During the Holiday sales, I logged in to Steam on a different computer (one powerful enough to actually run my games :). When I logged back in on my notebook, all of my categories except one were deleted, and all of the games except one were removed from my favourites and from the one remaining category. I re-added some of them.

Later, after logging in again, I lost all my groups and favourites again. Is this behaviour common? Can I get them back, or at least back them up in the future?

edit: yesterday's patch (7. 10. 2015) seems to address this bug (release notes here):

Fixed bug causing category info to be missing from the Library in Offline Mode, and sometimes cleared permanently when going back online

Took at least 3 years, it seems.

(I have read this, but I'm not sure it's the exact same problem. Both my computers ran Windows and I lost my categorization entirely.)

  • I lost all my favorites recently too, also multiple times. Steam actually deleted the game files too though the first time. Commented Jan 4, 2012 at 15:13
  • @MatthewRead "game files" meaning a whole game, or its Cloud files (saves, etc)?
    – ver
    Commented Jan 5, 2012 at 7:28
  • The whole game, sadly. Commented Jan 5, 2012 at 17:06
  • @MatthewRead Huh. I had a feeling that Steam deleted my Spiral Knights, but I dismissed it thinking I probably just don't remember deleting it (before doing the Steam Holiday achievement, wth). But if the same thing happened to you...
    – ver
    Commented Jan 5, 2012 at 19:46
  • There is this thread as well, but at least one user reports that that solution does not restore categories, and there's no copy of a Steam email response in that thread. Commented Feb 3, 2012 at 23:17

5 Answers 5


Copy $STEAM_DIRECTORY/userdata/$YOUR_LONG_NUMBER/7/remote/sharedconfig.vdf between computers or back it up.


  • Linux: ~/.steam/steam
  • macOS ~/Library/Application Support/Steam
  • Windows: wherever you chose to install Steam (usually C:\Program Files\Steam or C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam).
  • 3
    Questions are forever at StackExchange, so don't hesitate about answering old ones when you have a good answer that hasn't already been covered. (You can even get a badge for it!) Commented May 14, 2013 at 1:54
  • 1
    I have just loaded up Steam and found my categories were gone. I've closed down steam, gone to the folder mentioned in the answer above, renamed the sharedconfig.vdf, restarted steam. Categories are now back. Could be useful if you don't have another computer handy to copy it over from!
    – rtpHarry
    Commented Mar 13, 2014 at 20:35
  • 1
    Still true as of 2018. Just got my categories disappear, and had to restore them by copying this file over form another pc. Commented May 19, 2018 at 6:03

If your categories didn't sync, then you can't get them back.

  • 1
    This was the best answer back then, but there seems to be a better one now; so I'm upvoting this and accepting the other. Thank you.
    – ver
    Commented May 17, 2013 at 9:41
  • What if they were synced and some random day they disapeared ? Commented Sep 10, 2018 at 23:24

I just experienced the same issue, and found out on this thread that sometimes simply restarting Steam restores the categories; it worked for me.

I understand you probably have tried that already, but other people might benefit from this simple "solution".


Andrew Wonnacott's answer didn't work for me. I tried deleting some other cache and config files as well, but no luck.

I fixed it this stupid way:

  1. Turn on your second computer which has the correct game category state and which hasn't been connecting Steam to internet since the category mess up or deletion.
  2. Disconnect internet (second computer).
  3. Launch Steam (second computer).
  4. Recreate manually the categories from the second computer (first computer).

Your categories need to sync to the Steam Cloud - if they didn't for some reason they won't save to your account and thus won't be available on other PCs.

  • 1
    This doesn't answer my question. I asked whether I can get them back. Saying they won't be available on other PCs doesn't help at all.
    – ver
    Commented Feb 28, 2012 at 7:31

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