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.


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
    Jan 22 at 13:36
  • It used to be real, this answer is out of date, which is why many idiots got hacked (phished).
    – aytimothy
    Jan 23 at 9:53

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