File Extension Search

.gcf File Extension

Developer: Valve
File type: Game Cache File
You're here because you have a file that has a file extension ending in .gcf. Files with the file extension .gcf can only be launched by certain applications. It's possible that .gcf files are data files rather than documents or media, which means they're not meant to be viewed at all.

what is a .gcf file?

A game cache file integrated with encoding specifications and compression standards developed for the GCF format are used for the online distribution of different Steam game versions. These Steam game versions are video games developed by Valve, which also created the GCF format. These GCF files are affixed with the .gcf extension and contain data like checksums and fragments of files associated to a particular Steam game version or update. Metadata details associated to a specific Steam game installer or update is also entered by Valve developers as part of a GCF file's content. The Valve distribution service hosts these GCF files in their Web servers, which means quick and easy download and update access for Steam users. As the name of the GCF file format suggests, "GCF" stands for Game Cache File", though originally, "GCF" stood for "Grid Cache File". Valve Steam games and updates have, as of this writing, versions for Mac platforms. Users of computers running on Microsoft Windows-based systems can on the other hand play these Valve Steam games by downloading and installing these GCF files.

how to open a .gcf file?

Launch a .gcf file, or any other file on your PC, by double-clicking it. If your file associations are set up correctly, the application that's meant to open your .gcf file will open it. It's possible you may need to download or purchase the correct application. It's also possible that you have the correct application on your PC, but .gcf files aren't yet associated with it. In this case, when you try to open a .gcf file, you can tell Windows which application is the correct one for that file. From then on, opening a  .gcf file will open the correct application. Click here to fix .gcf file association errors

applications that open a .gcf file

Valve Steam

Valve Steam

Valve Steam is a platform for digital distribution, digital rights management, communications and multi-player. It is a product created by Valve Corporation that is designed to distribute games and other related media for online use. This software is integrated with an automatic management and install management of software across numerous computers. It also has features for socialization like the groups and friends lists, as well as cloud saving. The in-game voice and chat capabilities are added features of Steam also. Like other programs created by Valve, Steam has programming interface that is easy to use and manipulate. There is also Steamworks which is helpful in integrating different functions of Steam within their own products, which include networking, copy protection, matchmaking, micro-transaction and in-game achievements. Steam is compatible with Microsoft Windows PCs as well as Mac OS X computers and iOS devices. This product also works for some Linux operating systems.


GCFExplorer, as its name suggests, is an application that lets you open GCF files and examine their components. It is a free software. It can extract any GCF file or directory. It can explore encrypted GCF files using the appropriate decryption key. It can validate any GCF directory or file. It can preview [shell execute] any GCF file. It can defrag GCF files. It can fix GCF headers. Its interface is configurable. It supports drag and drop. It can detail and save logs. It provides detailed information about a GCF file or directory. It performs searches for GCFfiles. GCF [Game Cache File] are files used by Valve’s Steam game application that contains a virtual file with metadata, file fragments, checksums and other game data. It stores game updates and downloaded games from the distribution service of Valve. GCF was originally short for Grid Cache File. It is not intended for editing or alteration by user.


GCFScape is an application that can open and extract GCF files used by Steam for storage of its game contents.GCFScape is required to open files with VPK format. When GCFScape is installed, you have to associate GCF files with GCFScape for them to be opened right away. The files will have icons when this step is done. Other supported formats by GCFScape are NCF, Half-Life BSP, PAK, WAD, VPK and XZP. GCFScape can validate all or part of GCF files. GCFScape can perform the following functions: File Mapping [by default], Quick File Mapping, Verbose Logging, Volatile Access and Write Access.

a word of warning

Be careful not to rename the extension on .gcf files, or any other files. This will not change the file type. Only special conversion software can change a file from one file type to another.

what is a file extension?

A file extension is the set of three or four characters at the end of a filename; in this case, .gcf. File extensions tell you what type of file it is, and tell Windows what programs can open it. Windows often associates a default program to each file extension, so that when you double-click the file, the program launches automatically. When that program is no longer on your PC, you can sometimes get an error when you try to open the associated file.

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