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How To Share Your Steam Library

Video gaming is becoming a more expensive hobby every year. While old consoles are often cheap to come by, new ones retail for hundreds of dollars. Even if you opt to use a computer, you’ll probably need to drop a lot of money just to buy (or build) a PC that can run the newest titles effectively. And that’s just the system – you then need to buy the games to play.

Thankfully, Steam has answered players’ pleas – well some of them. It’s a service that allows PC gamers to purchase video games and play them all through one convenient library. As an added bonus, it also allows you to share your library with other Steam users as part of their Family settings for parents raising the next generation of gamers.

This step-by-step guide will walk you through how to allow another Steam user to access and play all your games through your library. 

Things To Keep In Mind Before Activating Steam Family Sharing

  • Steam recommends using Steam Guard if you are sharing games with other accounts.
  • You can only share your library with five Steam accounts on up to ten different devices.
  • Only one person can use each library at a time, even when playing two different games. You can both play games from your individual libraries, but you can’t both play games from one person’s library.
  • You can’t share just one game with someone – you have to share your entire library.
  • This service is intended for people who live in the same household. So, if you’re sharing with someone who doesn’t live with you, Steam notes that you may run into errors or issues that they don’t provide support for.
  • Certain games are not supported to share this way.
  • If the person you share games with is cheating in some way, your ability to share games may be revoked.

The Step By Step Process To Enabling Family Sharing On Steam

Step One: Login Into Steam On The Computer

First, you need to boot up Steam on the computer you want to share your library with. Sign out the person who usually games on this PC and sign in yourself.

Step Two: Navigate To Family Settings

In the top left, click the button labeled “Steam” and click on the option “Settings.” This will open a secondary menu with various types of settings to choose from.

Select “Family” settings from the left side.

Step Three: Authorize Library Sharing

Once you’ve found the right menu, you’ll want to hit the checkbox that says “Authorize Library Sharing on this computer.” This means that any account you are allowing to see your library will be able to use it on this device.

Below, you’ll find a list of the steam accounts that have logged in (recently) to this device. Click the checkbox next to the usernames of anyone you want to give access to your library. 

You’re done!

Hit “OK” in the bottom right, exit out of the settings and allow the other user to log back into their account. They should be able to view all the games that you own from their own library.

If you’re wanting to also get access to their games, they’ll need to repeat this process by logging into their account on your computer.

Managing Library Sharing Permissions On Your End

Once you have authorized another device and user to access your steam library, you’ll be able to manage them from your own account, on your own computer. Start by navigating to your Steam Family settings again. The list of “eligible accounts” will include any users you are currently sharing with.

If you just want to stop an entire account from accessing your library, uncheck the checkbox next to their username. Once you’ve hit “OK” and exited out, they’ll have lost access to your library.

If you want to stop sharing with a particular computer – not a user – click the link on the right that’s labeled “Manage other computers.” This will bring you to a list of computers that have permission to view your library. Of course, the “Device Names” can often be indecipherable if there are multiple computers on the list. You can tell which computer is which by looking at when your library was most recently used there and by which Steam user.

If the person you shared games with suddenly cannot access your library, it probably just means you haven’t been logged in on that device for a while and you just need to sign in again and confirm their access.

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