This article was co-authored by Luigi Oppido and by wikiHow staff writer, Travis Boylls. Luigi Oppido is the Owner and Operator of Pleasure Point Computers in Santa Cruz, California. Luigi has over 25 years of experience in general computer repair, data recovery, virus removal, and upgrades. He is also the host of the Computer Man Show! broadcasted on KSQD covering central California for over two years.
The wikiHow Tech Team also followed the article's instructions and verified that they work.
This article has been viewed 802,179 times.
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, click here.
Things You Should Know
- Download a game directly from the game manufacturer's website. Be sure to check your computer's specs to confirm compatibility with the game.
- Download games from Steam. Steam is the largest distributor of PC games.
- Try torrenting a game if neither of the above methods work.
Downloading Directly From a Webpage
1Enter the word "Download" and the game you want to download in the search bar of a web browser, like Google. The first 2-3 hits that show up will be for sites that offer direct purchases. This is where you buy the game and download it. Commonly you will be directed to the manufacturer, Amazon.com, 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 may not be available for download on the internet.
- Do not download a game if you're not sure where the program is coming from, as the file could contain a virus.
Computer & Tech Specialist Expert Interview. 1 April 2020.
2Compare the required and recommended specifications. The recommended specifications are the minimum PC requirements your computer needs to be able to play the game smoothly. The minimum and recommended specifications will be listed on the information page for any game you want to download. Look up the games recommended specs and check your computer's specs to make sure your computer can run 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 Control Panel.
3Click the link to purchase the game. This may be a button that says "Purchase", "Buy Now", Add to cart or something similar. This will open a form you will need to fill out to purchase the game.
- If the website has a cart, click the shopping cart icon in the upper-right corner and then select the option to go to checkout or complete your purchase.
4Select a payment method and fill out the form to complete the transaction. You will most likely need a credit or debit card to complete your purchase. Use the form to enter your credit or debit card information and fill out any other information it asks form. Then select the option to complete your purchase to finalize the transaction.
5Click the option to download the game. This may be a button that says Download or something similar. This will download an install file to your computer.
6Open the Install file. The install file will most likely be a ",exe" file with the name of the game in the file name. You can open downloaded files from within your web browser, or your "Downloads" folder on your computer.
- 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. You can also find files you've downloaded in your "Downloads" folder in File Explorer.
- 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.
7Follow the manufacturer's instructions to download the game. During the install process, you will likely need to select an install location on your computer, as well as agree to the terms of service and/or license agreement. Read the prompts and follow the instructions to finish the installation.
- Some games have serial codes that must be input into the installed game to play. They are usually provided on purchase or in a confirmation email. X Research source
8Open the game. Once a game is finished installing, click the game's icon on your desktop or Windows Start menu to open the game.
Torrenting PC Games
1Understand 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. Your online actions can be tracked by your internet service provider. Furthermore, downloading games through torrents is an easy way to infect your computer with viruses and malware that can damage your computer. Download software through torrents at your own risk.
- If you've never torrented before, familiarize yourself with the process and risks before moving on.
- You still need to check your computer's specifications to make sure your computer can handle the game once downloaded.
- In order to protect your privacy while torrenting, it is recommended you use a VPN. This can help shield your online activity from your internet service provider.
- Make sure you have reputable antivirus software before downloading torrents.
2Download 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. These include uTorrent and qBittorrent. You can find these clients through a Google search.
- You may need to temporarily disable your antivirus software before you can install a torrent client.
3Search for a torrent site. Because of the legality of torrent file-sharing, many torrent sites don't stay active for too long. The URLs for torrent sites can change frequently. Use Google to search "Torrent sites". This will most likely produce a variety of websites that list current torrent sites.
- Warning: Many torrent sites have sexually explicit advertisements and links that contain malware. Search torrent sites at your own risk. Never give personal information, including name, phone, email, or address, to a site in return for a torrent. If you don't trust a site, for any reason, leave. X Research source
- The most popular torrent site is The Pirate Bay.
