Steam Family Sharing – how to manage multiple sources

Steam Family Sharing is a wonderful feature that allows family members and friends to borrow each others libraries of games when they aren’t in use. Considering we have six Steam accounts in our family, buying six copies of each game just isn’t practical. That’s where Steam Family Sharing comes in.

Unfortunately, Steam Family Sharing doesn’t always act like you’d expect. After a recent Steam application update, I found that I could only see my son’s copy of certain games, instead of the copies I own on my second account. This meant that when he used his account to play anything, I couldn’t play any of the games he owned, even though my second account owned a copy and wasn’t in use.

After a few hit and miss Google searches, I found a solution to my issue. And since I doubt I’m the only one who runs into this problem, I wanted to share how to get around this annoying… bug? Feature?

The solution is a small program called SFS-Select. Basically, it reads your Steam config file, shows you a list of Steam libraries currently shared with you, and then allows you to rearrange the order of priority. In my case, this allowed me to prioritize borrowing from my second account before looking at my son’s account. This means the games on my second account will always be available to me.

The program comes with an instruction file, but I’ll lay everything out here in a quick and easy format.

The first thing you will need is a free copy of 7-Zip. This will allow you to extract the SFS-Select files from the archive folder they are packaged in. You can download 7-Zip here.

Next, you’ll need the SFS-Select program itself. You can download it here. Assuming you’re installing it for the first time, you’ll want to grab the most recent “full” version, and not one of the “update” versions.

Now that you’ve got the files you need, there’s just a few more quick steps.

Right click on the archived SFS-Select file, hover over the 7-Zip option, and choose Open archive. Here’s a screenshot:
7zip-extraction

This will open up the 7-Zip interface. From here, select the sfs-select folder, and hit the Extract button.

Browse to your Steam folder and hit OK to extract the folder. Alternatively, you could extract the folder to your desktop, or wherever you’d like, and then copy it to your Steam folder.

Now that the SFS-Select folder is where you need it, make sure Steam is closed and stopped, and then navigate to your new steam/sfs-select/windows folder.

There are a bunch of files in here, but the one you need to run is sfs-select.exe. The .exe part is likely hidden on your screen, so just look for the sfs-select file that has the “Application” type.

The final step is to set the priority of your Steam shared libraries. The lower the number, the higher the priority. In the example below, I’ve set the “Timpysan” account to be the top priority.

Once you’ve got the accounts in the order you want, just hit the OK button to save your changes.

In the example above, even though both the Major Mudkip (my son) and Timpysan (my second account) libraries both own the same game, I will now see and run the game from the Timpysan account because I’ve set it to priority level 1. This fixes my issues of not being able to play a game I actually own when my son is using his Steam account.

I hope this helps and that you found this article useful.