How to family share steam?

HotbotBy HotBotUpdated: July 9, 2024

Family Sharing on Steam allows family members and close friends to share their libraries of Steam games, enabling different accounts to play each other's games while maintaining their own achievements and save data. Below, we provide a comprehensive guide on how to set up and manage Family Sharing on Steam.

Understanding Steam Family Sharing

Steam Family Sharing is a feature that lets users share their game library with up to 5 accounts and 10 devices. This is particularly useful for families with multiple gamers, as it allows each member to access the same games without having to purchase multiple copies.

Key Points of Family Sharing

  • Only one user can access a shared game library at any given time.
  • DLCs and in-game items can also be shared, provided the borrower doesn’t own the base game.
  • Some games may not be available for sharing due to technical limitations or other restrictions.

Setting Up Steam Family Sharing

To set up Steam Family Sharing, you need access to the computer and the Steam account you wish to share with. Follow these steps to enable Family Sharing:

Step 1: Enable Steam Guard Security

Before you can share your Steam library, you need to ensure that Steam Guard security is enabled for your account. Steam Guard provides an additional layer of security to your Steam account.

  1. Open the Steam client and log in to your account.
  2. Click on your username in the upper right corner and select Account Details.
  3. Under Account Security, ensure that Steam Guard is enabled. If not, follow the prompts to activate it.

Step 2: Authorize Family Sharing

Once Steam Guard is enabled, you can proceed with authorizing Family Sharing on your account:

  1. Log in to the Steam client on the computer you wish to share your library with.
  2. Click on Steam in the upper left corner and select Settings.
  3. In the Settings menu, go to the Family tab.
  4. Check the box that says Authorize Library Sharing on this Computer.
  5. Under Eligible Accounts, select the accounts you wish to share your library with and click OK.

Step 3: Accepting Shared Libraries

Once you have authorized the computer for Family Sharing, the shared libraries will be available to other users who log in to their Steam accounts on that computer:

  1. Log out of your Steam account and allow the secondary user to log in to their account.
  2. The secondary user should navigate to Library to see the shared games.
  3. The user can now install and play the games from the shared library, provided the owner is not currently using the library.

Managing Family Sharing

Managing your Family Sharing settings ensures a smooth experience for all users involved. Here’s how to handle different scenarios:

Revoking Access

If you need to revoke access to your shared library, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Steam client and go to Settings.
  2. Navigate to the Family tab.
  3. Under Authorized Borrowers, uncheck the account you wish to remove.
  4. Click OK to save changes.

Dealing with Conflicts

Since only one user can access a shared library at a time, conflicts may arise. If the owner of the library starts playing a game, the borrower will receive a notification and a few minutes to either purchase the game or save their progress and quit.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Occasionally, users may encounter issues with Steam Family Sharing. Here are some common problems and their solutions:

Library Not Showing

If the shared library doesn’t appear in the secondary user’s account, try the following:

  • Ensure that the primary account has authorized the secondary account on the correct computer.
  • Verify that both accounts have Steam Guard enabled.
  • Restart the Steam client and log back in.

Game Not Launching

If a shared game won’t launch, consider these steps:

  • Check if the primary user is currently using the library.
  • Ensure that the game is properly installed on the secondary user’s account.
  • Verify that the game is available for Family Sharing.

Advanced Tips for Family Sharing

Sharing with Multiple Devices

Steam allows sharing with multiple devices, up to 10 authorized devices. Make sure you manage your devices effectively to avoid running into the device limit.

Monitoring Shared Game Activity

Primary users can monitor the activity of their shared games by checking the Family tab in the Settings menu. This allows you to see which games are being accessed and by whom.

Utilizing Steam’s Offline Mode

To avoid conflicts, use Steam's offline mode. If the primary user goes offline, the secondary user can freely access the shared library until the primary user goes online again.

Rarely Known Details About Steam Family Sharing

Regional Restrictions

Family Sharing respects regional restrictions. If a game is unavailable in the secondary user’s region, they won’t be able to access it, even if it’s in the shared library.

Handling VAC Bans

Valve Anti-Cheat (VAC) bans can affect Family Sharing. If a secondary user receives a VAC ban, they will lose access to the shared library entirely.

Game Ownership Transfer

Games purchased by the borrower while playing from a shared library are permanently added to their own library and are not affected by the primary user’s library status.

By following these steps and tips, you can maximize the benefits of Steam Family Sharing, creating a seamless gaming experience for all users involved. The intricacies of sharing, managing, and troubleshooting enrich the process, making it an invaluable feature for Steam users.

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