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How do I move Steam games to a new computer without re-downloading them?

Recently, I bought Portal 2 from Steam. I downloaded and installed it on my PC, which is running Windows. Unfortunately, days later, my PC crashed, and it was rendered useless. Thankfully, my technician helped me transfer everything in my hard drives to a back up drive. Yesterday, I got a new PC, which runs Windows too. Could I transfer the game files from the back up drive to my new PC without buying the game again? It's okay if my game progress is lost in the process, because I don't want to spend more money buying the game again.

  • Sounds like you've been able to rescue your data! Once your new setup is up and running just copy your backup \steamapps directory to the new machine. You should back in action in no time.
    – NickSuperb
    Commented May 7, 2012 at 18:29

1 Answer 1


Once you have the game in your Steam Library, you own that license and can install it on as many computers as you want*. Simply install the Steam client, log in, and you'll be able to download and install any games you own.

If your program files were recovered, you can save some time and bandwidth after you reinstall Steam by copying what's in your old \steamapps folder to the new one

For example, copy [your backup drive]\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\ to C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\ (or wherever you installed the client). If you wanted to just copy (all) games between two functional computers you could do the same.

*Beware games with additional 3rd party DRM

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