Steam not recognizing installed game: Know the Fix

Table of Contents

Know More about Steam

Steam is an online service hosted by the company Valve that is offered as a convenient way for gamers to purchase and play games along with interacts with a large gaming community. It is also a service for developers allowing them to sell their games without having to manage their own online shops or, in some cases host their own servers.

Undoubtedly its popularity is on the peak but unfortunately sometimes it disappoints its users by popping up errors like steam error adding friend please try again fix.

We are here with one of the errors of steam that is “steam not recognizing installed game”.


In this particular blog we will discuss about:

What is the meaning of the above error?
 What are Reasons to occur the above error?
 What are the Fixes for the above error?

Let’s discuss the above frequently asked questions one by one.

What is the meaning of the above error?

I am assuming that you are clear with the meaning of the above error by the above image; it clearly says that steam is not recognizing all or one of the installed games on your computer.

What are Reasons to occur the above error?

There can be different reasons for various users we will elaborate all the possible reasons to occur steam not recognizing installed game error.

  • You can face the error when the game files are inaccessible in the installation folder or game location.
  • When you are using an inaccessible, missing and corrupted game files or .acf files are damaged.
  • You will also likely to face the cumbersome if there is a wrong installation of game setup.
  • Users can also encounter the error when they reinstall the Windows without having the backup of the SteamApps folder which comprises the game files and other data.

We have concluded he reasons to occur the above error, now moving ahead we will discuss about the workable and convenient fixes for the error.

Fix 1: Simply Re-install the game

One of the easiest methods suggested to get rid of the error is re-installing the game. If the error message conveys that Steam not recognizing the installed game then kindly don’t download the game. Simply uninstall the game and then install it. Follow the below mention instructions to do so:

  • First of all, go to the search bar and type in, “control Panel”
  • Then click on “control panel “ to open it
  • Under the “Programs”, tap on the “Uninstall a program” link

  • Then choose the game that you are facing problem ad uninstall it
  • Then, launch Steam and switch to the “Games” tab

  • Now, select the game that you need and tap on the install option next to the game
  • Finally, the Steam will scans for the games and will inevitably download the game.
Fix 2: Add the game in Steam Library folders

In Steam, by default the SteamApps folder stores game data. You should change the default data storage folder and add the custom location in the Steam app, if you have selected any custom location to store the game data. Kindly follow the below mention instructions to solve the issue of steam not recognizing installed game:

  • First of all, launch the Steam app and press on the Steam tab at the top left side of the Window
  • Then press on the Settings option from the drop down menu

  • Go to the Downloads tab and press on the Steam Library Folders option

  • Then, in the appeared Window, choose Add Library Folder option and go to the folder or place where all the game data is saved.

  • Lastly, press on the Select button and close Steam settings

Now you can simply re-launch the game just to check that the issue has been resolved or not.

Fix 3: Transfer the game to the New Drive

You should simply move the game to another drive and add the game folder physically in the Steam app, if you don’t have adequate storage space to install the game. Kindly follow  the below mention steps to do so:

  • Open D drive and create a new folder and name it
  • Then move the entire game folder to the recently created folder
  • Then , launch the Steam app
  • Now, press on the Steam tab and select the settings option

  • The, select the Downloads tab
  • Then find the Steam Library Folders option from the content Libraries section. Click on it

  • Tap on the Add Library Folder option and go to the place where the game is moved to

  • Then press on the Select button and close to save the settings.

Now you can exit Steam and re-launch to check whether the issue is resolved or not

Fix 4: Transfer The .acf Cache to Another Location

Once you are done with taking the backup of the Steamapps folder, then use cache files to compel Steam to identify the game from the game data.

Follow the below mention steps to do so:

  • Make sure that you have already installed Steam
  • Move the game data to the default installation folder of steam
  • Then, launch Steam app
  • Then select the game which is not identified as installed and click the Install button
  • Now, Steam will start finding all the existing files. If still Steam is unable to identify the game then start downloading the game again and pause the game installation and exit the Steam
  • Navigate to the Steam installation directory and open the Steamapps folder
  • Then find the .acf file
  • Now, copy all the .acf files and transfer them to a new folder outside the Steamapps folder

  • Then Re-launch the Steam app and the game will seems to be uninstalled from the games library
  • Now again, exit Steam and come back to the folder where the .acf files are kept.
  • Transfer the .acf files back to the Steamapps folder
  • Reboot Steam and navigate to the Games Library
  • Continue the game update which you stopped before
Fix 5: Accomplish Permission for .acf Files

When .acf files are improperly being retrieved and the permission for the files are not set correctly then the Steam does not recognize the installed game. You can simply manage the settings by using the below mention steps:

  • Go to the Steam Library folder where the unidentified or unrecognized game is placed
  • Then right-click on the game’s .acf files and press on the Properties option
  • Then, under the security option, press on the Advanced button

  • Then press on the Change option just next to the Owner name in the Advanced security settings Window

  • Then select the user account from the Select User or Group Window on clicking at the Advanced button or type the name of the user account generally in the ‘Enter the object name to select’ area


  • Then press on the OK button when Everyone option is added

Points to remember: if you want to change the ownership of all subfolder and file within the folder, then simply enable the option “Replace owner on subcontainers and objects” under ‘Advanced Security settings’.

  • In the Basic permissions section, choose the full control option and press on the apply button to save the changes.
Fix 6: use Steam’s backup and Restore feature

If you are intending to apply this fix, kindly make sure that you have atleast a free space of 65 GB memory on your system or hardware USB and then copy the Steam game files to it.

You can follow the below mention instructions to do so:

  • First of all , launch Steam and press on the “library” Select “Games” and then press “Backup Game Files”
  • Then, to restore the files, navigate to the menu bar and press on the “Steam” tab

  • Then, select “Backup and Restore Games” option from there
  • Then Delete the Steam files from here and then fetch them again

That’s all for this article. I have mention six workable fixes for you; hopefully any one of them was helpful to fix the steam not recognizing installed game issue.  If you have better suggestions feel free to share your ideas with us on our social networking platforms like twitter, Facebook and others. Your efforts will always be cherished. Thanks for reading.

Sakshi Anant Author

Leave a Reply