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I use Steam on Ubuntu almost exclusively without internet. I've taken the following steps to enable offline mode:

  • Per this answer, created a file ~/.steam/steam.cfg with the following contents:

    BootStrapperInhibitAll=enable
    BootStrapperForceSelfUpdate=disable
    ForceOfflineMode=enable
    
  • Per this answer, modified the following lines in ~/.steam/steam/config/loginusers.vdf and made the file read-only:

    "WantsOfflineMode"      "1"
    "SkipOfflineModeWarning"        "1"
    
  • While online, signed into Steam, selecting "Remember my password", then selected from the Steam menu "Go offline..." -> "Restart in offline mode".

Nevertheless after some time (2-3 weeks), when opening Steam I get the "Create new account / Login to an existing account" dialog. I have seen multiple claims that it should be possible to stay indefinitely in offline mode. How?

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  • When it asks me to log in, I am able to say "stay offline". Is that option available to you? If so, is this question asking how to have this not pop up at all, because that would be a bit different from what you're asking
    – user213824
    Feb 22, 2019 at 3:11
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    You can't stay offline forever - Steam requires you to log in periodically to check your account status. This may be something individual developers can configure in terms of how long you can stay offline for a given game, I'm not sure. I think it's part of the Steam DRM, to ensure you don't log into your account on a friend's computer, let him install all your games, and then go offline forever, thus effectively giving your friend all your games (that don't require internet access to play, anyway.)
    – Steve-O
    Feb 22, 2019 at 18:54
  • @Steve-O do you have a source for that? My laptop has remained offline since 2010, and i am currently playing on steam (ftl, incase you're interested). Plus, you can easily work around the issue you mention. Multiple computers can be online with the same account at the same time, it's only when trying to play games at the same time that it stops you. My wife and I share one account and have been playing the same games side by side, also since 2010.
    – user213824
    Feb 23, 2019 at 2:16
  • @user213824 since it happens infrequently I can't verify now, but I don't remember any such option (if it was there I would have selected it).
    – stewbasic
    Feb 23, 2019 at 9:19
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    @user213824 Is it safe to infer that the laptop being offline since 2010 means Steam hasn't been updated on that machine since then? If so, I'd strongly recommend you never update it. Valve does change things in updates to the software. My only source is my own experience playing games offline, and I know the behaviour varies by game. I also hear some games on Steam are actually DRM free, but haven't yet taken the time to verify any myself. Maybe FTL is one of them.
    – Steve-O
    Feb 23, 2019 at 18:49

1 Answer 1

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You can stay offline indefinitely. (I know it works -- I have been doing it for many years now.)

You will need a dedicated PC (or, possibly a virtual machine?) that never connects to the internet -- at least not while Steam is running (either foreground or background).

Now, Windows 7 has been my dedicated machine for this. And you may need to take action when you get the little "Create new account / Login to an existing account" dialog -- which I can confirm happens to me occasionally, maybe even every 2-3 weeks.

Here is what you can do:

  • shutdown Steam completely
  • add the following entries to your Steam settings (in the version I'm using, they are in the Windows Registry...ugh... hopefully this is different in Ubuntu)

The AutoLoginUser and RememberPassword are the critical pieces of data here.
You should not be prompted to enter your password again, provided it was entered correctly while the computer was online when setting this up at the beginning.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Valve]

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Valve\Steam]
"SuppressAutoRun"=dword:00000000
"Restart"=dword:00000000
"Language"="english"
"BigPictureInForeground"=dword:00000000
"AutoLoginUser"="<YOUR STEAM USER NAME>"
"RememberPassword"=dword:00000001
"TempAppCmdLine"=""
"TempAppPath"=""
"AlreadyRetriedOfflineMode"=dword:00000000
"WebHelperFirewall"=dword:00000001

If you want to earn Steam achievements, you can do that too!
Just find the correct file, usually looks like:
<STEAM ROOT>/appcache/stats/UserGameStats_<YOUR STEAM ID>_<STEAM STORE GAME ID>.bin
or you can search for recently modified files.

That file can be copied to a Steam installation on another computer with your account, start Steam in online mode, and launch the game. All earned achievements will be triggered at the moment the game starts.

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  • Since there seem to be some differences in behaviour between Windows and Linux, I'll wait for an answer which has been verified on Linux.
    – stewbasic
    Oct 6, 2021 at 9:40

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