4Search the site for torrents of the game you want. Use the search function for the torrent site to search for the title of the game you want to download. This will display available torrents for that game.
5View the torrent information. Most torrents listed on a torrent site contain a detailed explanation of what the torrent file downloads. Check to make sure the file contains everything you need. If the game you want to download is not legal, the file will need to contain a method for installing the software. This may be a serial number, a unique installer, a CD key generator, or a ReadMe file with special instructions on how to install the game.
- If the torrent file allows comments, read the comments to make sure the file is a quality file that works.
6Check the number of "seeders". A seeder is another person who torrented the file and is letting others torrent from them. More seeders mean the file will download a lot quicker. It also means that more people trust the file. X Research source
- There is no "perfect" amount of seeders to look for, but more than five is a good start.
7Download the torrent file. Once you've found the link on a torrenting site you trust, click on the link that says "Get this torrent", "Download this torrent" or something similar.
- Torrent files do not contain the game. They contain information about the file that has the game. A torrent client uses torrent files to download files from another user's computer.
- Be careful. Many torrent sites have false download links that lead to external websites that contain malware and viruses, or pornographic material.
8Open the torrent file in your torrent client. By default, downloaded files can be found in your "Downloads" folder. Open your torrent client and drag and drop the torrent file into the client to start downloading it. The time it takes to download may take a while, depending on the number of seeds available, your connection speed, and the connection speed of those you are downloading the file from.
9Scan the downloaded files for viruses. Downloading software through torrents is an easy way to get viruses. In order to protect yourself, make sure you scan everything you download with a trusted antivirus program.
11Click on the ReadMe or Install file. There are most likely going to be specific instructions to finish installing your game once you've downloaded it. Open the ReadMe or other downloaded ".txt" file to read the instruction. 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 to trick your computer into believing it is playing a disc. Power ISO can be downloaded through torrents. The install process is different 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.
12Launch the game. You can do so by double-clicking it on the desktop or by clicking it in the Windows Start menu.
1Go to https://store.steampowered.com/ in a web browser. This is the website for Steam. Steam is the largest distributor of PC games. You can sign up for a Steam account and download the Steam client from the website.
2Sign up for a Steam account. If you don't already have a Steam account, use the following steps to sign up for a free Steam account.
- Click Login in the upper-right corner.
- Click Join Steam.
- Enter your email address in the top two lines.
- Click the checkbox next to "I am not a robot"
- Scroll down and click the checkbox next to "I agree AND am 13 years of age or older".
- Click Continue.
- Check your email
- Open the verification email and click Create My Account.
- Enter your desired Steam username in the first line on the Steam website.
- Enter and confirm your desired password in the next two lines.
- Click "Complete Sign Up'
3Install the Steam client. The Steam client allows you to purchase and download games on your PC as well as launch games. Use the following steps to download the Steam client:
- Click Install Steam in the upper-right corner of the Steam website.
- Click Install Steam
- Open the "SteamSetup.exe" file in your web browser or Downloads folder.
- Click Yes.
- Click Next.
- Select your language and click Next.
- Click Browse and select an install location (optional).
- Click Install.
4Open the Steam client. The Steam client has a blue icon that resembles a rotary piston. Click the icon on your desktop or Windows Start menu to open Steam.
5Log in to the Steam. Enter the username and password you used to create your Steam account. Then click Login.
6Add a payment method to your account (optional). Many games on Steam are free-to-play. You can download and play these games without any charge. However, many games do require you to purchase them in order to play them. To be able to purchase games, use the following steps to add a payment method to your account:
- Click your account name in the upper-right corner.
- Click Account details.
- Click Add a payment method to this account.
- Fill out the form with your credit card information, name, address and phone number.
- Click Continue.
7Click . It's the first option at the top of the Steam Client in the upper-left corner.
8Enter the name a game in the search bar and press ↵ Enter. This searches Steam for the game you want to download.
