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How to Download PC Games

Three Methods:

Historically, PC games were sold on floppy disk or CD-ROM and packaged in boxes much larger than necessary. Buying a PC game required a trip to the video or electronics store. Now, you can save time and money by downloading Computer games directly to your computer, either through the game maker, through a 3rd party site like Steam, or through torrents.

Note:This article is about downloading games for PC computers running Windows or Linux. For help downloading games for Mac,


Downloading Games Legally

  1. Find the game you want to play through an internet search.Simply search online for the phrase "Download Game _________, filling in the game you want. The first 2-3 hits that show up will be for sites that offer direct purchases, where you buy the game and it automatically downloads. Commonly you will be directed to the manufacturer,, or a site like Steam, which is made for video game downloads.
    • If you do not find the game in the first few links, it is not up for legal download online.
    • Finding the publisher directly is always the safest way to download a game.
  2. Compare the required and recommended specifications of the game to those of your machine.Your equipment may not be up to par for the intended experience, even if the game will still run on your computer. Look up the games specs to make sure you can play the game after it downloads.
    • You can check your system's specifications, including your DirectX version and video card, by using the DxDiag program. In XP, click Start, then Run, then type "dxdiag" in the box.
    • Windows makes it easy to check your specifications through the
  3. Click the "download game" link and follow the on-screen instructions for payment.If you're on Steam or another game aggregate site then you'll likely go to a payment window. Type in your account information and agree to the Terms and Services to get your game.
    • Write down any serial numbers or receipt information you are given.
  4. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to download the game.There are a couple of different ways you may get your game, but all of them are pretty straightforward:
    • For aggregate sites like Steam, the game will download directly to your Library. All you have to do is double-click the game once it is finished to start playing.
    • In most Internet browsers, you will receive a window asking you to either run or save an executable file with an extension of ".exe." Choose to save it to your desktop. Then double-click it after it finishes downloading to install the game.
    • Some games come compressed. To get them, download them, then export the contents of the ZIP or RAR file to your computer. Once finished you can double-click on the .EXE file, or click ReadMe for more instructions.
    • Finally, some games have serial codes that must be input into the installed game to play. They are usually provided on purchase or in an email.

Torrenting PC Games

  1. Understand the risks and legality of torrenting.Torrenting is a peer-to-peer sharing system, meaning that you can access and download the files on someone else's computer (like a game) as long as they give permission. This means you can download any game imaginable as long as you can find someone hosting it. However, torrenting for paid content, like games, is illegal without the permission of the publisher in many areas. Furthermore, there are many links that are unregulated and could contain viruses. Know that what you are doing is not strictly legal before moving on.
  2. Download a torrent client.Torrent clients are the programs that pull torrents off the web and convert them into usable files for your computer. There are a variety of free, legal torrent clients out there, such as uTorrent and BitTorrent, that are easily downloaded with an online search.
    • A torrent client is not a torrent -- it is just the program used to download a torrent.
  3. Find torrents of the game you want.More often than not you can find these torrents by searching online for "GAME TITLE + Torrent." There are a lot of torrent sites out there, and some are more trustworthy than others.
    • Never give personal information, including name, phone, email, or address, to a site in return for a torrent.
    • Almost all torrenting sites have some pop-ups and strange advertisements. Make sure that these are not so common that you can't actually read the page.
    • If you don't trust a site, for any reason, leave.
  4. Check the number of "seeders" on a certain torrent to determine it's safety.A seeder is another person who torrented the file and is letting others torrent from them. More seeders mean more people trust the file. It can also help to check the comments out at the bottom of the torrent to see if anyone got viruses.
    • There is no "perfect" amount of seeders to look for, but more than five is a good start.
  5. Download the game through a magnet link.Once you've found the link on a torrenting site you trust, click on "Download Magnet Link." This is the safest way to get torrents, as magnet links provide a slight buffer between you and the other person's computer. Click "Magnet Link" to open the file in your Torrent Client (like Utorrent).
    • This download will likely take a long time -- games are huge files and torrenting takes a while unless you have top-quality internet.
  6. Click on the ReadMe or Install .txt file in the downloaded game file to finish installing.There are going to be specific instructions to finish installing your game once you've downloaded it. The torrent is downloading the game, but not installing it, but it will come with instructions to play it. Sometimes you'll need to use a serial number generator that is attached in the game file. Sometimes you'll need to use a program called Power ISO, easily torrented, to trick your computer into believing it is playing a disc. This process changes from game to game, so you need to find the instructions given and follow them to play your game.
    • You'll almost always have to use a program called "Crack" to get into the game. Again, your installation file will tell you exactly how to use and find it.
    • If you cannot find this install file, right click on the torrent in your client and choose "Show in Folder." You'll see a folder labeled after your torrent containing the .txt file.
  7. Launch the game by double-clicking it on the desktop or by left-clicking a Quick Launch shortcut.
    • You may have to download updates the first time you start the game.
    • Allow your machine to reboot as often as it requires. It may be removing temporary files that are only needed during the installation process.

