How to Get Steam to Recognize Game Files? – Easy Steps

How to Get Steam to Recognize Game Files

How to Get Steam to Recognize Game Files? – Easy Steps

If you have installed Steam on your computer and installed the games but the Steam is unable to recognize those games as installed, this article will solve your problem.

Steam is used by many gamers as it helps to keep all your games in one place and it is very easy to manage all the games. It allows the installation of games and their automatic updates.


Steam has many more features which makes it one of the best software for games in the world. But now some problems are occurring in it.

The developers of Steam will be trying hard to keep up their reputation and hope they will fix it with many improvements.

If your Steam app isn’t recognizing the game files, read this article to fix your problem as it will demonstrate everything easily.

How to get Steam to Recognize game files?

If you have installed a game and Steam is unable to recognize it, then this makes you upset but don’t worry I have given some easiest methods to try and these will work for you.

Method #1: Add Folder to Library

In this method, we will manually add your game folder to the folder library of the Steam app from where it will recognize the game installed on your PC. Follow the steps below:

1. Launch the Steam app installed on your PC.

2. Click on Steam on the top-left corner of the app.

3. Click on Settings.

4. Go to the Downloads tab.

5. Now, click on Steam Library Folders.

6. In this window, you have the default locations from where Steam App takes information. Click on Add Library Folder.

7. Browse to select the folder of your game and add it to Folder Library. Now, Steam should recognize the game as installed.

Method #2: Reinstall the game

This method is the easiest one to do. If Steam doesn’t recognize game files, we can force it to recognize game files present on the system. Below are steps to follow:

1. Launch the Steam app.

2. Go to the Games option on top of the app.

3. Click on, View Games Library option.

4. Select the game and then click on the Install option.

5. Steam will start discovering any files present on your system. As Steam will discover any files of your game, it will recognize the game as installed.

If this method doesn’t work, go for others.

Method #3: Utilize .acf Cache Files

1. Reinstall the Steam app to get the result by this method.

2. Move the game data to C:\Program Files\Steam\Steamapps.

3. Now launch the Steam from here. Some of the games will start to show that were installed properly.

4. The games which are not installed or displayed in the app. Select the apps and then click on the Install button.

5. Now, Steam starts to detect existing files.

6. If Steam can’t recognize files, it will start to download the files and the progress will start from 0%.

7. Pause it and then exit Steam.

8. Go to C: > Program Files > Steam > Steamapps. Locate .acf files there.

9. Move the .acf files from there to the folder outside the Steamapps folder.

10. Re-launch the Steams app and go to Games Library. All the affected games will be displayed as uninstalled.

11. Exit from Steam app.

12. Move .acf files back into C:\Program Files\Steam Steamapps folder.

13. Restart the Steam app. Go to Games Library and then click Resume Updating to the games you paused.

If this solution worked perfectly then all the games you installed will appear and Steam will recognize the game files.

Method # 4: Steam’s Backup and Restore Function

To use this function you need two storage devices, one can be your PC on which you are working and the other can be a portable drive or a USB drive. Both the devices should contain 65 GB of free space. Follow the steps below:

1. Open the Steam app. Go to the Library section.

2. Right-click on the game and select the Properties.

3. Go to the Local Files tab and there you’ll find the Backup Game Files option. Click on it.

4. Backup and Restore Programs window will open. The game will be selected for backup. So, click the Next button.

5. Select the directory where you want to put it back up. Click on Next.

6. Name the Backup file and again click the Next button.

7. Now, the Backup will start and you should wait for it to finish.

After the backup is made, follow the instructions to restore.

1. Install Steam, and log in to your account.

2. Click on Steam on the top-left corner.

3. Select Backup and restore games from there.

4. Choose the “Restore a previous backup” option and then click Next.

5. Browse the Backup file and click next.

6. Restoration process will start and after it is finished you’ll be able to find your games listed on Steam.


These are some methods to solve your problem to let Steam recognize the game files it isn’t. These methods will probably work for you but the .acf cache files method works most of the time.

I explained everything and made it easy to solve the problem. We have to rely on solutions to fix such problems until the app developers solve them permanently. Maybe you’ll find it difficult to do these solutions but to fix a thing you will have to work.

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