- Alternatively, you can browse games on the front page of Steam, or use the "Games" drop-down menu at the top to browse games by genre.
9Click the game you want to download. This displays the information page about the game.
10Scroll down and check the system requirements. The system requirements are the minimum specs your computer needs to be able to play a game. Scroll down and check the system requirements and make sure your computer has the minimum specs needed to play the game.
11Click or . It's the green button below the installation page. If the game is free to play, the button says Play Now. If the game has a purchase price, click Add to cart. Then click Purchase for myself and follow the instructions to confirm your purchase.
12Select an install location and click and then . By default, games you download from Steam will be downloaded to the Steam folder. Click Next to continue. This downloads and installs the game. When the game is finished installing, click Finish.
13Open the game. When the game is finished installing, you can click the game icon on the your desktop or Windows Start menu to open the game. Alternatively, you can find Steam games you have purchased and downloaded under "Library" in the Steam client. Click a game in your library to view the information page. Then scroll down and click Play game to open the game
Checking your Computer's Specs
1Understand 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 like Crysis.
- If your computer is already running several games, it can usually run the games from a similar era.
2Check your video card against the game's recommended cards. Use the following steps to check your computer's video card and video drivers:
- Click the Windows Start
- Type "Run" and press Enter.
- Type in the program "dxdiag" and press "Enter". This will give you a diagnostics report on your video capabilities.
3Check your processor and the amount of RAM you have. The processor determines how much data your computer can process per second. The number of gigabytes (GB) of RAM that you have determines your how much information your computer can store at once. You can check both from the same screen:
- Click the Windows Start menu.
- Click the Settings/Gear icon.
- Click System.
- Click About at the bottom of the panel on the left.
- Check your computer specs below "Device Specifications".
4Check if you have enough hard drive space. Use the following steps to check if you have enough hard drive space:
- Press Win+E to open File Explorer.
- Right-click your "C": drive (or another internal hard drive) in the panel to the left.
- Click Properties.
- Check the amount of space available next to "Free space".
QuestionDo you have any safety tips for downloading a torrent?Luigi OppidoLuigi Oppido is the Owner and Operator of Pleasure Point Computers in Santa Cruz, California. Luigi has over 25 years of experience in general computer repair, data recovery, virus removal, and upgrades. He is also the host of the Computer Man Show! broadcasted on KSQD covering central California for over two years.
Computer & Tech SpecialistComputer & Tech SpecialistExpert AnswerThe best way would be to get your torrent from a trusted source, like a website you trust or a person you actually know. However, since that's not always possible, make sure you have a solid antivirus and antispyware program so you can scan the file as soon as it's finished downloading.
QuestionWhat 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?Community AnswerYou 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.
QuestionThe 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?Community AnswerThe torrent you have downloaded is fake, and is trying to steal your personal information. Try downloading a different file.
- ↑ Luigi Oppido. Computer & Tech Specialist. Expert Interview. 1 April 2020.
- ↑ http://www.howtogeek.com/175502/3-ways-to-make-steam-even-faster/
- ↑ http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/truth-popcorn-time-torrent-safely/
- ↑ http://www.ghacks.net/2010/06/05/what-is-a-magnet-link-and-how-does-it-differ-from-torrents/
- ↑ Luigi Oppido. Computer & Tech Specialist. Expert Interview. 1 April 2020.
About This Article
1. Go to https://store.steampowered.com/ and sign up for a new account.
2. Click Install Steam in the upper-right corner and then click Install Steam.
3. Open "SteamSetup.exe" and follow the instructions to install Steam.
4. Open Steam and sign in.
5. Click your username in the upper-right corner and click Account Details.
6. Add a payment method.
7. Click Store.
8. Use the search bar or "Game" menu to browse for games.
9. Click a game you want to download.
10. Scroll down and check the recommended PC specifications.
11. Click Play Now or Add to cart.
12. Click Purchase for myself.
13. Click Next.
14. Click Finish.
15. Open the game when it is finished downloading.