How to Back up Steam Games and restore them before Formatting your hard drive

Here is a simple tutorial on how to back up steam games and restore them In few minutes. There are 2 methods for storing steam games externally. One method is well known backup feature from in steam application, which doesn’t work (to be frank). By using steam games back up feature all your data gets erased which makes your game data gets deleted almost every time. So here is a simple trick on how to back up steam games to share the game externally for yourself or your friends. 

What is steam?

Steam is a digital distribution platform developed by Valve Corporation, which offers digital rights management, multiplayer gaming, video streaming and social networking services.

Why to back up steam games?

1)      Before formatting your hard drive, you can back up your game so that you can copy your game right back to its place (after formatting) to save your internet data balance.
2)     Can share the game to someone else who can’t download the game in your pc or laptop
3)     You can play the game on a later date after deleting the game. 

Why Should i use this method ? 

1)     You can use what ever method you want to, but the in steam direct backup method, there are many causalities, 90% of the time when you use steam backup feature you end up losing all the data and need to download the whole game again. Its fine, if its a small game. What if you have very low speed internet connection and the game size is very big? you cant afford to lose the game that you downloaded with great difficulty. 
2) The method i provieded here is 100% safe and there is no loss of data as long as you follow the process and can be shared with anyone as long as they purchased the game(if its not free). 

How to Back up Steam Games without losing data

1)      Go to C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps  
This is default location, if you installed steam somewhere else, go to that particular location\steamapps

2) You need to copy the files from “common” folder and “appmanifest_291480.acf” files.

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

C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps

Common folder = contains the game data which you need to copy.
Appmanifest_xxxxxx = contains the game info regarding the data location and its complete info and the complete game status.

So you need both of them to back up your data.

3)     If you have multiple appmanifest files, that means you have multiple games installed on your pc or laptop. I only installed one, So I have only one appmanifest file.  

How to distinguish appmanifest files of games?

It’s very simple, all you need to do is open appmanifest file with notepad++, there you can see the following info. 
For example, name = warface

      "appid"          "291480"  
      "Universe"          "1"  
      "name"          "Warface"  
      "StateFlags"          "4"  
      "installdir"          "Warface"  
      "LastUpdated"          "1496072474"  
      "UpdateResult"          "0"  
      "SizeOnDisk"          "9757498404"  
      "buildid"          "1692246"  
      "LastOwner"          "76561198362763634"  
      "BytesToDownload"          "7224237648"  
      "BytesDownloaded"          "7224237648"  
      "AutoUpdateBehavior"          "0"  
      "AllowOtherDownloadsWhileRunning"          "0"  
           "language"          "english"  
                "manifest"          "7299738716313125141"  
           "291481"          "7299738716313125141"  

4)      Now Copy the appmanifest and the game folder from common into a safe location.
                          For example: external hard drive or some other local disk.

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

5)     That’s it now it’s ready to be shared to someone else or can be used on a later date without downloading the file. 

How to Restore the backup data that we saved earlier?

This is pretty much same and simple as back up. All we did to back up steam games is we copied game folder from common folder and appmanifest file from steamapps folder. Now we need to paste it.

1)      Install Steam
2)     Login with your account
3)     Close the steam
4)   Open Common folder (Create common folder, if it doesn’t exist.) and paste the game data that you copied earlier into common folder.

Location: C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common

5)     Paste the appmanifest file into C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps
6)     Now open Your steam and find your game completely installed in it.

That’s it Enjoy Gaming, if you still face any issue regarding backup of steam games, feel free to comment down, so that I can help you.

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Bhanu Namikaze

Bhanu Namikaze is an Ethical Hacker, Security Analyst, Blogger, Web Developer and a Mechanical Engineer. He Enjoys writing articles, Blogging, Debugging Errors and Capture the Flags. Enjoy Learning; There is Nothing Like Absolute Defeat - Try and try until you Succeed.

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