Checking your Computer's Specs

  1. Understand that not all PC's can play every game.Just like you cannot play an Xbox One game on an original Xbox, changes in hardware and software prevent older or cheaper computers from playing some games. All games will be labeled with both the "Minimum Specifications" needed to run the game and the "Recommended Specifications" for the most enjoyable, smooth performance.
    • If your computer is new, chances are good you can run all older games. The only possible exceptions are only top-tier, graphic intensive titles likeCrysis.
    • If your computer is already running several games, it can usually run the games from a similar era.
  2. Check your video card against the game's recommended cards.You can easily check the diagnostics of your video card through the start menu. Simply open the Start menu, click "Run," and type in the program "dxdiag," which will spit out a diagnostics report on your video capabilities. On the game's website, there will be a list of supported video cards as well. If DxDiag doesn't work, you can also check your card manually:
    • Open the "Control Panel."
    • Click "Displays" then "Change Display Settings in the leftmost bar.
    • Click on "Advanced Settings"
    • In the window that pops up, make sure you're on the "Adapter" tab. You should see the name of your video card. You may need to go into "Advanced Settings" to see your DirectX level.
  3. Check your processor and the amount of RAM you have.The processor and the number of gigabytes (GB) of RAM that you have determine your computer's speed. You can check both from the same screen:
    • Right-click on "Computer" or "My Computer" from any Window or screen.
    • Click on "Properties."
    • Scroll down to "System" to see your processor and available Installed Memory (RAM).
    • Check if your processor is accepted for the game you want to download.
  4. Check if you have enough hard drive space by clicking on your C-Drive.To check your hard drive, open up a Window's Explorer window. Find you main hard drive on the left-most bar and right-click it. Choose "Properties" to see how much space you have left.
    • You can use any hard drive to download a game. If you wanted, you could attach an external flash or hard drive you can download the game to that. However, you'll need it plugged in every time you play, and it may run slowly.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    What do I do if a game I downloaded says I have to burn it to a DVD-R disc, because it is an ISO file?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    You can either burn it to a DVD-R using your computer's software for doing this, or look into a program such as Alcohol 110%, which allows you to create virtual drives from ISO files.
  • Question
    What if I downloaded a game, but I don't have a program to open it with?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Most games you download are in compressed form or. rar format, so installing Winrar will allow you to open it, and as far as I know it can even extract ISO files, so this should be all you need.
  • Question
    Can I download Sleeping Dogs?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    As long as it has been published, then yes, you can download Sleeping Dogs.
Unanswered Questions
  • How do I download PC games?
  • I downloaded a game, but the instructions say that I have to "unrar" it and then "burn" or "mount" it, and then click "install". What does "unrar" and "burn/mount" mean?
  • The torrent I downloaded directed me to a website to complete a survey. But the link doesn't work. How do I extract these password protected WIN R.A.R. files?
  • How can I download the Wheelman pc game?
  • How can I download Fortnite to my computer? What do I do if a download on my computer is called risky? Does every downloaded game count as risky?
Ask a Question
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  • Windows Vista and Windows 7 often requires executable files to be run "as administrator."
  • Always check the game's specifications before downloading. If you paid money, you will likely not be able to get it back.


  • Downloading PC games and other files from unknown sources over the Internet can be dangerous. Make sure to use adequate anti-virus software.
  • To be extra safe, only download games from their official publisher websites.

Things You'll Need

  • Personal computer
  • Windows version XP, Vista, or 7
  • High-speed Internet connection

Related wikiHows

Sources and Citations

Article Info


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