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I have steam running in the background when computer is not sleeping but I was wondering if Steam will download games when my computer is locked/sleeping.

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    Lock, yes; sleep, no. When your computer is locked, it simply turn the screen of and 'locks' the desktop. When sleep, the computer is essentially powered down, so apps like Steam will not run. – Private Pansy Dec 27 '15 at 2:45
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If your computer is locked, that means that your computer is running but that you will be prompted for a password when you go to use it next. In this case, Steam will continue downloading your games as long as the computer is running, e.g. unless the computer falls asleep.

If you put your computer to sleep manually or if it falls asleep automatically after a while, that means that your computer's CPU and some other components more or less turn off. If your computer is asleep, all of your running programs are effectively paused in a suspended state, and Steam will definitely not download games.

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    On certain Macs, OS X may "dark wake" to perform background tasks such as backups. The computer is effectively "asleep" and only absolutely necessary components will be awoken (e.g. the screen or graphics chip won't be), but it may still be downloading data. – deceze Dec 27 '15 at 12:19
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    @deceze Does Steam make use of that feature? – stomstack May 21 '17 at 8:26
  • @JopV. I can't say for OSX, but on certain Windows PCs, Steam can run while the PC is sleeping. The Surface Book is one such example. Even when sleeping, I occasionally see the "Surface Book available for in-home Streaming" message pop up on my desktop. As far as I know, your PC must support InstantGo and run Windows 8 or later for this. – Nolonar Jun 29 '18 at 10:05
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I did it last night and I can 100% confirm that, yes, they will download in sleep mode on PC.

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