Me and two more friends bought the same game for Steam, can one of us (me in this case) download it and then send the files to my friends so they don't have to download it again?

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    If all three of you have bought the game, what is the purpose of this? Jan 9, 2017 at 18:27
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    @GeorgeWillcox not having to download it (poor internet conection over here :D)
    – sysfiend
    Jan 9, 2017 at 18:29
  • That makes sense now, unfortunately for you, Steam has very good security. It will most likely not run, but it may indeed work if they have bought it too. But as your friends won't be directly installing the game, Steam may not even know that it's there. Jan 9, 2017 at 18:32
  • @GeorgeWillcox that's the thing, we are not sure and also afraid that we can get banned.
    – sysfiend
    Jan 9, 2017 at 18:33
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    There won't be any issue of becoming banned, that is only really for more serious offenses, and nobody is doing anything wrong here. I think you should try it, if it doesn't work then they'll have to download it, but you won't lose anything from it. Jan 9, 2017 at 18:35

2 Answers 2



I did this multiple time in college (1 year ago). Some of my friends had a really slow internet connection at home so I copied the game files on my portable HDD and transferred the files to them. They then copied it in the right folder and when clicking "install" in Steam, it discovered the files.

Doing this with games coming from a shared library also works, so you don't need to buy a game they have in order to download it for them.

You said in the question comments that you don't want to risk getting banned from this. There is no danger at all. You are not breaking any DRM while doing this. Your friends still need to buy the game if they want to use those files. If they don't own the game, it wont show up in their library.

  • The Family Library Sharing option won't let the two of them play the same game at the same time AND not all games are available for Family Library Sharing. As far as DRM, again - kind of depends and you're advice is generally inaccurate on that point. steampowered.com/steamworks/publishingservices.php Jan 10, 2017 at 0:03
  • Note the "official" way to do this to use Steam's backup and restore feature, but this way is often easier and works just as well.
    – user86571
    Jan 10, 2017 at 0:04
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    @ShawnGordon you can download and play games coming from a shared library, but you can't play those games if the library is in use. Here I just talk about downloading the game, not playing it. The reason I mentionned library sharing was just to say that you wouldnt need to buy the game yourself if its just to download it for someone else.
    – TheBird956
    Jan 10, 2017 at 0:22
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    This is going off topic. This was not a question about how DRM works. I stated that in this case DRM is not a problem since everyone own the game and that if you dont own the game, you can still download it with library sharing in order to send the files to someone else who owns it.
    – TheBird956
    Jan 10, 2017 at 0:32

Not for what you're looking to do.

Similar questions have solved how to move files between two systems under the same user account, and others solve how to migrate files on the same system for the same account, but you're asking how and if it's possible to migrate files between two systems and between two user accounts by downloading a copy on your system and then installing on to another from your download package.

Each system must download and install the files, there is no "customer courier" package do different users because of the DRM (some titles have third party DRM - so this can be an obstacle in some cases)

In the future, I'd suggest checking out the option to backup your games.

Steam does offer Family Library Sharing (FLS) which, depending on the game and how you and your friends play, could be of additional benefit.

From Steam:

Family Library Sharing allows selected accounts to use your game library on authorized computers while you're not playing. You can authorize up to 10 computers at the same time.

And, Steam stipulates the FLS option is not available for all games while providing a list of games within your specific library that are not available for FLS.

  • Are you sure? What about if the second person started the installation (in order to create the game directory, etc.) and then puts the game files in the correct place? Steam should realize all the files are already there and then just finish the install.
    – Mage Xy
    Jan 9, 2017 at 18:41
  • That sounds like an excellent question for you to ask Steam Support. Jan 9, 2017 at 18:46
  • So it looks like you can actually do this from the duplicated question
    – sysfiend
    Jan 9, 2017 at 18:50
  • Technically it's not a duplicated question and not exactly what you're doing. The "dupe" question is asking if he can use a store bought game and append only the GOTY portion via steam on his own system and launch the game - you're asking if you can download the files in total from steam and then transfer them to a different system to be launched from steam. Very, very different. Jan 9, 2017 at 18:56
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    I'm pretty sure that it doesn't really matter. That was just the first of many such questions I found. My understanding is that Steam doesn't really care where you get your files, as long as they have the Steam DRM and that you have the game lisence on your account.
    – DJ Pirtu
    Jan 9, 2017 at 19:27

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