Steam is your one-stop shop to review and purchase most of the games that are released for PC. That’s been the case for quite some time now. It makes it incredibly easy to buy, play, and then delete games from your system. But how do you restore deleted Steam games on Windows 10?
Here are some scenarios. Let’s say you deleted the game folder from File Explorer like any other file / folder on your computer. There is also a way to delete games from the Steam client itself. Either way, there are a few ways to restore that Steam game without downloading everything again.
Let’s get started.
1. Restore the deleted Steam game folder from the trash
Let’s say you simply deleted the game folder and it is still in the Recycle Bin on your computer. Hopefully, you didn’t empty it or use Shift + Delete to delete that folder. Then, the easiest thing you can do is to restore the folder and files from the Recycle Bin.
You will find the Recycle Bin icon on the desktop or inside File Explorer in the left sidebar. Select the game folder and click Restore. It will disappear from there and appear inside the Steam folder where it was initially.
2. Restore deleted Steam game folder using Recuva
Technically, the files you delete from your PC’s Recycle Bin are not deleted directly. They remain intact at a very low level. On the obverse side, the entry is removed from the directory index. However, when you save a new file to the same location where the old file was, it overwrites the old file. That makes the old file impossible to recover.
If you have accidentally deleted a file / folder, especially from the Recycle Bin, there is still hope of recovering that file. You can recover such files (game folder in your case) using a file recovery application like Recuva. The free version of the application should be enough to do the trick. Similar applications are also available from other vendors, but the basic premise remains the same.
It will scan these directories and sectors to find all the files you have deleted over a period of time and which ones can still be recovered. You will be amazed to see everything it finds during the scan. Scary and fun.
Pro Tip: This makes you wonder how safe it is to delete a file from the Recycle Bin. Anyone can recover it using the right tools and they are available for free. That’s why you should use an application like Eraser to delete confidential files safely.
3. Verify Steam game integrity
Step 1: Open the Steam client and go to the Library option. Then right click on the game to select Properties.
Step 2: Click on ‘Verify game file integrity’ in the Local Files tab.
4. Add the installation library folder to Steam
It is possible that the game folders are still on your HDD / SSD and Steam cannot recognize them.
Step 1: Open Steam and go to Steam> Settings> Settings> Downloads> Steam Library Folder and click Add Library Folder.
Step 2: You will select the folder where you have installed the game. This will take a few minutes. You should be able to see the games in your Steam library again that were previously showing as uninstalled.
5. Rename the ClientRegistry.blob file
This trick was discovered by Steam players who found that renaming the blob file helps restore missing game files.
Step 1: Open the folder where you have installed Steam. The default location is the C drive. You will find ClientRegistry.blob in the main folder. Press F2 and rename it to ClientRegistry.old.blob. Restart the Steam client and it will create a new file.
You should now see all your games restored in Steam.
How to backup Steam games
This is for the future, so you will never find yourself in this situation again. The process is really simple and can save you a lot of headaches of losing installed game files and saved games. In the Library, right click on the game and select Properties. Select Backup Game Files in the Local Files tab.
Simply follow the on-screen instructions where you can choose the location. I always advise you to choose a different drive or partition than the one you have Steam installed on.
The Steam client is a godsend for Windows gamers. That said, it suffers from occasional bugs and problems, just like many other applications. Most of those hiccups are easy to fix, as long as you know where to look and what to do. This is where the benefits of a large community come into play. Passionate, tech-savvy hobbyists to find and share solutions that have worked for them. I hope some of them have worked for you too.