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

I have just bought a new computer and I have everything migrated over except for my Steam games.

I looked in Program Files/Steam/ and I found a folder full of the games I have downloaded, but I do not know if it is safe to just copy these folders from one computer to another (seeing as a lot of other applications will not work if you do this), or is there another recommended way?

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  • 8 Solutions collect form web for “How do I move Steam games to a new computer without re-downloading them?”

    I copy the files like you suggested all the time, and it is fine to do. Any files that do not match are usually re-downloaded from Steam, hence why it will still update a bit after a fresh copy. If you do not want all to redownload just the sounds and maps (which take up the most of the space), you can simply take the .gcf files for each game from Program Files/Steam/SteamApps.

    Steam also has a “Backup” feature you can use. The files it creates can be moved from PC to PC and restored on any one.

    Here is the official answer from Valve on how to relocate where Steam games are installed. While the article is written as if you’re moving from one directory to another on the same computer, the principles would be alike for moving downloaded content from one computer to another:

    An unofficial one, is to copy just your complete steam folder to another PC/HDD, without the need to reinstall steam.

    I made it many times, and it works also on external HDD, that is easy if you want to show some games to your friends when you don’t have your PC with you.

    From this forum thread:

    Install Steam, then just copy the directories over onto the new computer, use the same filepaths etc…

    And you will need to delete the clientregistry.blob file that you copied over from your old computer. Don’t worry Steam will create a new one when you run it on your new computer.

    Or re-download the games after installing Steam

    Download Steam mover from the techmixer site:

    You can check the info first.

    It was written by a Steam user and was first posted on the Valve developers forum.

    It enables easy transfer between separate folders and/or hard drives, and is free, and portable.

    You should be safe to just copy the game files – but should worse come to worse, you can always just re-download as many times as you need/want to. (That’s what I always do.)

    There are 2 options to do this.

    Method 1

    1. Make a backup of Dota 2 via steam backup and restore function found under “steam” tab.
    2. Copy this back up to new computer.
    3. Install steam, login to your steam account. All games (Including Dota 2) will be visible in your game library. Install Dota 2 via back up you created in step 4. After install is complete, game “MAY” update to download any missing or out dated file.

    Method 2

    1. Copy “common” folder and “appmanifest_570.acf” from PC 1 to a hard disk or USB. This stuff is located in steamapp folder. Most commonly the address will be C:\Program Files(x86)\Steam\steamapps\
    2. Now go to PC 2 and install steam.
    3. Once steam is installed in PC 2, close it completely and then paste these copied “common” folder and “appmanifest_570.acf” in steamapp folder in PC 2.
    4. Once this procedure is complete, you’ll be able to play Dota 2 on PC 2 as well.

    Whatever method you choose, I suggest that you validate game’s cache before starting game. You can do it by going in Dota 2 properties >> Local Files tab >> Verify Integrity of Game Cache.

    If you encounter any problem or error, this post contains complete procedure with images and a troubleshot guide as well.

    Having read all the answers I think I had a unique situation where I had already started downloading the game. Attempts to copy the game still had steam thinking it should download.

    So here are a list of steps I think includes the other answers and my situation.
    When taking through this, I will refer to stuff as source and target. Target being the pc or files that you want to copy the games to.

    Open steam on the target PC.

    First we should ensure that the game is not on the target PC due to a started download of it. Right click on the game / properties / Local Files, and if the button “Delete local game content” is enabled, then click it and do that process. The game should still list in your library, just greyed out now.

    Close steam on the target PC. Ensure it is not open. (I don’t think this is required, but just in case).

    From the source pc, either over the network of with usb sticks etc. Copy the game folder from the source pc from a folder similar to this C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps\common to the similar location on the target pc.

    Once the copy has been completed. Open steam on the target pc, right click on the game in your library and click install.

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