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Managing Your Library

Activating a Product on Steam

Please follow these instructions to activate a new retail purchase on Steam:

  1. Launch the Steam client software and log into your Steam account.
  2. Click the Games Menu.
  3. Choose Activate a Product on Steam...
  4. Follow the onscreen instructions to complete the process.

Please see the Retail CD Keys article for more info on registering keys.

 

Important:

Ensure that you are activating your game through the Steam application. The Steam website cannot be used to activate a game. If you have not yet done so, you can download and install the Steam application by clicking on the green "Install Steam Now" button here:

http://store.steampowered.com/about/

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Duplicate CD Key

 

If you purchased a new retail game and are receiving Duplicate CD Key error, please contact the retailer where the game was purchased to obtain a new copy of the game.

If the retailer is unable or unwilling to assist you, it is recommended that you contact the game's support for further assistance.

 

Important:

A retail CD Key may only be registered to one Steam Account. CD Keys are associated with your Steam Account, not the computer on which the game is installed.

Please see the Resetting a Lost Password article for instructions to retrieve your lost Steam account if it is possible that you have registered your CD Key in the past.

 

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Games Are Missing from my Library

I am logging in to Steam for the first time - where are my games?

If you purchased a retail package and created a Steam account, you will need to register your CD Key to activate the product. Learn how to register a key or activate a product on Steam.

I've used Steam before but now all of my games are missing - what happened?

If you have already activated and played games on Steam in the past but the games are no longer appearing in your list of activated games, you are most likely logged into the wrong Steam account.

You can use the Help site to figure out if you have other accounts associated with your email address or phone number. Follow the steps to find your accounts and recover them if you no longer remember the password.

Most of my games appear but some are missing

Sometimes Steam will appear to be functioning correctly, except certain games will be missing from your list. If you are absolutely sure that you are logged in to the correct Steam account, then the issue is most likely that your filter is set incorrectly. Please log in to your Steam account using the Steam client and ensure that all games are visible by clicking Library > Games.

Select Games in your Library to clear all filters

 

Another possibility is that some ports are being blocked by your firewall and/or router. Since Steam cannot connect on all of the ports it uses, it may run into a problem verifying one of your games. To see the list of ports and to make sure that all of the ports for Steam are open, please follow this guide.

I just purchased a game but I don't see it in the Library list.

Check your email to make sure you received an email receipt from Steam for your purchase. If you didn't receive a receipt, your purchase may still be pending. Find the purchase in your purchase history and you can select it for more details.

If your purchase was completed and you can't find the game, try logging out of the Steam Client and logging back in.

All or some of my games are showing up as Pre-Load Complete

The status of Pre-load Complete means that the game is installed on your computer, but your account doesn't own it or no longer has access to it via Family Sharing. Most often this happens when people forget they have more than one account.

You can use the Help site to figure out if you have other accounts associated with your email address or phone number. Follow the steps to find your accounts and recover them if you no longer remember the password.

Games that were previously installed are appearing as uninstalled

If games that were previously installed on your account are now appearing as uninstalled, check out this FAQ for a more detailed fix.

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Invalid CD Key

 

CD Key Information

Your CD Key will be either 13, 15, 18, or 25 characters long - the "S7160880" code which appears on some CD Key stickers (after the CD Key) is a part number and is not part of the CD Key.

 

Note:

Only the retail games listed here can be registered through Steam. No other retail games can be registered and downloaded using Steam.

 

Errors While Entering Your CD-Key

If your CD-key matches the XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX pattern, please note that some numbers and letters will not be used as part of the CD Key code:

  • The number 0 (try entering the letter Q or D instead)
  • The number 1 (try entering the letter I instead)
  • The letter O (try entering the letter Q or D instead)

Check instances of the following pairs to ensure these characters are not being confused:

  • The letter B and the number 8
  • The letter G and the number 6

 

Games for Windows Live

You may be entering in a CD Key that needs to be added within the Games for Windows Live interface instead of through the Steam client. A list of current Games for Windows Live titles on Steam can be found here.

