My steam installation was having some weird problems, so I "reinstalled" steam by deleting everything EXCEPT:




This caused steam to redownload all its files. On launch I get the login prompt, I type in my authentication details, but when I click Login, Steam asks to authorize my machine.

My old steam files are still in my trash bin. What is the "authorization file" called? I want to copy it back to my current steam folder. I don't think this action should cause problems since it's the same machine.

2 Answers 2


Your Steam Authorisation file is the two ssfn[Some Numbers] (Steam Sentry File) found in the base folder.

When switching auth files, ensure that you copy both ssfn* files.
One of them is a hidden file.

SSFN Files - Contents hidden for security reasons.

Warning: This file can be used to bypass all two-factor authentication, so keep it safe and DO NOT give it to anybody (not even upload it anywhere).
To be on the safe side, don't make any backups of it. Besides, you can always generate a new one with a new installation of Steam.

  • The Non-Hidden file is only a fake - a simple distraction to make it harder to phish people into uploading their sentry file. It always has the same static content.
    – lmsm3
    Commented Jan 22, 2021 at 13:36
  • 1
    It used to be real, this answer is out of date, which is why many idiots got hacked (phished).
    – aytimothy
    Commented Jan 23, 2021 at 9:53
  • I searched the Steam Authorization files but in my Steam folder there no ssfn<numbers> files. I also used UltraSearch and searched my complete C: drive but it couldn't find any files starting with ssfn.
    – T137
    Commented Nov 17, 2023 at 15:47
  • @T137 It's no longer used; it doesn't exist anymore.
    – aytimothy
    Commented Nov 18, 2023 at 6:01

The accepted answer is probably too old. I don't have any ssfn* files. To retain logins I had to copy %ProgramFiles(x86)%\Steam\config and %LOCALAPPDATA%\Steam\local.vdf.

  • The only useful file in the config folder seems to be loginusers.vdf, which has minimal info about the most recent user and won't auto-login after destroying the rest of the data. And local.vdf is just a cache of Steam servers it's used recently and presumably would try first for the next connection. If they finally fixed this that's a great change, despite slightly screwing up the "Steam client clean up" directions.
    – l3l_aze
    Commented Dec 25, 2023 at 22:44

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