Grand Theft Auto 5 – Use non-steam files for a steam install

GTA5 install with non-steam files

Recently my brother bought a copy of GTA 5 via Steam – I forgot that my copy was directly purchased from Rockstar so was a little annoyed at the possibility of having to download 76GB of game files again and wondered if it was possible to use my non-steam install files instead.

I looked around reddit and various posts on the Rockstar forums, and most people talk about exporting from Steam to another PC (also using steam) without anything promising or just adding GTA 5 as a “non-steam game”.

None of these solutions suitable for my dilemma.

Initial problem

I first decided to look into the possibility of copying a Rockstar install files to a Steam install.

Reading online, Steam has a different method of delivering and installing game files  than other launchers – but it begged the question.

Well it’s the “same” game to some extent, why would the files be so much different for Steam?

Summary: My research led me to believe it was impossible or could not be done.

Copying files does work

Well I did it with success! follow my steps below.

Quick terminology

PC A is the computer where you already have GTA 5 installed (non-steam files).

PC B is the computer where you want to install GTA 5 purchased via Steam.

These are the steps I took:

Phase 1

  • Purchased GTA 5 for Steam PC B (do not download yet)
  • Setup a new Rockstar Socialclub account via website (https://socialclub.rockstargames.com/)
  • Copy PC A GTA 5 files  (i.e. C:\Rockstar Games\Grand Theft Auto V or wherever you installed it) to USB drive.

Phase 2 (on PC B)

  • Connect your USB
  • Copy Grand Theft Auto V directory from USB to your steam install directory: C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps\common
    • i.e. C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps\common\Grand Theft Auto V
  • Open steam
  • Start to install / download GTA 5
  • Steam will hopefully begin discovering game files like in the screenshot (this may take a while)

GTA 5 - Steam discovering files

  • Do not freak out! – After discovering, Steam will then say it’s downloading from the beginning of 70GB!
  • Do not freak out x2 – after a short while the “Download” of files will fly – because Steam will start to use the files you copied!
  • Grab a cup of tea / bowl of cereal
    • I left the PC unattended for 1 hour – came back and the game was installed

Phase 3 (on PC B)

  • Launch GTA 5 via Steam
  • Steam will start the Rockstar Social Club program.
  • Follow the on-screen steps to login with your Social Club account created from earlier or create a new one.
  • Social Club will prompt you to “register” the game and “link” it with your steam account.
  • Finish all the steps.
  • Play the game!

You may be a little sceptical but trust me it works. I ran GTA 5 and it works. No crashes or weird bugs.

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