 

Third party games purchased via Steam

CD Keys are issued with many third party games.  In many cases, Steam will display your CD Key when you first launch your game.  If your game launches and asks for a CD Key you do not have, please try the following:

  1. Right-click on the game in the Library tab and select View Game CD Key. This option is not available for all Steam games and a CD Key is not required for all games.
  2. Verify your GCF files.  Follow the directions in the Verify Integrity of Game Cache section of the Verify Game Cache Files (GCF) article. 
  3. For Windows Vista users, follow the directions under Try Running Steam as Administrator in the Windows Vista Troubleshooting article.  Then, verify your GCF files again and test the issue.
  4. For Windows XP users, on rare occasions you may need to properly set registry permissions: 
     
  • Exit Steam.
  • Go to the "Start" menu, select "Run", type "regedit" and click "OK".
  • Navigate to the following registry key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\VALVE
  • Right click and select "Permissions"
  • Check the boxes for "Admin" and "System" to "Full control" and "Read".
  • Restart Steam and then verify your GCF files again.

 

Just Cause 2

If you are seeing this issue with a Just Cause 2 Retail CD Key, please check your CD Key and enter any listed O's or 0's as a Q to activate your product.

 

Empire: Total War

Empire: Total War shipped in many retail boxes with 2 CD keys, one key is printed on a slip of paper and is a key to unlock extra units in-game. The second key is for the game itself and is printed on the back of the manual. If you enter only the extra units key then try to install ETW, you will receive an error that directs you to this article. Please find the other CD key printed on the manual and enter it. After you have activated this key, you can finish your install and play the game.

This issue may also affect some D2D customers as D2D originally did not issue all users both keys and some users only got the extra units keys. If you are a D2D customer you should now be able to find both keys at their website if you initially only got one and should have had two.

 

Dark Messiah Might and Magic

If you consistently receive an Invalid CD Key error when trying to register Dark Messiah of Might & Magic, try re-entering the CD Key backwards, digit for digit.  If you continue to have difficulty, please contact Steam Support.

 

Football Manager 2009

You may have trouble deciphering some characters in the license key on your Football Manager 2009 packaging. Characters O and 0 as well I and 1 are printed in a very similar manner.

 

Opposing Force CD-Keys

Opposing Force CD-keys cannot be registered through Steam. Opposing Force was included in a retail Half-Life package. The Half-Life CD-key included in the package will unlock all of the games included in that package, including Opposing Force.

 

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Missing CD Key

Games purchased through Steam

Valve games

Valve games purchased online through Steam do not include or require a CD Key.

 

Third party games

CD Keys are issued with many third party games.  In many cases, Steam will display your CD Key when you first launch your game.  If your game launches and asks for a CD Key you do not have, please try the following:

  1. Right-click on the game in the Library tab and select View Game CD Key. This option is not available for all Steam games and a CD Key is not required for all games.
  2. Verify your GCF files.  Follow the directions in the Verify Integrity of Game Cache section of the Verify Game Cache Files (GCF) article. 
  3. For Windows Vista users, follow the directions under Try Running Steam as Administrator in the Windows Vista Troubleshooting article.  Then, verify your GCF files again and test the issue.
  4. For Windows XP users, on rare occasions you may need to properly set registry permissions: 
     
    • Exit Steam.
    • Go to the "Start" menu, select "Run", type "regedit" and click "OK".
    • Navigate to the following registry key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\VALVE
    • Right click and select "Permissions"
    • Check the boxes for "Admin" and "System" to "Full control" and "Read".
    • Restart Steam and then verify your GCF files again.
       

 

Games purchased through a retail store

If your game did not come with a CD Key where there should be one printed, please see the Contacting Steam Billing and Support topic for instructions to contact Steam Support.
 

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Region Restrictions on Steam

Steam Store Purchases

Do products I purchase on my Steam account have any region restrictions?

In most cases, there are no region restrictions on products purchased directly from the Steam store. However, products purchased as gifts may have region restrictions. Please see the gifts section for more information.

How will I know if a product has region restrictions?

