Have you seen Steamworks Common Redistributables appear in your Steam library, and wondered what it was?
Gaming on the Windows platform isn’t the same as playing on another platform. When you play using Windows, various files will download in order for the game to work well.
Steamworks is a file/tool suite, free to use, which game developers can use to make software or games on the Steam platform. Steamworks will optimize the settings in the game to run on various Windows computers.
The Steamworks Common Redistributables files include the following, which are bundled up together and then sent to your PC:
- DirectX Redistributable
- Visual C++ (2010, 2013, 2015)
- .NET Framework
Developers used to have to include the above files as part of a game and create another script so users could install it. What this meant though was each time a game installed, the script reinstalled those files, even if all the games needed to use the same file.
So let’s say if three different games all needed DirectX to run, each game would install the same file on your PC via their own installers, so you would end up with many duplicate files.
Steam decided to make the process easier, which is how Steamworks Common Redistributables came into being. You can see how it saves both storage space and bandwidth.
When you download game from Steam now using a specific file or tool version, it will download and then install, but on to a different folder on your PC.
Games you get after won’t download or install that file again, but will use the already-installed version on your computer, thereby saving download size, CPU usage, time and disk space.
Every Steam app can choose to use Steamworks Common Redistributables if they want. It will only be installed the first time you download a game using it.
The scripts for Steamworks Common Redistributables are designed and maintained by Valve, who own Steam. They are sent as OTA updates whenever new patches are available. There are common redistributables for both 32-bit on 64-bit and 64-bit PCs.
Should I Delete Steamworks Common Redistributables?
The short answer is no.
Without Steamworks Common Redistributables your games would crash when you tried to launch them.
Steamworks Common Redistributables do save you time and space when downloading games.
When you get a new game, it will check during installation whether the required redistributable files are already on your computer and find the ones it must use to get the game to work.
If those files have been removed, you will likely experience problems launching or playing the game.
In fact, even after deleting the common redistributable files, Steam will probably download them whenever you get a new game because you need them in order to play.
These files are optimized and updated often, so you don’t have to be concerned with updating them manually or taking up too much disk space.
Also read: How to Fix Steam Content File Locked Error
Can I Hide Steamworks Common Redistributables?
It can be annoying to keep seeing this folder. It used to be a hidden folder, but after one update Steam decided to make it visible instead.
There is a way to hide this folder so you don’t have to see it in your Steam library. Follow these steps if you want to hide the folder:
- Open the Library tab
- Right click Steamworks Common Redistributables
- Click Manage
- Click Hide this game
- The folder is now hidden
If you want to find it again later, simply go to Library then open the Hidden folder.
Remember the Steamworks Common Redistributables folder is there to save time and space, so there is no need to delete it.
If it bothers you though, it is easy enough to hide.