I run a dual-boot system with Linux and Windows 10. Linux is my primary OS and I use it for all my computing except for gaming.

My internet connection is fairly slow so I would like to be able to download games via Steam while booted into Linux. I would then copy the game to my Windows partition so they're playable when I reboot into Windows.

Has anyone found a way of doing so? I have read other solutions of using Steam for Windows (via WINE) and playing them in Linux. However, that isn't what I'm looking to do. I'll still install/play them on Windows, but I just want to be able to download them in the background while I'm using Linux.

While it shouldn't matter, I'm currently running Linux Mint 17.

  • 1
    Assuming the Linux and Windows filesystems are separate, I would assume no. You might be able to download them to a shared folder. Also you would probably only be able to download the Linux version of the game, which I doubt would be playable on Windows.
    – rivermont
    Dec 29, 2016 at 16:33
  • Agreed. If you were downloading the files that would be used for Windows, this could perhaps work, but Steam is likely organizing and distributing the game files so that they're compatible with the machine that's downloading them (i.e. you'd be getting the Linux version of the game, if there is one, and that won't run on Windows). It's a good question, though.
    – Harris
    Dec 29, 2016 at 17:35
  • Assuming you could download the Windows files from Steam while using Linux, is there a reason you can't transfer the files via some external media like a flash drive?
    – Leon7C
    Dec 29, 2016 at 17:56
  • 2
    I could just copy them to the right partition. The only issue I'd have is getting Steam to ALLOW me to download the Windows versions and then for the Windows Steam client to recognize the new game.
    – Zephyr
    Dec 29, 2016 at 18:03

5 Answers 5


Yep, totally possible.

  1. Install Wine. If you primarily use Linux, you will likely have it already.
  2. Install Steam for Windows on Wine, download the games you want to play. They don't even need to be playable through Wine.
  3. Copy the games to Windows partition, as if you were copying them from another PC. You will probably have to tell Steam that there are Steam games in the place you have just copied to. Last time I have done this was around 3 years ago, but I know 100% that it's possible.

I did not happen to find any way to download Windows games from Steam for Linux.


You can try to download them with SteamCMD.

To use SteamCMD, you can login with,

login (username)

Then set the download path with,

force_install_dir (path)

Then, you can install the game with this:

app_update (game's id) validate

You can find the game's id by opening the store page and copying the part with a number or by using SteamDB.

After downloading the app, you can copy the game's folder (to be referred to as downloaddir) to your steamapps/common/ folder and copy the .acf files steamcmd generated in downloaddir/steamapps to steamapps/.

You can see instructions to download it here.


Yes, but using a Windows virtual machine or Wine (the easier option and doesn't cost money, but compatibility isn't on par with native Windows installation) is likely necessary - distribution platforms such as Steam don't necessarily allow downloading non-native games (possible at least on GOG and Humble Store, though)


In August of 2018 Valve released an official method for downloading and playing games originally meant for Windows on GNU/Linux. You can read the announcement here.

They integrated Wine into Steam and called it Proton.

By default, if you are on GNU/Linux, Steam will allow you to download and play a few whitelisted games that only have builds for Windows. On release, Steam Play for GNU/Linux came with 27 whitelisted games. As of 2019-08-04 Valve seem to have whitelisted 168 titles.

There's no official list of whitelisted games from Valve, but SteamDB offers a list here.

However, if you are feeling adventurous, there's an option in Steam to enable Steam Play for all Windows only titles in your library!

Here's how to do it:

  1. Open Steam and navigate to Settings
  2. In the account tab, click 'beta participation' and opt in for the 'Steam Beta Update' selection in the drop down menu.
  3. Once you save the settings (hit 'OK'), Steam will restart and download the new beta updates.
  4. When it's done, go back into Settings, select the 'Steam Play' tab and check 'Enable Steam Play for all titles'.
  5. Done! You can now try to run any title that previously was Windows only on GNU/Linux! These Windows only titles will now say 'Run on this computer via Steam Play' when selected in your Steam library. It's as simple as Install and Play!

There's a catch though, as a lot of games still have a long way to go when it comes to working properly under Wine/Proton - hence why they are unsupported - but Wine gets better every year, and Valve keep whitelisting games.

To check user reports on an unofficially supported game you'd like to try running with Steam Play on GNU/Linux, check out ProtonDB, an unofficial fan site where users report what success or failure they have trying to run unsupported games with Steam Play.


This question does not have an accepted answer yet, so I'm adding one addressing the issue

With the introduction of Proton, I have tried installing windows only games from my linux steam client into a shared partition between my linux and windows steam clients, to no avail (the games are listed as installed but fails to run)

Do not disregard the above method as maybe there are tweaks that I am not aware of

But steam has the Backup/Restore feature that works for games that can be played on both OS

So, what you can do is

  • download and install said game on your linux client
  • make a backup and copy it to a partition available from your windows
  • uninstall the game from your linux steam client if you want to free up disk space
  • and restore from your windows steam client.

It may need to download a few resources, but it will not be as big as the original download

But then, your game updates will have to be done with windows

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