Related to Bulk activate product keys in Steam, I have the same problem with a lot of bundles (Humble Bundle is no longer a problem, but other sources have given me a crap ton of Steam codes that are tedious to redeem one at a time). In addition, redeeming a key automatically wants to start downloading the damn thing which I often don't want to do. Is it possible to add a key to Steam without needing to download it right away?

I want to have all the games I own on Steam, but I don't necessarily want to download them yet (or maybe ever). I have a problem now with keys scattered across various sources that I forget even which games I actually own!

Edit: Messing around with this it appears that @Lyrical is correct. There is no option to "not download", but you can cancel out before the download starts. One you get to this point, the game is added to your library:

enter image description here

But you can't actually cancel here (note cancel is greyed out), instead you have to hit "next" and then here:

enter image description here

You can actually hit cancel.

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    Fairly sure that after you redeem the key, when it asks where you want to save the game files, you instead shut the window or click cancel and the game will be added to your library, but it won't download it.
    – Lyrical
    Aug 29, 2014 at 14:07
  • @Lyrical: Hitting cancel does appear to be the only (and rather unintuitive) answer. There is no checkbox or option to not download now. If you make your comment an answer I will accept it.
    – Wjousts
    Aug 30, 2014 at 0:25
  • Note: I went on a binge of redeeming keys (I have a lot from old humble bundles as well as bundle star bundles) and after redeeming a bunch, I hit an error of "Too many Steam keys redeemed. Try again later." So, it looks like Steam won't let you redeem more than a certain number at a time.
    – Wjousts
    Aug 30, 2014 at 0:39
  • I agree it isn't the smartest implementation, but at least there is a way :) I've added an answer and I hope you don't mind that I've borrowed your two images. Thanks.
    – Lyrical
    Sep 1, 2014 at 8:42
  • I believe this whole question is now out of date; Steam hasn't given me any option to install a game when a code is redeemed in a while now.
    – Crowbeak
    Dec 19, 2015 at 9:09

5 Answers 5


Regarding the automatic downloading of activated products:
There is no specific option you can select to not automatically download the product activated, but it can be done by cancelling at a certain point of the activation process.

  1. After you are presented with the window informing you of 'Activation Successful!', click Next and proceed to the next step.
  2. The next window will inform you that you are about to install the product that was redeemed. In this window you can press the Cancel button or the X button in the top right.
  3. The game will still be added to your library but the download will not start.

This is actually weird, because I thought they changed this. Mine hasn't auto-installed after key activation for over a year, but just started doing it again. It used to just add it to my Library and I'd have to go install it from there if I wanted to play it. Made redeeming bundles where I only want 1/3 of the games right now much easier to redeem. Just wish I could get it to go back to that behavior.

Right now it is even worse because if I redeem DLC for a game that isn't currently installed, it gives an error message, even though I didn't want to install it right now anyway. I don't even get to cancel, though it is added to my library.

Also, and definitely not a solution, but if you redeem a game from a system it can't be played on, like redeeming a Windows-only game from a Mac, it won't try to install it.

  • Yeah, they seem to have changed this back again for some reason. So the accepted answer applies again, or you can now redeem in your web browser as @wolf suggested.
    – Wjousts
    Jan 6, 2018 at 2:08
  • It was definitely not a problem for quite some time, as I'm only recently annoyed by this, and I've been a Humble Patron for years. ;? God knows why they broke it again without giving us the option to revert.
    – Spyder Z
    May 12, 2018 at 21:12

You can redeem the key in your browser to add the item to your library without automatically downloading it:



As far as I know, redeeming keys prompts you with an option to download or not.

If this is not the case for you, you can always go to current downloads and cancel the download.

If you find that you have a game you do not want downloaded, merely right click it, select 'Properties', and select 'Delete local content'.


Is it possible to add a key to Steam without needing to download it right away?

Yes ! When you redeem a key, you have options opening to confirm and everything, and there is the option to not start the download right away.

If not, or if you can't find it, you can still cancel the download just after he started.

I want to have all the games I own on Steam, but I don't necessarily want to download them yet (or maybe ever).

Anyway, why would you want to redeem keys for games you don't even want to play ? Just keep the keys together and erase the ones already used. And if you want to play one, then redeem the key at this moment.

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    Anyway, why would you want to redeem keys for games you don't even want to play ? because a) I might change my mind and b) I want to keep all my games together. If they are not in the list on Steam, I'm bound to forget about them altogether.
    – Wjousts
    Aug 29, 2014 at 17:35

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