What Is Steamworks Common Redistributables?

Stumbled upon Steamworks Common Redistributables and not sure what it is? Here's a short guide that explains what it is and if you need it.

Downloading an update for Steamworks Common Redistributables, or simply seeing it in your Steam library is enough to raise a few questions.

Not that anyone is concerned about the safety and integrity of these files, they come from Steam after all, but what are they, and do we need them on our PC?

This guide will help you understand what these files are and whether you need to keep them on your computer or not, so without further ado, let’s dive right into it.

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Steamworks Common Redistributables And Their Usecase

Every Steam user would agree that downloading, installing, and running a game through their client is easy as one-two, which is quite amazing, but why is that so?

Well, the average user doesn’t know this, and they shouldn’t, since their only interest is in playing the game and not what’s going on behind the scenes, but games required shared components to be installed on your machine before they can successfully start and run.

These shared components are also referred to as Common Redistributables, as stated in this official Steam article. This includes Microsoft Visual C++, .NET Framework, DirectX 9, OpenAL, XNA, and PhysX.

Common Redistributables page from Steamworks Documentation

If you are interested in the complete list of redistributables, you can view it here.

Steam uses so-called install scripts to install these redistributables on your system. This is where things become slightly more technical, and as a regular Steam user you don’t have to know all this, but if you’re curious, here’s the official Steam document explaining the install scripts.

Here’s how a Reddit user explained the Common Redistributables in a user-friendly way:

This is a collection of extra software libraries/drivers you need for a given game to run correctly. Every game installed used to download their own copy of every redistributable it needed, but a while back Valve moved to a single shared install folder for them. So you know only need one copy of each. There’s no charge for these as they’re included with your game purchase.

Steamworks Common Redistributables – Should I Keep Them Installed?

Now that you know more about the Common Redistributables package on Steam, the next question is whether you should delete these files or keep them on your PC.

In short, if you’re willing to risk your games not launching or running as intended, or having to manually install the required files, you can delete the Common Redistributables.

However, it’s not practical to do so and has a lot more cons than pros. There are almost no pros of doing that, besides maybe saving a few megabytes of space on your storage drive, which is almost non-existent given every average PC user has at least a terabyte of storage.

If you want to keep using Steam the way it is meant to be used, ensuring the user-friendly, problem-free installation of games and everything running buttery smooth, we strongly recommend keeping the Common Redistributables package installed on your system.

Hiding The Steamworks Common Redistributables Folder

Some Steam users are very serious about how their library looks like or what they have in it. Those who try to customize their entire account around one game (One-Stop-Shoppers) don’t want to see anything more than that specific game in their library.

With that said, having the Steamworks Common Redistributables Folder in your library can be annoying, but the good thing is, you can easily hide it.

To do this, follow the steps below:

  1. Open the Steam client on your PC. We always recommend running it as an Administrator.
    Run Steam as Administrator if Steam is pinned
  2. Log in to your account and wait until it fully loads.
  3. Open the Library section and search for the Steamworks Common Redistributables title on the list.
    opening Steam Library
  4. Right-click it and click Manage, then Hide This Game.

Now you’ll no longer see it in your library.

You can always undo this action easily by doing the following:

  1. Open the Steam client on your PC.
  2. Click View in the top part of the window.
  3. Click Hidden Games.
  4. Right-click the Steamworks Common Redistributables, choose Manage, and then Remove from Hidden.

Now you’ll see this in your Steam library once more.  

Conclusion

Installing a game on Steam should be fast and easy, and for this to be possible, Steam runs install scripts to unpack Common Redistributables files on your system whenever you download a game.

If you decide to uninstall these files, you risk causing your games to crash or even fail to launch in the first place for no real benefit.

It’s also important to note that even if you end up uninstalling the files, Steam will most likely reinstall them on your system once again the next time you try to launch a game that requires this package.

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Bojan Veselinovikj
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Bojan Veselinovikj

Bojan is a video-game developer and a tech enthusiast. Combining these two passions allow him to keep you informed on everything that's new in this fast-paced digital world.