Using Steam Family Sharing, you can share Steam games with friends and family without them needing to buy another copy. This sounds great on paper, but there are some limitations to it, and enabling it requires your account to be signed in on the computer where the games will be shared.
Here we discuss those limitations, show you how to get Steam Family Sharing set up, and even give you a method for doing so that won’t require anyone to actually share their password or be there in person.
Steam Family Sharing: The Rules
Steam Family Sharing allows you to share your Steam games with friends and family, but it does come with a few key limitations. These limitations are:
- Only one person can use the shared library at a time. If you are currently playing any of your games, your library will not be available to friends you have shared your games with.
- You must be online in order to play shared games.
- A few select games cannot be shared. The vast majority of games on Steam support Family Sharing, but to check which games in your library don’t support it, click here. (You’ll need to be signed in to your Steam account on your browser.)
As far as limitations go, that’s about it, but how do you set it up?
Steam Family Sharing: How to Set It Up
Good news: if you know how to sign in to Steam, you know how to set up Steam Family Sharing. The main requirement is signing in to your account on the other PC. For instance, if you have an in-house family member, you can simply log in on their machine.
Once you’ve logged in, what you need to do is head to Steam Settings. You can find this in the top left of your Steam window.
Click “Family”, then “Authorize Library Sharing on this Computer.” Below, you’ll have a list of eligible accounts for family sharing, which should be any accounts that have previously signed in to that PC.
Congratulations! You now have Family Sharing set up. Sign out of your account and that PC should now have access to all of your Family Sharing games.
But how do do you set up Steam Family Sharing when the person you want to share it with is far away? In the age of long distance relationships and social distancing, chances are high you’ll want to do this without compromising your password.
How to Do Long-Distance Family Sharing without Sharing Passwords
This is where our old friend TeamViewer comes into play. Follow this guide to set up TeamViewer and use the Remote Control functionality to sign in to your account on a trusted friend’s PC. Enable Family Sharing as shown above, then sign back out.
If you don’t want to install TeamViewer and have Google Chrome, another viable alternative is Chrome Remote Desktop. Both users will need to head to the Remote Desktop Page, click “Set up Remote Access,” and click Download. From here, the installer will walk you through setting up Chrome Remote Desktop.
Once you’re both set up, the person you’re sharing with will need to open “Remote Support” in the Chrome Remote Desktop Page, then click “Generate Code.” On the same page on your end, pasting that access code into the “Connect to another computer” window will allow you to sign in on their PC and set up Family Sharing.
After you’ve done that, make sure you sign out of your Steam account on the PC you’re sharing to. Congratulations again! You’ve safely shared your Steam games with your friends and family!
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