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What to do if Steam doesn’t recognize installed games?

So if Steam is not detecting installed games, continue reading the guide below.

How do I Force Steam to Recognize Installed Games?

  1. Reinstall the Games without downloading
  2. Add Steam Library folder manually
  3. Recognize Games from a new Drive
  4. Use .acf Cache to force recognize Steam games

1. Reinstall the Games without downloading

Steam - Image- Screensjot

If the Steam fails to recognize any of the installed games, it will show you an option to install the game all again. If you have the game data in the Steam apps folder, then you can force Steam to recognize the games by initiating the installation of the game.

  1. Launch Steam and go to Games.
  2. Select and click on install for the game that Steam has failed to recognize.
  3. Steam will start to discover existing files for the game.

2. Add Steam Library folder manually

  1. Launch Steam.
  2. Click on Steam and select Settings.
    Steam app - settings
  3. Click on the Downloads tab.
  4. Click on Steam Library Folders.
    Steam app - settings- download - Steal library folder
  5. In the pop-up window, click on Add Library Folder and select the location where all your Steam game data is saved.
    Steam - add library folder
  6. Click on Select and close Steam settings.
    Steam select library folder
  7. Exit the Steam app and restart Steam.
  8. Steam should now recognize installed games again and list them in the games folder.

Steam by default stores the game data in Steamapps folder in the installation disk. If you had a custom location where the game data was stored, you could try to add the location in the Steam app to fix this issue.

3. Recognize Games from a new drive

If your main drive (steam default installation location) does not have enough space to install all the games, you can move the game data to a new hard drive and then add the Game Library Folder manually in the Steam app. Here is how to do it.

If you want your games to be in the D:/games directory, you need to create a subdirectory named Steamappscommon. The folder structure will look like:


Once the subdirectory is created, move all the games to the newly created directory.

After moving the games, the game directory will look like this:

D:GamessteamappscommonAssassin's Creed IV Black Flag

D:GamessteamappscommonCounter Strike Global Offensive

This post was written by Tashreef Shareef and was first posted to WindowsReport

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