Thanks to its cross-platform feature, Steam lets you carry your game progress through all of your devices. You can leave a gameplay session on a PC at a certain point and pick it up on a Mac at that same point, preserving your stats, game settings, obtained items, etc. However, things might go wrong when Steam downloads saved data from its cloud to your device. Files can fail to load or appear as corrupted. If this is your issue, keep calm. It’s all just a matter of searching for files at the right location and manually downloading them to your device. Let’s see how to do it.
By default, Steam turns on cloud saving for each new title in your library that supports it. Suppose you are used to gaming on your PC, but recently started playing on a second platform. If you want to keep your progress whenever you switch from one computer to another, you’ll need to make sure automatic sync is enabled.
For any given game, do not hesitate to consult with the community or the developer to confirm if and how the cross-platform cloud integration works.
- Start Steam and open the Library.
- Choose any game from the list, right-click on its name or icon, and select “Properties….”.
- Select the second option of the menu, the “UPDATES” tab.
- Under the “AUTOMATIC UPDATES” section, the “Always keep this game updated” option must be enabled.
- In that same menu, check if there’s a “Steam Cloud” synchronization option. If there is, make sure that the update box is checked.
- At the main dashboard, click on the “Steam” tab and access the “Settings” submenu, the fifth option in the list.
- Go to the “Cloud” tab and tick the box for “Enable Steam Cloud synchronization for applications which support it.”
- Select “OK” to save your settings.
With these options, your device should upload your saved games to the Steam cloud whenever you end a gaming session. The next time that or another device launches that same game, it should fetch that data from the cloud.
If Steam reports a conflict when downloading cloud saves or can’t fetch that data, there is a chance you can download those saves manually. Here’s what you need to do:
- Open your preferred internet browser and load the Steam Cloud webpage.
- Log in with your account.
- Look for the game you want to download and select the “Show Files” option..
- A list of files belonging to the chosen game will be shown. Click the word “Download” written at the right end of each listed file.
- Save the files to a selected folder on your machine.
Now, placing files in the proper location is vital for the game to run correctly. Follow the routes written below to find the folder corresponding to your operating system:
- Mac: ~/Library/Application Support/Steam/userdata
- PC: C:\Program Files(x86)\Steam\userdata
Bear in mind that plenty of games store saved data in a “%AppData%” path outside the steam folders. For such games, a quick online search will show you the precise location where you need to put those saves for them to be visible in-game.
There could come a time when you want to get rid of the progress made on a particular game. This is usually when you come back to a game after a longer hiatus. Even if you delete local saves, files saved on the cloud will be downloaded the next time you load the game.
Deleting files saved on the cloud can’t be done easily, since Steam usually won’t allow mass deletion.
The only solution that allows for mass deletion uses a Steam conflict for cloud saving. However, this is a quite old solution by this point and might no longer work. If you want to safely remove save files, you can do that one at a time. However, we’ll post the “quicker” way below, with the caveat that it may not work and might require you to reinstall the game if it starts crashing:
- Launch Steam and navigate onto the “Cloud” tab to be sure if the box for “Enable Steam Cloud synchronization for applications which support it” is ticked.
- Select the “Updates” tab and copy the “AppID” field.
- Exit Steam.
- Open Task Manager. It can be done by right-clicking over the taskbar and selecting “Start Task Manager.”
- Click on the “Processes” tab and force the end of all the running Steam processes. The “End Process” button appears after the list, at the right-hand side.
- Navigate onto the “Steam” installation folder.
- Open the “userdata” subfolder.
- Look for the game’s App ID and open its folder.
- Open the “remote” subfolder.
- Holding the Shift key pressed, right-click an empty area of the file explorer, and choose the “Open Windows PowerShell” option or the “Open command window here.”
- Type in “
clc C:\Steam\userdata\[SteamID]\[AppID]\remote*” without quotes (clc + absolute path of your remote folder + * to affect all the files, filling in the SteamID and AppID fields manually). Since there is no confirmation when you hit “Enter”, double-check the information you copy so you don’t accidentally delete system or user files!
- Close PowerShell or the command window. The App ID folder should show emptiness.
- Return to the App ID subfolder, look for “remotecache.vdf” and delete it.
- Open Steam and launch the game (referred by the App ID). Position yourself on the “Cloud Sync Conflict” screen but do not click on its dialog.
- Re-open the App ID folder to delete the “remote” subfolder and the “remotecache.vdf” file.
- Back to Steam. Select the option that reads “Upload to the Steam Cloud.”
At this point, Steam should upload an empty folder to the cloud, overwriting previous data.
You can uncheck the cloud synchronization options for each game if you don’t want it to upload future data.
You will need to repeat these steps for every game in your library for which you want to remove cloud saves.
Cloud and Clear
Dealing with Steam cloud saving might be a hassle, but it’s the only way to hopefully restore ancient saved files. We hope this article helps you avoid losing the progress made during your countless game-playing hours.
Do you have another way to maneuver around Steam cloud saves? Let us know in the comments below.