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Official Guide Steam Client Clean up.

Discussion in 'SteamRep Guides' started by SilentReaper(SR), Jun 30, 2015.

  1. SilentReaper(SR)

    SilentReaper(SR) Retired Staff

    SteamRep Admin:
    Every now and then the Steam updating messes up something, which renders some functionality not working. This guide is using a feature of the Steam.exe file to "repair" the steam client installation at start, to get your steam client to reinstall itself again, without losing access to trading for a x period, and to keep your downloaded games (in effect only re-downloading the steam client).

    I personally do this every 6 months or so, or if I run into a problem with Steam that seems to persist over a longer period. About 4-5 years ago I started doing this, to get rid of problems, and a lot of people asked me over the years on how to do this when I reply about their problems with the steam client. I wrote this up several times over the years. Its only fitting that its also on SteamRep. This guide is for the windows environment. Sorry, I don't own a Apple and I don't use Linux as my daily driver to use Steam. If at best, it will give you markers which files you might need to save with those OS's. I'm using windows 7, but this will work on XP, Vista, Windows 8 and Windows 10 when it comes. It only needs to be adapted to its specific environment.

    What will this guide do:
    • Rid you of any build up junk in your steam folder (log files, crash reports, files being obsolete after a Steam client update.
    • Downloads near all Steam Client files again, to get rid of broken files etc that prevent you to use some functionality you need but is not working at the moment, like:
      • Trading window not working correctly.
      • Community pages not showing up correctly
      • Problems with Chat windows
      • Problems with game updates, etc.
      • Problems with updating steam.
      • Problems downgrading from the steam beta to the release version. (disable the steam beta before starting this guide.
      • Other Steam features not working correctly.
    I have the Steam client installed on my boot disk, which is a SSD, and into the root of the drive (C:\Steam\...). Default is the C:\Program Files (x86)\ folder on x64 systems or C:\Program Files\ on x86 systems. When you installed it, you either took the default folder or a custom location. You will have to go and find it.

    First your File Explorer needs some settings, for some files may be hidden from you or its file extensions not shown to you:
    • Press WinKey + E (lower left corner of your keyboard, the key between the Ctrl and the Alt key, press and hold, and press the E key)
    • Windows File Explorer starts.
    • On top left there is a menu named "Organize", fold it out and select "Folder and Search Options".
    • On the General tab:
      • Navigation pane:
      • Enable: Show all folders
      • Enable: Automatically expand to current folder
    • On the View tab:
      • Select under "Hidden files and folders" the option "Show Hidden files, folders and drives"
      • Remove the tick in front of "Hide extensions for known file types"
    • Click "OK"

    So lets start, shall we.
    1. If you are downgrading from Steam Beta, and have problems with that, select within the Steam Client to downgrade.
    2. Exit Steam, by going to your tray icon of it (standard in the lower right corner of your screen) and right click the Steam icon. Select the bottom option "Exit" to stop/close the steam client.
    3. Go to the folder where Steam is installed. Normally found under C:\Program Files\ or C:\Program Files (x64)\.
    4. Rename the ..\Steam\ folder to ..\Steam.old\.
    5. Create a new folder named "Steam" in the same location of the old one.
    6. Move the ..\Steam.old\SteamApps\ folder to ..\Steam\SteamApps\ (this contains all your Downloaded/Installed Steam games, this folder will be very large so I advise to MOVE it, do not copy it to save a lot of space and time).

    7. Copy the following files from the ..\Steam.old\ folder to the ..\Steam\ folder:
      1. ..\Steam.old\Steam.exe (Steam loader executable, this file when started will "repair" steam if files are missing)
      2. ..\Steam.old\ssfnxxxxxxxxxxxx (Steam Guard key files, NEVER give these file to anyone. The XXXXX are random numbers, copy all SSFNxxx files from the old steam folder to the new)
    8. Create a folder named "config" within the ..\steam\ folder.
    9. Copy the following files from the ..\Steam.old\config folder to the ..\Steam\config\ folder:
      1. ..\Steam.old\config\config.vdf
      2. ..\Steam.old\config\loginusers.vdf
      3. ..\Steam.old\config\SteamAppData.vdf
        These 3 files contain your login info and login preferences (saved password in hash, and what SSFN file is used with your SteamGuard protection) and your configuration for what games are installed where. If you have problems with your games updating while having them installed in other folders, you might want to leave out the SteamAppData.vdf file.
    10. You can choose for the userdata folder the following:
      1. Not copy anything from the old ..\Steam.old\userdata\ to start clean. You will lose some/all saved games, saved favorite steam servers, and such things related with the installed application. Skip to step 12.
      2. Copy the ..\Steam.old\userdata\ folder in its entirety to ..\Steam\. Do this and then skip to step 12
      3. Or only copy some select files. Go to step 11

