I recently had to reinstall windows due to driver issues and copied all my Steam games in the steamapps folder from the C-drive to another drive, but now I'm stuck with a problem. I have installed Steam again, but when I copy the games' backup to the steamapps folder, and then install the games again, they don't seem to pickup any game files and just starts to download the games again. I have tried verifying game cache, but it just jumps to downloading as well and I have tried modifying the appmanifest files but nothing have worked so far. Any other suggestions I could try before downloading 200GB+ again with a 4Mbps line (500kbps).

Would there be any way that I can make a 'Steam'-backup (backup and restore steam games in the menu) from the games in their folders, with other words, create a bunch of *.csd and *.csm files so Steam can identify it as restoreable?

  • When you open steam click on "Steam" in the upper left corner and choose "Backup and Restore Games", then just locate the location of the game files. At least I think it works, I've only ever done it with a disk.
    – Daedric
    Feb 21, 2016 at 14:11
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    @Daedric I think you misunderstood how I made a backup of my Steam games, I just copied the steamapps folder instead of making a Backup using Steam's built-in feature. Hope that clears confusion if there are any. Feb 21, 2016 at 14:13
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    What you're doing should work. My guess is that you copied the games to the wrong directory. If you installed Steam to its default location then each game needs to be in C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\GAME-NAME. Another possibility is that you don't really need to download everything, just a few files. When you install a game again like this the client should search for files. If it does this and then starts downloading files, it'll will always look like its downloading the entire game even if its not. Pause the download and restart it and see if the progress changes.
    – user86571
    Feb 21, 2016 at 17:02
  • I concur with @RossRidge's second hypotesis: let it "download" the games, and it should actually just check the installation files. I've done this in the past with success.
    – Viruzzo
    Jun 30, 2016 at 10:03

3 Answers 3


The following instructions are a simple way to move your Steam installation along with your games:

  1. Exit the Steam client application.

  2. Browse to the Steam installation folder for the Steam installation you would like to move (C:\Program Files\Steam by default).

  3. Delete all of the files and folders except the SteamApps folder and Steam.exe

  4. Cut and paste the whole Steam folder to the new location, for example: D:\Games\Steam\

  5. Launch Steam and log into your account.

This is from the official Steam support post and I suggest you to take a look you'll find more informations and related topics.


In order for Steam to recognize a non-Steam backup, you not only require the game files themselves, but the manifest appmanifest_[appid].acf files found in the base SteamApps folder.

For example, if I wanted to move Audiosurf, I would move the Audiosurf folder and appmanifest_12900.acf.

Otherwise, Steam will automatically perform a verification and most likely update all the files; re-download the whole game.

Note: If an update has come up between your install date and the date the backup was created, Steam will mark the game for updating and will update it as if you had it installed previously, as opposed to redownloading the whole game.

create a bunch of *.csd and *.csm files so Steam can identify it as restoreable?

With your game folder and manifest .acf file, just stick them in a directory and from there, you can do whatever you want to them. 7-zip them, regular zip them, ISO them, etc.


Here is what you need to do

  1. Copy paste the Game backup files in \Steam\steamapps\common\GAME-NAME(Folder name should be correct or it won't recognize the files)

  2. Install that game. Here it should detect the files if folder name was correct but will start download from start anyway.

  3. Let it download 1 MB or 2.
  4. Pause the download and then resume it. It will detect the files and only download required updates.

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