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4 ways to back up Steam games on Linux

Are you a Linux gamer? Do you play a lot of Steam video games? Trying to figure out how to back up your games so you don’t have to keep re-downloading them? If so, this list is for you! Follow along as we talk about 4 ways to back up Steam games on Linux!

1. Steam official backup

The best way to create a backup of your Steam video games on Linux is to use the official backup tool. To do an official Steam backup, ensure you are logged into Steam. Then, find the “LIBRARY” section of Steam and click on it with the mouse.

After clicking on the “LIBRARY” section of Steam, you will be presented with your Steam game collection. From here, look for the search box, and type in the name of the game you would like to back up.

Look through the search results for the game, and right-click on it with the mouse. In the right-click menu, locate the “Properties” button, and select it to open up the properties section for the game.

In the properties section, look for the “Local files” tab, and select it with the mouse. Once at the “Local files” tab, you will see several different options to choose from. Look for the button that says “BACKUP GAME FILES” and click on it to initiate a Steam Backup.

When you select the “BACKUP GAME FILES” button, a window that says “Backup and Restore Programs” will appear. In this window, the game you wish to backup will be selected. However, feel free to check the boxes of other games on your Linux PC if you want to back up multiple games at once.

With all of the games selected in “Backup and Restore Programs,” look for the “Next” button, and click on it with the mouse. Then, select the “Browse” button to tell Steam where to save your Steam backup. When your backup location is selected, click on “Next” again.

Name your backup file by changing the text in the “Backup file name” text box. Then, locate the “File size” menu, and set it to the size that suits your needs the best. When that’s taken care of, find “Next” and click it with the mouse.

After clicking on “Next,” Steam will begin to backup your Steam game. Be patient, as this process can take a very long time, depending on how large your Steam video game is.

2. Copying Steam files with the file manager

The Steam official backup tool is nice and all, but due to the compression feature, it can take an awfully long time to back up a game. Another way you can quickly back up your Steam games is with the Linux file manager. Here’s how to do it.

First, open up the Linux file manager on your computer. Then, enable hidden folders. Sadly, all Linux file managers are different, so we cannot show you how to do this here. Once hidden folders are enabled, open up the .steam directory.

Inside of the .steam directory, look for the steamapps folder and click on that. Then, in the steamapps folder, find common and open that directory. The common folder holds all installed Linux Steam video games.

To back up your Steam games, simply copy the folders in the common directory to a USB external hard drive or flash drive. To restore the backup, simply place the files back in ~/.steam/steamapps/common and click “INSTALL.” Steam will automatically discover the backup.

3. Deja-Dup

If you’re a hands-off type of Linux user, one way you can back up your Steam games is with Deja-Dup. It’s a program that can automatically back up anything you tell it to. To start the backup, install Deja-Dup with the commands below.


sudo apt install deja-dup


sudo apt-get install deja-dup

Arch Linux

sudo pacman -S deja-dup


sudo dnf install deja-dup


sudo zypper install deja-dup

With the app installed, plug in a USB storage device (such as a USB external hard drive or USB flash drive) and launch the app. Inside of Deja-Dup, find “Preferences” and open it to access the app’s settings.

In the Deja-Dup settings area, look for “Location” and change it to your USB external storage. Then, close the preferences window and start the backup. Deja-Dup should automatically back up your Steam games as it is configured by default to back up everything in the home directory.

To restore the Steam game backup in Deja-Dup, look for the restore backup button and click on it. Then, browse for the backup on your USB storage device. It should restore all of the files to their original locations.

When the backup is restored, locate the “Install” button for the game you backed up, and click it to re-install the game. Steam should automatically re-discover your backup.

4. Terminal backup

If you’re a fan of the Linux terminal, it is possible to create a backup of your Steam video games with the command-line. Here’s how to do it. First, open up a terminal window on the desktop. Then, once the terminal window is open, use the CD command to move into the ~/.steam/steamapps/common directory.

cd ~/.steam/steamapps/common

Inside of the ~/.steam/steamapps/common folder, run the mkdir command to make a Steam backup directory in your home folder.

mkdir -p ~/steam-game-backups

Next, run the cp -r command to copy all of the game folders into your newly created backup directory.

cp -r * ~/steam-game-backups

When the cp command is complete, feel free to take the ~/steam-game-backups folder and place it on a USB hard drive, USB flash drive, or home server to keep your Steam backups safe.

To restore the backups, do the following.

cd ~/steam-game-backups
cp -r * ~/.steam/steamapps/common

After pasting the files back in the directory, reinstall the games on Steam. Steam will auto-discover the backup files.


In this list, we covered 4 ways to back up Steam games on Linux. If you weren’t sure about how to make backups of your Linux Steam games before, hopefully, this list has shown you that backing up games on Linux isn’t as difficult as it sounds!

1 Comment

  1. Can you save and recover saved files, or is it just to avoid downloading the game ?
    I saved the folder steamapps, but I didnt manage to recover my 16 hours saved game

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