the actual executable is different.

Let's look at Half-Life 2 and other Source games. They have lots of *.gcf files inside the Steam\steamapps folder. Those files contain all the multimedia assets (levels, audio, textures, 3D models...), and such data is identical to both Mac and Win versions. Thus, you can safely copy such files from your Mac Steam to your Windows Steam, saving you a few gigabytes of downloads. Then, the Windows Steam will still download Windows-only files, but they are quite small, maybe less then 100MB.

It also works the other way around: copying files from Windows to Mac.

What I've described should also work on most steamplay titles, that are available on Steam for Mac and Windows. (but you might need to copy files from subdirectories inside Steam\steamapps\common)

However, if you want to download a Windows-only game, then you might need to run the Windows version of Steam. You may achieve that using one of the many virtualization options (VMware, VirtualBox, Parallels), or even try your luck running Steam under Wine (but that might be too buggy).

  • 4
    Actually, there are lots of people who successfully run Steam through Wine, to my knowledge. – Stuart P. Bentley Sep 4 '11 at 7:22

Valve's SteamCMD does just that.

  1. Download and unpack steamcmd.
  2. Cast this spell to log in, set a game directory and download the game. Fill in <your login>, or replace with "anonymous" if you're downloading a free game. Replace a 740 with your app id - you can see the app id in game URL on store.steampowered.com.

./steamcmd.sh +@sSteamCmdForcePlatformType windows +login <your login> +force_install_dir ../csgo_ds +app_update 740 validate +quit

  • Good answer, I didn't know that steamcmd allowed this! – Ave Dec 31 '15 at 10:42
  • This doesn't work for Windows only games unfortunately. – uri Apr 7 '16 at 22:10
  • Didn't work for me either. Looks like Valve have closed the faucet 8( I wonder if the game in question supports SteamPipe distribution model, as SteamCMD page states. – Victor Sergienko Apr 18 '16 at 20:42

I'm not sure, but you might be able to do a back up of the games on the Mac and then transfer them to the PC. Obviously the executables are different between the Mac and PC, so I'm hesitant to suggest this. The sure fire way would be to use boot camp or parallels on the Mac to download the Windows versions, then back everything up (in the menu, Steam->Backup and Restore Games...) and transfer them via external harddrive.

  • 1
    I suspect it should work, you will have to download the windows binaries on the windows computer of course but most of the content (maps, textures, sounds, music) shouldn't be different between Mac and Windows. It can't hurt to try, right? Download on Mac, backup on Mac, Restore on Windows and let steam update the game (this should download the missing Windows binaries) – Otherside Dec 23 '10 at 13:46
  • That assumes that Steam will even use the backups, which, as I said, may not happen. If it does work, then yeah, the executable (and possibly some other files) will be the only things to need updating. – MBraedley Dec 23 '10 at 14:09
  • 1
    I got it right going from Windows -> Mac using Backup and Restore. – David d C e Freitas Nov 1 '11 at 16:25

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.