So I know (by trying it out) that you can copy Steam game files from one PC to another and make the game run with the copied files. This is a different issue than merely copying game files (which has been answered many times), because no answers I've found on here are applicable and will work:

Today I bought Borderlands 2, which my brother already has installed. When I tried to just copy the game files over to my PC, I noticed there was no Borderlands folder anywhere in SteamApps and its subdirectories, but only a folder called 49520 inside SteamApps\downloading.

So I tried just copying the game files to that folder while Steam was closed, started Steam again, and... nothing. It just went on downloading the game like there were no new files inside that folder.

Is there anything to do about this?


2 Answers 2


To copy Steam game files from another computer to save you having to download the full game, simply do the following;

  • Cancel the download on your machine and delete local files for the game
  • Close Steam on your computer
  • Copy the whole folder Borderlands 2 from your brother's PC into Steam\SteamApps\common
  • Delete the .exe since every user has it's own .exe if Steam DRM is used (what BL2 in fact does)
  • Tell Steam to download Borderlands 2 and it will discover the existing files
  • Verify files to get your own .exe and make sure nothing is corrupted
  • 1
    That was extremely useful, thank you. Finally a guide for all cases. Commented Jan 7, 2014 at 19:18
  • So I can do this instead of downloading a game again, right? I've just installed DOTA2 on one of my computers but don't wanna waste all that time downloading it on the other one again. So if I basically copy the files steam should recognize them, right? What folder do I copy from & to? :) Thanks! Commented May 24, 2014 at 7:33
  • @mikhailcazi Just replace Borderlands 2 with Dota 2... otherwise the instructions are pretty clear imho. Commented May 24, 2014 at 7:48
  • @Assylum Just confirming, haha :P Also, because DOTA2 is still in the process of downloading (Idk why I said installed). So currently all the files are in steamapps\downloading. Once it's done it'll be found in steamapps\username I suppose? Commented May 24, 2014 at 9:48
  • 2
    Stating the obvious here but if you've recently added another Steam library folder (i.e. added a SSD to your PC), make sure that the install location you select when starting the download matches where you copied the files from another PC. It's very easy to click through this by accident if you've installed >50 games without having to pay attention to it before. The current Steam client will notify you that it is discovering existing files when this is working correctly. If you do not see this message, you are re-downloading the game.
    – Blightbow
    Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 6:20

Just a quick thing, before you restart Steam after copying the files, you MAY wish to copy the relevant Appmanifest_xxxx.acf file too, where the x's are a number specific to each product on Steam. to find out WHICH appmanifest file is the one for the game you're using, visit the game's page on Steampowered.com and you'll notice the URL has a number as the last part of it.

For example, Dark Souls 2's page is http://store.steampowered.com/app/236430/ ... that 236430 will correspond to a file in steam/steamapps/ called "Appmanifest_236430.acf" . Copy that into the same directory on YOUR PC, so for example D:/games/Steam/Steamapps/ or whatever your steam location is. It goes in Steamapps, NOT in steamapps/common and NOT in the same directory for the game either. That is important.

THEN you should be able to open steam, tell it to download, then verify the installation. and you should be hunky-dory.

  • 3
    Thanks! But please clarify as to why this would be necessary / a good idea. Commented May 1, 2014 at 20:08
  • 2
    @yerforkferchips The appmanifest... files are identification files for steam, so that steam knows which games are downloaded. Commented May 24, 2014 at 9:54
  • Thank you, I used this info and opened the manifest file (in notepad) to see the installdir so that i understood which name i should give for my game folder, (inside common). Awesome.
    – Deamonpog
    Commented Apr 4, 2015 at 6:38

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