Yesterday I purchased GTA V for the PC via Steam and downloaded it onto my laptop at work. When I got home to transfer the 65 GB worth of files to my main computer, I cleared up 65 GB of space on my SSD and had just enough room to fit those downloaded files onto a Steam folder that I created.

However, Steam won't recognize the game as installed. I tried to click the "Install" button for the game where it's currently pointed to the folder where I've copied all of this data, but after exiting Steam and opening it again, it's saying that there isn't enough room to install the game. I spent several hours looking up ways to solve this, but I haven't been able to so far.

Also, is 65 GB enough space for this game, or will I need to clear up more room for it?

Edit: After following Ross's guide below, everything worked fine with the backup process!

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    Did you try checking the game's integrity through steam? Here are the steps: All operating systems - Verify integrity of game cache: Load Steam. From the Library section, right-click on the game and select Properties from the menu. Select the Local files tab and click the Verify integrity of game cache... button. Steam will verify the game's files - this process may take several minutes.
    – Chessbrain
    Commented Apr 15, 2015 at 18:44
  • If your SSD is also your OS drive, you should keep more space available. Hard to answer the space requirement but future patches might make the game bigger but there's no way to tell how much. Commented Apr 15, 2015 at 18:52
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    @Chessbrain I tried to verify the game cache but I don't get that option for a game that isn't installed. Is there a way to do that if the game files are in a SteamApps folder?
    – Mitch
    Commented Apr 15, 2015 at 18:55
  • @iDurr Although this might sound weird, have you tried adding the game as a "non-steam game" ? There's an option for that up in the "games" tab. Try adding it as a non steam game then try opening it. I can't guarantee this will work though.
    – Chessbrain
    Commented Apr 15, 2015 at 19:04
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    Does this answer your question? How to get Steam to recognize existing game files from a different source?
    – gcode
    Commented Oct 13, 2023 at 15:40

3 Answers 3


You'll need 130 GB of space, maybe a bit more, to copy the files in the manner you describe. Steam first checks to see if you have enough free space to install the game, then it checks to see what files have already been copied to the machine. So you'll need 65 GB of space to store the copied files and additional 65GB of free space just so Steam won't refuse to "download" and install the game.

Probably the easiest way to work around this problem to use Steam's own backup and restore functionality to copy the game between computers. You'll need 65GB of free space on your home computer, and 65GB of space somewhere else. If you happen have a big enough portable USB drive, either a portable hard drive or USB key, than that would be ideal. Otherwise you can use a folder on your main computer and share it over the network. To perform the backup right-click on the game in your library and select "Backup Game Files...". To do the restore select "Backup and Restore Games..." from the "Steam" menu at the top left of client. Make sure to delete the Grand Theft Auto V files you've already copied to the home computer first.

(I've more detail of the backup and restore process in another answer.)

If you have 130 GB of space free on different hard drive on your home computer you can also create a secondary Steam library folder there, copy the GTA V files to secondary library and then "install" the game to that folder.

  • I will try this when I get the chance to tonight after work. Thankfully I put the game files onto the backup HDD that I have just in case. If I understand you correctly, it sounds like the files will simply be "restored" from the hard drive that I have them back up to, onto the SSD. Should the 65GB of space needed on the SSD be completly empty or should there be a download process started for Steam to allocate space and whatnot?
    – Mitch
    Commented Apr 15, 2015 at 22:55
  • You want to use the Steam client on your laptop to backup the game to your backup HDD, and the Steam client on your home computer to restore the game from your backup HDD. You need 65GB of free space on the backup HDD before you perform the backup. You'll need of 65GB of free space on your SSD before you can perform the restore. Delete any existing GTA V files from your main computer before doing the restore, that should give you 65GB of free space on the SSD.
    – user86571
    Commented Apr 16, 2015 at 0:01

You can do what Ross said, or if you have the WHOLE library folder with you, you can shut down steam and copy it over the on your current steam library. When you open steam, it should be there. (ps. You will need the GTA V folder ("SteamLibrary\steamapps\common\Grand Theft Auto V\") and the appmanifest_271590.acf file (SteamLibrary\steamapps\appmanifest_271590.acf), if you don't have both, steam won't recognise it.)

Note: This is a bit harder than the other solution but this doesn't require 2x size.

Note 2: I did this several times and it works.

  • With your method, do you have to have the "common" folder? I have a steam folder on my SSD that is simply called "steam apps" without a common folder inside of it.
    – Mitch
    Commented Apr 15, 2015 at 23:29
  • @Mitch Well, gta 5 is in common in my pc. If it is different for you, you will need that folder.
    – ave
    Commented Apr 16, 2015 at 4:04
  • Brilliant! This saved my ass when copying ARK from my friend's PC. I had to clear up 72 GB on my SSD. There was no way I could clear up 144 GB. Copying his .acf file and restarting Steam worked perfectly. I did a "validate local files" afterwards just to be safe. You can open the .acf files with a text editor (it's just XML) to see what game it's for.
    – Hubro
    Commented Oct 2, 2016 at 19:05
  • @Hubro or if you want to find an acf file of a specific game, just open the game's steam page and find the game id in the link :)
    – ave
    Commented Oct 2, 2016 at 21:06
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    Thank you! This should really be the accepted answer, as this is the only way to do it apparently without needing 2x the space (which simply isn't an option for some SSDs).
    – nhinkle
    Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 2:07

I found another way, which is to to copy the game directory on 'Steamapps' » 'Common'. Just start installing the game and then pause (doesn't matter when) which will make Steam create a file named "appmanifest_1234.acf" (number part will differ depending on the game) under the 'Steamapps' directory.

Open that file with a text editor and you will see there the game's name. Under that there's a line name "StateFlags" "1026". Change that number to "4", and voila! There you go, you complete the installation - simple as that.

Sample screenshot:

  • This is in addition to ersel idik's instructions: After copying the backup game data to steamapps>common and altering the appManifest file I had to delete the folders i found with the same 'app ID' from 'downloading' and 'temp'. The same thing happened with a Fallout 4 reinstall.
    – thomsky
    Commented Mar 19, 2017 at 3:28
  • That's the solution I needed! Just in case I renamed the "Grand Theft Auto V" directory inside \steamapps\common before, because I read some people lost the content when clicking "install". Once started the install process I copied the appmanifest file content, cancelled the install (that delete the file), I closed Steam, create a new appmanifest with the status edited to 4, reestablished the GTA folder name, and open Steam again to see the "play" button. Commented Nov 20, 2017 at 2:41

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