I have to reinstall my computer and Steam due to malware. When I reinstall Steam, will I be able to re-download the games that I bought? I still have the "Thank you for your purchase" emails, so will those be of any use?

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    You can also backup game data to external media by going to Steam > Backup and Restore Games and following the prompts which will save you from redownloading the games again. – Michael Lindman Mar 8 '15 at 9:00
  • Though most of my friends agree that this function is completly useless and for the time it takes you could simply copy your games. This never worked for me, though. Do note that this function applies some sort of compression, also. – Sebb Mar 8 '15 at 10:42
  • @MichaelLindman if he was infected by a malware, doesn't seem exactly a good idea to keep some software, though… – o0'. Mar 8 '15 at 15:48
  • @Lohoris Maybe but the likely hood that malware specifically targets random games in your steam folder is negligible. – Michael Lindman Mar 8 '15 at 15:53
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    Steam will definitely notice if the game data is different than it's supposed to be, so a full redownload won't be necessary even if the backup is infected. (and you can force Steam to recheck all files if necessary) – Bogdacutu Mar 8 '15 at 18:37

Steam games are linked to your account. You can download and install them anywhere, anytime, as long as you log in.

You don't need the purchase confirmation emails.


Assuming Windows 7, your best bet is going to be to do this:

  1. Make sure Steam is exited; completely closed and the icon is not next to your clock
  2. Copy+Paste the entire Steam folder from your Program Files to an external HDD; assuming the malware is not hiding in here then you are safe
  3. Reinstall your computer from scratch
  4. Copy the Steam folder back onto your main computer into the Program Files folder. This might be (x86) if you are using 64-bit Windows
  5. Download and install the Steam client, it will pick up on all of your games.

This should save you hours of re-download time.

My Steam library is 600GB so this is definitely not something I would like to re-download if I can avoid it.

Don't forget to also backup all of your saved games from My Documents!!

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