Any region restriction on a product will be clearly noted on the product's Steam Store page as shown below. Most products purchased for yourself on Steam do not have region restrictions.

Store page region restriction

What if I am traveling and the product I am trying to purchase has a note about region restrictions?

If you are currently traveling, please ensure that your store region is correctly set to the country where you permanently reside as shown below. You may view and change your store region from your Account Details page. If you are unable to select the correct country, please contact Steam Support.

Store region

CD Keys

I purchased a CD key from another retailer. Is it restricted to a certain region?

Region restrictions on CD Keys vary by each individual publisher. There is no standard or universal restriction placed on retail games.

How do I know when a CD Key or retail product is region restricted?

Region restrictions on CD Keys should be noted by the publisher on the retail packaging of the product. To be safe, ask the retailer if there are any region restrictions on this product before purchasing. If you have issues with the purchased product, please contact the retail store where it was purchased.

I’m getting an error 'Game not available in your territory' when I’m trying to add a CD Key to my account. What should I do?

You will see this error message if you have purchased a regionally restricted copy of a game and you try to register its CD Key in a different region. If you do not live in the designated region for that game you must contact the seller for a refund. Steam Support cannot offer refunds on CD Keys purchased from 3rd party retailers.

Steam Gifts

Are Steam gifts region restricted?

Gifts purchased in certain regions can be redeemed only in those regions. When you purchase a gift you will be notified at checkout of any restrictions that will be placed on the gift. An example of a gift purchase in Russia and the countries that the gift can be redeemed in is shown below:

Gift restrictions during checkout

How do I know if a certain country is included in a specific region on Steam?

The exact countries where a gift can be redeemed in are shown during purchase. Please see the above image as an example. The countries that are included in a specific region are subject to change.

I received a Steam gift. How will I know if it has a region restriction?

Each gift will clearly note in the gift's description which countries it can be redeemed in. You can view the description from your Steam gift inventory.

How will a region restricted gift appear to me in my inventory?

When a gift is region restricted there will be a red notification icon in the corner of the gift's image. There will also be a list of countries that the gift can be redeemed in within the gift's description as shown below:

Gift restrictions in inventory

Can I find out before I trade for a game whether it is region restricted?

You will see the red notification icon in the corner of the gift's image. When you hover over the gift you will see which countries the gift can be redeemed in as shown below:

Gift restrictions while trading

Can I use a proxy, VPN or disguise my location to redeem a region restricted Steam Gift?

No, using a proxy or VPN to disguise your location is strictly against the Steam Terms of Service and may result in restrictions on your Steam account. If you attempt to redeem a region restricted game and your location is inconsistent with your past Steam activity, a warning will appear as shown below:

Gift redeem warning

What happens if I have redeemed a region restricted gift and cannot play it?

You will need to purchase this product from your current location without using a VPN/proxy or obtain a copy that is sold within your country of residence. If you are unable to complete a purchase on the Steam store, please contact Steam Support.

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Retail CD Keys

What is a CD key and where can I find it?

A CD Key is a printed combination of letters and numbers, found on a card, sticker, or disc included with your game's packaging. For online purchases where no physical media is shipped, the CD Key is usually included in the emailed purchase receipt.

Which retail/digital CD Keys are accepted on Steam?

If a retail or digital game is meant to be registered through Steam, the retail packaging or the email where the key was delivered will specify so. If a key is not intended for registration through Steam, you will see an invalid key error when you try to register it. If a retail or digital game key has already been registered, you will see a duplicate key error. Please see the sections on invalid and duplicate keys below for further information.

How do I add a key to my Steam account?

Log in to the Steam client application (if you haven’t yet, you can download the Steam client here . Click the button labeled "+ Add a Game" on the bottom left on the Steam client and select "Activate a Product on Steam..." and follow the on-screen instructions.

What is a CD Key used for after it is registered?

After the key is registered to your Steam account, it acts as proof of purchase for the game as well as proof of ownership for your Steam account. Steam Support may ask for it if you need to establish your ownership of an account. It is recommended that you keep your key in a safe place to ensure the security of your account.

