I want to update from Windows 7 32-bit to 64-bit. How do I protect my Steam games?


3 Answers 3


Most, if not all, of the Steam games I have are 32 bit, and the client is only 32-bit, so they're all run with WoW64. If you're going to be reformatting your hard drive, you can back up the game files to avoid redownloading fairly easily.

  1. In the Steam client, go to "Steam" >> "Backup and Restore Games..." >> "Backup currently installed games" and select where to store the content.
  2. Install Windows/whatever
  3. Reinstall Steam client
  4. Open the client, go to the same backup/restore dialog, but select "Restore a previous backup", and point it where they were saved.
  • I wish I knew this a few months ago!
    – riv_rec
    Commented Apr 5, 2011 at 18:59
  • World of warcraft 64 :D? take it you meant Win64? p.s I've found the backup feature of steam handy, but useless. Just backing up the entire "steamapps" folder under steam directory usually does the trick!
    – Jared
    Commented Apr 6, 2011 at 2:39
  • 8
    @Jared, no I mean WoW64.
    – Nick T
    Commented Apr 6, 2011 at 4:09

Steam only has a 32-bit version, so it's quite easy to transfer between Windows 7 versions. Here's what I did:

  1. Copy the Steam folder from C:\Program Files\ to backup.
  2. Install Windows, whatever, do your thing
  3. Install Steam.
  4. Copy the backed up Steam folder to C:\Program Files (x86)\, overwriting what you just installed.

Steam's pretty good at detecting anomalies and fixing them or updating, so I wouldn't be too worried about having conflicts after you copy the folder over. I certainly didn't have any problems.

(By "protect" I assumed you meant you want to keep your downloads, so you don't have to download them again. Steam will let you re-download/re-install your games, of course, so you don't need to de-register them or anything. You might want to de-register games that also use a third-party activation like EA's or Games for Windows Live, if you can, but that's a different question.)

  • alternatively, if you ahve more than one hard drive (physically or logically) and plan ahead you can install Steam on drive other than where you OS is. then all you need to do is run Steam after you re-install windows.
    – Xantec
    Commented Apr 6, 2011 at 3:34
  • @Xantec No, that won't work because the Steam installer has to set up registry values and the like. (I'm not sure how it works on Mac though, obviously). Commented Apr 6, 2011 at 4:33

I keep steam in a games folder on a seperate drive. Once windows finishes installing, I then install steam on top of itself on the second drive and it picks up everything when it launches perfectly as it was, even when I changed from XP 32 to windows 7 64. Some games may come in 64bit flavor and you'll want to re-download those.

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