How to Backup Steam Games (With or Without Compression)

By Shahrin Nizar06 Aug, 2019

Steam is one of the popular digital distribution platform for PC gaming. When games are downloaded to your PC, it will occupy space in hard-drive. Creating backup of Steam games might be necessary to clear some space for newer game installation, or to prevent re-downloading whole game again if all game files is corrupted. Backup for Steam games can be done with or without compression.

Backup Steam Games - With Compression

Backing up Steam games with compression can be easily done with Steam client itself. Simply click on Steam menu, which located at top left of Steam client, and click on Backup and Restore games.

Backup Steam Games Client Menu

Select backup currently installed programs instead of restore option.

Backup Steam Games Installed Programs

Choose which games that you want to backup. You can also backup multiple games at once.

Backup Steam Select Games

Choose save location for your Steam games backup. Default will be on your Steam installation folder, on the folder called backups.

Backup Steam Games Location

If you are using old backup media such as CD or DVD, you need to split it if game installation size is too big. If you are using external hard-drive, just select custom, and customize the file size in MB.

Backup Steam Games File Size

Wait until backup operation complete. Larger game folder will take more time to complete.

Backup Steam Games Finalize

Backup Steam Games - Without Compression

If you want a quicker solution to backup your Steam games, you may copy installation folder to your backup media. Normally, Steam games will be installed to a folder called common. To access common folder, you need to browse Steam installation folder and find a folder called steamapps. Example of common folder path on Windows 32-bit operating system; -

C:\Program Files (x86)\steam\steamapps\common

Backup Steam Games Common Folder

Manually backup any title to backup media. Once finish, you need to find appmanifest file. This file is need to store installation information such as last update version and settings to load resource. If you forget to backup this file, you won't be able to successfully restore your game later. Located on steamapps folder, appmanifest is differentiate by appid of game title. To find correct appid, simply open Steam store and search full title of the game. For this example, I'm searching Mafia II. Search might return with several list of game, that sometime close to what you search. Chooce the most similar to open product page. Once page loaded, take a look at the URL. Find number after the word "app" which is "50130" for game title Mafia II.

Backup Steam Games Find APPID

Once you find correct appid for game title, head back to steammapps folder. The file name will be appmanifest_50130.acf, based on appid that we search. Copy this file and paste it on your backup media.

C:\Program Files (x86)\steam\steamapps\appmanifest_50130.acf

Backup Steam Games Find AppManifest

Restore Backup of Steam Games

If you performing backup using Steam client (with compression), here is how to restore it; -

  1. Open Steam client, click on Steam -> Backup and Restore Games.
  2. Select Restore a previous backup and click Next.
  3. Browse where your backup is located, and click next.
  4. Wait until complete.

Restoring backup which is basically copied directly from installation folder, need one precaution. The precaution is to make sure Steam client is not running. Copy and paste game folder inside common folder, and related appmanifest file inside steamapps folder. Then run Steam to see if game is installed. Please note that if your backup is too old, there might be an update after successfully restore your game.

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