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Is it possible to force install the Demo version of a game, for which you already have a full version in Steam?

The reason I want to install a demo is that I want to use it for tests. Like for example, comparing performance with different Vulkan implementations for AMD GPU. And the full game takes significant space on my SSD and I do not want to keep it.

When I go to the game page, and press "install demo", the installer still wants to install the full game (you can see it asks where to install and the required size is big for full version).

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  • Could you just make another Steam account, used exclusively for this testing?
    – Schism
    Mar 19 at 22:36
  • I can, but it is a crutch. I would like to avoid switching accounts.
    – Ashark
    Mar 20 at 9:52
  • Sometimes the developer may offer the demo version under "Betas" in the game properties.
    – OrangeDog
    Mar 24 at 21:55

3 Answers 3

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There is a solution without creating second account.

Step 1 - find out the appid of the demo version

Demo appid is not the same as full game appid. Visit https://steamdb.info, search your game of interest. In this example I will use FROGUE game, because its demo is just 72 MiB. In search field enter FROGUE, but do not click on the suggested result (it will bring to full version). Just hit enter for your search string. It will bring you to the results page. You will see two results: one with app type Game (appid 1936990) and another with app type Demo (appid 1941560). You need the demo (1941560).

Step 2 - Run the installation command

Launch steam with console tab enabled:

$ steam-native -console

You can also enable console even if you launched steam without it. For this, run the following command in terminal:

$ steam steam://open/console

Go to Console tab.
Enter the app_install <appid> command, for example:

app_install 1941560

You will see that downloading started, and then the FROGUE Demo appeared in your library.

Alternatively, use the following command:

open steam://install/1941560

It will open a usual installation window, showing you the required disk space and the possibility to choose library folder from dropdown list.

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  • I tried that, but it didn't work for me. Could it be it depends on the demo?
    – Joachim
    Mar 23 at 10:22
  • What did not work? Maybe it depends. Also maybe depends on region. I am from Russia and that frogue demo installed for me. Also worked with Detroit Become Human. Try it. Its appid is 1224230
    – Ashark
    Mar 23 at 13:48
  • I tried it with the Salt demo (ID 327870) since I have the full game and it's relatively small. Thanks, I'll try it out later. I might have another possible solution.
    – Joachim
    Mar 23 at 22:44
  • Hmm, it worked for me, but not from the first try. I entered "app_install 327870", nothing happened, nor even any error message in console. Then I searched salt in the store tab, saw there download demo button, pressed it. But did not installed it. Then went back to console tab and executed "app_install 327870" again. This time it worked. So I do not know, maybe it requires you to visit the game store page first?
    – Ashark
    Mar 24 at 13:17
  • I think I did, as I looked at the appID there first. Hmm, strange. I'll try it again. Thank you for your update.
    – Joachim
    Mar 24 at 13:19
1

The workaround solution I found for now is to create a second steam account and install the demo using it.

But would be glad to hear if there are other methods.

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I can't test this at this exact moment, but apparently you can:

Just go to your web browser [while] logged out and click on 'Download demo'. It will ask you to open Steam and it will download.

Solution found here. It's still a nuisance, but less so than using an alternative account.


Updates as I try some options:

I think the first prerequisite is that you have the full version uninstalled.

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  • I saw that before creating question here. I tried it, and it does not work for me. Even when you are logged out (from incognito), when you click install, it opens your steam client, in which you are logged in. And it still wants to install a full version of a game. And I do not see if there is a button to force install demo.
    – Ashark
    Mar 20 at 10:19
  • Unfortunately no. I do not have a full version installed and the behavior it such as described. Also I remember when I bought the full game, I had the demo installed. And it just disappeared from the library list, and the full title (without "Demo") appeared there.
    – Ashark
    Mar 21 at 12:28

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