        The APP ID folders are (for a small part) synced with the Steam Cloud, and starting Steam Client will get this data from the cloud to be downloaded and put in their respective folders again. Don't rely on this, for this is often only a very basic saving of a configuration, but not for your save games etc. It depends on the developer of the game how they handled it.
    11. To partially do the userdata folder:
      1. Create a folder named "userdata" within the ..\Steam\ folder.
      2. Go to the ..\Steam.old\userdata\ folder. You will find a folder in there that consists of numbers. The numbers are part of your Steam3ID (for example my Steam3ID is: [U:1:179411292]) The folder name will be the number without the square brackets and without the "U:1:", so for me that would be "179411292"
      3. Create a sub folder within the ..\Steam\userdata\ folder which is the same Steam3ID number of your own account.
      4. The folders below ..\Steam\userdata\[Steam3ID]\ are the Steam APP ID's of those particular games/applications distributed by Steam.
        1. ..\Steam\userdata\[Steam3ID]\7\ is Steam itself, it contains the recent servers and the favorited servers you have.
        2. ..\Steam\userdata\[Steam3ID]\440\ is Team Fortress 2
        3. ..\Steam\userdata\[Steam3ID]\760\ is your steam screenshots application (part of your Steam Client).
        4. You can find what each code is by going to the steam store in a web browser:
          http://store.steampowered.com/app/440/ is Team Fortress 2's steam store page for example.
          Notice the "440" at the end of the url. You can find out what each and every of those numbers is by simply replacing the numbers in the URL and hit Enter. Some will not yield results (app number 7 for example is the Steam Client, it will defer to the default page, reasons vary, retracted or test game, DLC, etc)
        5. Decide per App ID if you copy it, but do copy these folders whole.
    12. You can now start Steam from your normal Steam icon on your desktop again. It will reinstall the steam client again cleanly.
    13. If you had automatic login enabled in the old steam client, it will automatically log you in after it has re-installed the Steam Client on your machine.
    If you had problems with starting the Steam client, and you have a lot of games installed and/or are using the Steam Libraries to have multiple places for your games to install, you may have to delete the ..\Steam\config\SteamAppData.vdf file. If you after deleting that file still have problems, it may be due the ..\Steam\steamapps\ folder, move it out of the steam client, and move it game by game into it. (remember to exit steam, move the game, start Steam).

    Recommended settings to enable (again) within steam:
    • Open the steam browser, and on top left click the "Steam" menu, select the option "Settings"
    • Click on the left side on "Friends", and enable the option "Display timestamps in chat log".
    • Click on the left side on "Interface", and enable the option "Display Steam URL address when available".
    You may walk thru the rest to set your own preferences.
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2015
  2. SilentReaper(SR)

    SilentReaper(SR) Retired Staff

    SteamRep Admin:
    TL : DR:

    • Exit steam
    • Rename current steam folder.
    • Create new Steam folder with the same name as the old.
    • Copy the following from the old, renamed folder to the new folder:
      • ..\Steam\Steam.exe (file)
      • ..\Steam\SSFNxxxxxxxx (files, xxx = random numbers, contains SteamGuard keys)
      • ..\Steam\SteamApps (folder, contains games)
      • ..\Steam\config\config.vdf (file, contains login info/configuration)
      • ..\Steam\config\loginusers.vdf (file, contains login info/configuration)
      • ..\Steam\config\SteamAppData.vdf (file, contains Game Library information like locations)
      • ..\Steam\userdata (folder, contains game savegames, game configurations, partially synced with steam cloud)
    • Start Steam, and it will download the full client again.
    • Go to steam settings, set all settings you need.
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2015
    Bizarro likes this.
  3. Bizarro

    Bizarro New User

    Tried this on my old workstation - 100,000,000x more efficient than my previous, outdated, method.

    I am experiencing one issue but I am 99,9% sure it's client side. Steam does not believe I am the user that installed Steam on the computer (win 7 x64). I did not notice until today when I went to opt into beta on one of my accounts.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2015
  4. SilentReaper(SR)

    SilentReaper(SR) Retired Staff

    SteamRep Admin:
    if you use multiple accounts, then you have to stay away from steam beta... for the other accounts didn't submit for the beta, and if you then try to login with it its a steam beta client... that will give unexpected results at best.
    Bizarro likes this.
  5. Bizarro

    Bizarro New User

    Something cool here.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2015