I used to use a Mac with some Steam games like CS:GO, I'm gonna build my gaming PC soon (on Windows 10). Is transferring Steam games possible to another computer with another operating system possible. And if, how? Do I just log in and install the games or is the process different?

  • it may not be necessary for you to completely re-download all your games, if you transfer your steam library, you can then install steam, point to the library location, and then tell steam to check the local game files. I am sure some might not work this way, but many games are going to share the same art & assets (the massive data) even if they need different binaries
    – Yorik
    Dec 2 '16 at 21:59
  • Thank you guys for all the answers, figured out I already had Steamplay on the only games I had, since most of the games that supported Mac also had Steamplay. All I cared about was CS:GO anyways :P
    – David Lee
    Dec 5 '16 at 13:10

If the games have Steamplay, then yes, games that you have on your Mac will be able to be played on your Windows machine.

If they do not have Steamplay, you will have to buy the Windows version even if you already have the Mac version.

From the Steamplay Documentation:

Steam Play allows you to purchase your games once and play anywhere. Whether you have purchased your Steam Play enabled game on a Mac or PC (both Windows and Linux), you will be able to play on the other platform free of charge.

  • 6
    Just to add to this, Steam has cloud saves on many games so that when you install it elsewhere you can continue your game as if nothing happened. However, some games don't offer cloud saves so it might be good to check the important games if you want to make sure you'll be able to continue where you were at last. Dec 2 '16 at 20:27
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    Just too add too, I am pretty sure you'll be in safe hands downloading your games from your Mac to PC, since there are pretty much no Mac exclusive games so I am pretty sure everything you own will transfer properly to your PC.
    – Ramirez
    Dec 2 '16 at 20:34
  • To tell if a game has steam play, see the link in the answer. There will be a steam play icon on the games main page in Steam. It doesn't look like CS:GO has Steam Play.
    – Timmy Jim
    Dec 2 '16 at 20:36
  • @TimmyJim I think that link may be a bit outdated I think the store page changed and just having the icon for both mac and pc means it has steam play. I was checking games that I knew had steamplay and I didn't see that icon anywhere. I am not 100% sure though
    – Ramirez
    Dec 2 '16 at 20:42
  • @Ramirez Steam ought to update their page then ;). I was looking for games that had the icon as well and I wasn't able to find any. CS:GO and LFD1 didn't have that symbol at least. I would think that those two games would be on Steam Play, otherwise, Steam is pretty greedy!
    – Timmy Jim
    Dec 2 '16 at 20:44

You can copy over your Steam folder (by default C:\Program Files\Steam) from one Windows computer to another and as long as you copy over everything and you don't change any paths, and then you re-install Steam on the new computer with the same paths as you had on the old one (and yes, you will need to re-install the Steam client), you'll have minimal work that needs to be done on the new computer.

Paths can be altered as well, but then things get more complicated -- keeping paths the same is the easiest way to make this work.

You can also just copy over the Steam steamapps directory without the rest of the Steam client and as long as the Steam client on the new computer knows of that directory, it won't have to download games again on the new computer, though you will have to "install" each one, but in that case "install" will mean "verify that everything is valid, and maybe do some minor setup work" rather than "download all 50 GB of stuff again".

If by "different operating system" you don't mean Windows 7 -> Windows 10, but instead "Windows 7 -> Mac or Linux", then this isn't going to work, but do be aware that in the vast majority of cases, if a game on Steam is available on Windows and also on Mac or Linux, if you bought one version you'll have access to the other OS versions as well for free.

That said, there are a few exceptions -- "Call of Duty Black Ops" and "Call of Duty Black Ops Mac Edition" comes to mind.

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    They specifically state they used a Mac and will be using Windows so this won't help at all. Dec 3 '16 at 3:36
  • While I have not tried it between the various OSes I would expect that even if it wasn't 100% that copying over the steamapps directory would go a long way towards cutting the downloads as a lot of assets should be the same even if there are some differences. Dec 3 '16 at 17:51
  • The question wasn't entirely unambiguous, so I covered several possible scenarios, including the "completely different OS to completely different OS" one. And yes, Loren is correct -- the more the directory that's copied over matches what needs to be there, the more you'll save in bytes downloaded as it fixes the directory up.
    – dougmc
    Dec 8 '16 at 0:36

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