I have borderlands via steam, and require no CD. My friend bought the game from the store, and therefore needs the CD to run the game. He's currently sitting in my living room, as we planned to LAN the game this evening, and he is upset because he forgot the CD at his house. Since obviously it can be run without a CD (or else my steam version would not work) is there some way to change his copy of the game to do so?

Note: I'm attempting to avoid the classic CD CRACK solution as it's illegal and a PITA, not to mention viruses and what-not.

  • 1
    Can the CD-Key be registered with Steam? Although if he is without the disc he is probably without the key...
    – Adanion
    Commented Aug 24, 2012 at 18:40

2 Answers 2


The Steam version of a game is actually built differently in order to rely on Steamworks DRM instead of CD checks or other varieties of copy protection. From just a binary standpoint, there's typically no way to convert the "Retail" (ie, non-Steam) edition of a game to the Steam variant.

The major exceptions to this are games that either only use Steamworks (ie, Civilization 5) and games that Steam will accept CD keys from, which is limited to games on this list.

Happily, Borderlands is one of the games on that list. If the game will give you the CD key, or your friend has the key with him, you could log into a Steam account and redeem it, thereby giving him access to the Steam edition.

However, then Steam is probably going to want to download the game from their servers, which may take a while. You could try to figure out some way to copy the data files from the retail version into the locations Steam would have downloaded them to in order to fake Steam out. This doesn't always work for every game though.

MBraedley points out in the comments that you can also use the Steam version installed on the other machine to speed up this process, either by backing up and restoring the game via the Steam interface, or as WernerCD points out, by copying the files directly. This is likely to be a far more successful method of saving the Steam download.

Also, we've kind of entered the phase of the problem where the "alternative" solutions start to make more sense. (I am, of course, obviously referring to making your friend go get his CD.)

  • Much more complete answer than mine. Upvoted.
    – SocioMatt
    Commented Aug 24, 2012 at 18:42
  • +1 for good information... and obviously the last line :P
    – Adanion
    Commented Aug 24, 2012 at 18:43
  • I believe Borderlands is one of the games where you can't just copy the install over, but I am by no means certain.
    – SaintWacko
    Commented Aug 24, 2012 at 18:53
  • @SaintWacko, yeah, I have never gotten this to work successfully personally, (on ANY game) but I included it just to make the answer somewhat more complete. I can't really find anyone online who has gotten it to work (with Borderlands) either.
    – agent86
    Commented Aug 24, 2012 at 18:58
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    @agent86 - It used to be somewhat difficult with any game. In the last month or two, Valve added a step in the game download process to check for existing data, so it's much easier now.
    – SaintWacko
    Commented Aug 24, 2012 at 19:00

From the 2k Games forums:

"The retail version of Borderlands requires the disc in the machine to play."

This is reiterated here. There is also a discussion here regarding the fact that a disk is required to play if it wasn't purchased online. All of this says that if you installed with a disk, you need a disk in order to play. Other than that, he could download a copy from Steam.

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