Why am I receiving the "Invalid CD Key" error when attempting registration?

If your key is not recognized by Steam, make sure that the key is intended for Steam registration. If a retail or digital game is meant to be registered through Steam, the retail packaging or the email where the key was delivered will mention it.

Once you have made sure that the product is intended for Steam registration, check the combinations below to ensure that numbers and letters are entered correctly:

  • The number 0 (try entering the letter Q, D or O instead)
  • The number 1 (try entering the letter I or L instead)
  • The letter O (try entering the letter Q or D instead)
  • The letter B (try entering the number 8 instead)
  • The letter G (try entering the number 6 instead)

If you are still receiving an invalid error, we encourage you to contact the retailer for further assistance.

If the retailer is unable or unwilling to assist you, it is recommended that you contact the game's publisher for further assistance.

Why am I receiving a duplicate product code error when attempting to register the key?

This error indicates that the key you are registering has already been tied to a Steam account. It cannot be registered again.

If you think that you have previously registered this key to a Steam account, please use Steam Help Site to retrieve your lost Steam account.

If you are sure that you have never registered this key successfully, you will want to contact the retailer where the game was purchased to obtain a new copy of the game.

If the retailer is unable or unwilling to assist you, contact the game's publisher for further assistance.

How do I add a non-Steam game to my Library?

If your key is not meant to be registered on Steam, the game may still be added to your Library for convenience - please see the Adding non-Steam games to My games list topic for more information on this process.

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Revoked CD Keys

Where is my game, and why was it removed?

The CD Key you used to activate the game was revoked by the publisher of the game. This can happen, for example, when the CD Key is intended for a limited time activation, like a Beta, or if the publisher determines that the CD Key itself had been obtained by fraudulent means.

What happens to my account when a CD Key is revoked?

Your account will not be restricted; however, the CD Key you received will be removed. If you would like to play the game again in the future, you will need to purchase it from the Steam Store, activate another CD Key, or redeem a gift copy of the title.

I bought this game from a third party. Will I get a refund?

If you or someone you know purchased this CD Key through a third party website, we suggest contacting the seller to request a refund. We have no way to issue refunds for purchases made outside of Steam.

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Steam Is Asking Me To Purchase a Game I Already Paid For

Important:

If you have not recently purchased a game please see the Games are Missing from the Library article for instructions.

 

I've owned this game for a while. Why would I need to buy it again?

Steam occasionally develops corrupted registration information if a Steam update fails. If you have owned the game for more than a few days and have been able to play before, please rename the ClientRegistry.blob to test the issue.

 

Recent Purchases

Steam may allow you to play the game while it is in the process of authorizing your credit card.

In the event that your credit card purchase is declined, Steam will remove the games from the Library list. The next time you try to play the game, Steam will ask if you want to attempt the purchase again.

You must make a valid purchase in order to play if your payment was declined for any reason.

 

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Steam Wishlist

How do I add a game to my Wishlist?

You can add a game to your Wishlist by viewing the storefront page for a specific game and clicking on the Add to your Wishlist button on the right side of the screen.

 

How do I edit my Wishlist?

You can edit your Wishlist in both the Steam client and through a web browser. To do this, log into your Steam account and click on Community, if necessary, log into your account again to access your Community Profile.

Once logged in, click on View my Profile on the right-hand side to view your Community Profile.

Here you will see a link View wishlist (# games) on the right side under Game Stats, clicking on this link will bring you to your Wishlist.

Here you can either click and drag the items to change the order or assign a number in the field next to the title of the game/DLC.

 

How do I remove an item from my Wishlist?

To remove an item, click on the Remove link next to the date the item was added to the list, right under the name.

 

Who can see my Wishlist?

Visibility of the Wishlist is tied to your Community Profile account settings. The information can be displayed to all users, your Steam friends, or only your account. Please see the Profile Privacy help section for more information.

 

This is an easy way for friends to see what games you are interested in.  Please see the Steam Purchase Gifts and Guest Passes guide for more information on gifting games.

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