Rainbow Six Siege: Using Steam Free Weekend Game Files on Uplay

Image credit: Ubisoft AU

Perhaps, like me, you decided to try out Rainbow Six Siege on Steam during a free weekend.

Perhaps you found that you liked the game.

Perhaps at the end of the Free Weekend you purchased the game outside of Steam, using your new key to activate the game on Uplay.

Perhaps Uplay asked you to re-download ~35GB of game files, refusing to use your existing game files from Steam (error validating files).

Perhaps you think that that’s silly, and would like a way to not have to download everything again.

You’re in luck.

Quick disclaimer: I can’t guarantee that this will work for you, but it worked for me. If you’re reading this in the far future then this method may also become outdated and no longer work.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  1. Start the Rainbow Six Siege download on Uplay. Pause the download a minute in, after the file structure has been created. Navigate to the game’s location on Uplay and check that the files are indeed there (see step 3), then cancel the download. (You probably only need to get the directory itself made here, but better safe than sorry if you can wait the full minute)
  2. Quit Uplay.
  3. Copy the Siege game files from Steam into the folder where Uplay installs the game. For example, my Uplay installation puts the game’s files in this location:You need to put Steam’s copy of the game files in the “actual” game location, not where Uplay’s download-in-progress is going on – these are two different locations, with the download-in-progress being located within the game’s “normal” location.
  4. Delete the STATE file in the Uplay game directory (1KB file)
  5. Delete the Uplay download-in-progress folder, which is located in the Siege folder. The name should be fairly straightforward, but I don’t have a screenshot since I’ve already previously deleted the folder.
  6. Start Uplay, and tell it to once again download Siege.
  7. If everything’s working properly, it should start “Discovering files”. This may take a few minutes to get through, but it’ll still be a lot faster than downloading everything from scratch.
  8. After it finishes discovering files, you’ll have to download a small amount of files. In my case, the download was around 150MB.
  9. You’ll now have a working copy of the game on Uplay! Hopefully this helps a few of you who were in a similar situation to me.


  • According to the comments, this process can also work for other Uplay games (including The Division and Far Cry 5), so it might be valid for all Ubisoft games that use the same kind of install process.
  • Renown and unlocks (including Operators) are saved, at least when I went from Free Weekend to Standard.
  • Loadouts are reset: you retain access to anything which you’ve already unlocked but will have to re-equip them (scopes, alternative weapons etc).
  • Situation progress is reset: You’ll keep any Renown / XP gained and will not gain any duplicate rewards for completing previously-completed mission objectives, but you’ll be back at Situation #1 with no displayed stars. Again: you do not gain Renown bonuses for completing any objectives which you already previously completed – the rewards are as if you had your previous progress saved.
  • If you’re trying to go from Uplay Free Weekend to Steam Full Copy, apparently that’s much easier to do. According to my research: you basically repeat the above process but swap Uplay and Steam around. Steam doesn’t need a separate download directory and STATE files, so you can ignore those steps. Steam should automagically discover the files without any special help on your end.
  • Dog has noted in the comments that you could also try this alternative method.

48 Replies to “Rainbow Six Siege: Using Steam Free Weekend Game Files on Uplay”

    1. Huh, I’d never considered that this might work for other games. Glad it helped! I’ll make a note in the article that it helped you with The Division – thanks for letting me know 😀

  1. still works as of wind bastion. thanks my dude. if anyone is struggling to make this work make sure the path is empty before clicking the install button on uplay

    1. It is still working as of operations Phantom sight. Thnx mate. U should make a tutorial YouTube vid. U have rights no one else should make it 😂

      1. Glad to hear it’s still working!

        I’d probably need to uninstall my own copy of Siege (and reinstall it using the method here) to make a proper YouTube video, but hey that’s not a bad idea. Maybe next free weekend I’ll see if I can do that.

  2. What do you mean by copying the files to the actual game location? Meaning that i have to copy the steam rainbow6 files inside the ubisoft’s rainbow6 folder?

    1. When the files are downloading on Uplay, they’re in a different location (just a subfolder, from memory) to where the game files end up after all the downloads have finished and the game is playable. You want to put the Steam files in the latter location (where the game files would be in a normal, working installation of the game), not in the download-in-progress location (I have no idea what happens if you put them in the download-in-progress location).

    1. If you take a look at the screenshot in the article with the default Siege/Uplay file path (which for me is C:\Program Files (x86)\Ubisoft\Ubisoft Game Launcher\games\Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege), I believe it’ll be a subfolder within that folder – or the equivalent path if you have Uplay installed somewhere else. That subfolder is the “download-in-progress”, not the “actual game”.

  3. does it work the other way around? :/ Where I already have the uplay version installed, and I do have another uplay account which has the Steam version. And I dont want to re download the whole game on Steam :/

    anyone care to help?

    1. This is already covered at the very bottom of the article (the last bullet point). Basically just do the same thing here except you swap Uplay and Steam, and you don’t have to worry about STATE files or the separate download location (Steam just downloads directly to the game’s folder). Just copy the Uplay files to the correct Steam directory and if you’ve put it in the right place it should discover the files there once you tell it to start downloading.

  4. Still works for Rainbow Six: Siege: Operation The Phantom Pain, used it for my smurf account using my main account’s files after reinstalling Windows but retaining my original files and needing to redownload way too much of a patch to justify the full process.

  5. Found out a workaround , set the installation directory in the steam file where Rainbow six siege is already installed . takes a while to discover it then eventually detects it . no need to shift files around 😀

    1. I tried this initially myself (before using the steps outlined in this post) and didn’t have success, but certainly worth a shot before doing them since it’s so easy!

  6. its nor working 3/13/2020 when i follow the steps… i relaunch uplay when i press download…it starts to locate a folder to download the game..! any help?

    1. If you’re 100% sure you got the steps right then I suppose it’s possible it’s not working anymore 🙁 – beyond re-checking that you did it right I don’t have anything else to suggest unfortunately.

  7. Rather than the Siege game files, I took a friend’s Steam backup of the game rather than his actual game files… Will this still work? Thanks!

    1. It’s hard to know for sure without trying, but if you first restore the backup via Steam (to unpack the file) then it might. Probably worth a shot?

    1. That’s an interesting alternative. It looks like it’s more geared for someone who owns it on both platforms, but it sounds like it would work for Steam free weekend -> Uplay full game as well (although it’d be great if people trying this can confirm if it works for them). I’ll add it into the post, thanks for sharing it!

  8. i followed the steps deleted both uplay_install.state and a 8gp folder called uplay_download the uplay start by “allocating space” then download the whole 75 GP is there any thing i can do?

    1. It’s working for other people so maybe you made a mistake on step 3? I don’t know why else there would be an issue unless it’s changed literally in the past few days.

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