Steam is a software client where you can purchase, play, and store in-game items and achievements. However, not all games can be found in the Steam store. This means some of the games you want to play will be purchased and played outside of the Steam client.
If you’re an avid gamer who cares about having all your games in a single software such as Steam where you can have ease of access, you can use this guide to add non-Steam games to your Steam library.
What to Expect When Importing Non-Steam Games to Steam
Compatibility-wise, you won’t have any issues launching your game through the Steam client. Importing games to Steam means you can launch them through the software client just like you’d normally launch games you’ve purchased from the Steam store.
However, you won’t get updates, see in-game items, achievements, and the imported game won’t count as an “owned game” in your Steam account.
Adding non-Steam games to Steam won’t infringe any copyright or intellectual property laws. When you add a non-Steam game to your library, Steam only acts as the launcher. The sole purpose of importing other games to your Steam library is so you can have a place where you can see and launch all the games you have on your computer.
Moreover, you can still launch the game normally outside of Steam even after importing it to the client. All that being said, here’s how to get started with importing your first non-Steam game to Steam.
Locate the Non-Steam Game’s Installation Folder
The first step is to locate the installation folder containing the game’s executable or the (.exe) file that launches it.
If you didn’t create a custom installation path for your Epic Games, Ubisoft Connect, Origin, and stand-alone games, you should probably find your games in:
- Epic Games Store: C:\Program Files\Epic Games
- Ubisoft Connect: C:\Program Files (x86)\Ubisoft\Ubisoft Game Launcher\games
- Origin: C:\Program Files(x86)\Origin Games
- Games installed without a software client: C:\Program Files or “Program Files (x86)”. Inside those folders, look for the game’s or its developer’s name.
How to Add Non-Steam Games to Your Steam Library
After finding where the non-Steam game’s installation and (.exe) file is located, you can now proceed to adding the game to your library on the Steam client:
- Launch Steam on your PC.
- At the top left menu, click on “Games.”
- From the dropdown, click on the “Add a Non-Steam Game to My Library” option.
- A list of programs you can add to your Steam library should pop up. From there, scroll and select the non-Steam game you want to import.
- If you can’t find the game on the list, click on “Browse”. In this step, you’ll use the location of the game you found earlier.
- Find and select the executable (.exe) file of the game within the installation folder. Most of the time, (.exe) is located in the root of the game’s installation folder.
- Check the box next to the game you just added and click on “Add Selected Programs.” Note that you can add multiple games at a time.
- The game should now be on the left pane containing all the Steam games and programs you have in your library.
- Click on the game you added and launch it by pressing on the “Play” button.
Tips for Finding a Game’s Executable File
If you’re having a hard time finding the game’s executable file on your PC, here’s are a few ideas on what you can do next.
- To make the search for the executable file easier, make sure your Windows settings has viewing of file extensions and hidden files enabled. A quick search of the “show file extensions” phrase in Windows should bring you to the right settings screen where you can enable it. From the “For developers” page that opens up, select “Show settings” next to “Change settings to show file extensions”. Verify that the option in question is enabled from there.
- You can also switch the File Explorer view to “Details,” which also shows the file type. Click on “Type” to group files of the same class. In this view, you’re looking for the “Application” file type with (.exe) as file extension.
- If you find multiple (.exe) files with similar names, try adding all of them until your game launches. This may take some time if there is a lot of confusing (.exe) files in the game’s installation folder, but there really isn’t a way to know which (.exe) file is the correct one without testing.
- If you want to lessen your time spent on testing (.exe) files in the installation folder, you can take advantage of search engines to find which (.exe) file other players used for the purpose of importing, launching, or modifying the game in question. However, you might not find answers for every non-Steam game you want to add to your Steam library.
How to Remove Non-Steam Games from Your Steam Library
If you changed your mind about adding non-Steam games to your library, here’s how to remove them:
- In your Steam client, on the left pane with the list of your Steam games, right-click on the non-Steam game you want to remove.
- Hover your cursor on “Manage”.
- Then click on “Remove non-Steam game from your library.”
- The game should now be removed from the list. You can add it again anytime with no issues.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I add pirated games to my Steam library?
Yes. As long as you can locate the correct (.exe) of the game, you can add it to your Steam library. The downside, however, is that you won’t be able to enjoy the pirated game’s online features because Steam won’t validate your copy as genuine.
If you’re worried about getting your Steam account banned, you shouldn’t. If you’re not using cheats or mods that give you advantage over other players, playing a non-Steam or pirated game through the Steam client won’t get your account banned.
Is it possible to import programs that aren't games?
Yes. You can add non-game programs and launch them on Steam the same way you would a program that is detected as a game. Anything that has an executable file can be added to and launched through Steam.
Can I add non-Steam games to my library using the Steam mobile app?
No. The Steam mobile app’s function is to allow you to view and add to your game library, friend list, achievements, badges, etc. You can’t import games to your Steam library using the mobile version of the client because it doesn’t offer that feature.
Image credit: Pixabay All screenshots by Natalie dela Vega
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