How to idle with multiple accounts in Team Fortress 2
May 26, 2012
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As of July 10, 2013, the methods described in this post are no longer operational. Please do not use this guide for idling.
Last time, discussions focussed around getting a single account to idle properly in Team Fortress 2. That said, for individuals who’ve got access to a few more accounts and are interested in maximising their item drops from all of these accounts from a single machine, there is a means to go about doing so. This method assumes that one has a reasonable machine: for instance, my old school XPS machine can run idle seven accounts simultaneously while I’m playing Crysis. Generally speaking, a machine with around 3 GB of RAM and a Q6600 Core 2 Quad should handle this without any issues. One must also have at least two premium Team Fortress 2 accounts and a copy of Sandboxie. The trial version of Sandboxie will allow one sandbox at any given time, allowing a maximum of two accounts to be idled at the same time.
- When all is said and done, you should have something that looks like this; the full version of Sandboxie will require a fee to download, and as such, I will do this tutorial assuming people are interested in the trial (i.e. free) version of Sandboxie.
The first step is to download and install Sandboxie. Ensure that Steam is not running during the installation. Once this is complete, delete the default sandbox and create a new one. Rename it as necessary. Once this is done, right click it, and select the sandbox settings from the drop-down menu. Go into Restrictions, and find Drop rights: from there, ensure that Drop rights from Administrators and Power User groups is unchecked. Next, under the Resource Access root, go into File Access, and then Full Access. From here, add the directory that Steam is located under. This is the most important step, as it tells you where steam.exe is located.
- This is what Sandboxie looks like. Delete the default sandbox by clearing out its contents, and then removing it. When you right-click on it, a drop down menu appears. Choose Sandbox settings and you will end up with a pop-up window like the one below.
- All the guides say to disable drop rights, so that’s what needs to be done to make this thing work. For the next step, people often say to make an additional copy of your Steam directory, such that it won’t overwrite any game files. If you choose not to do that, login informations may conflict, causing problems. To overcome this, ensure that you are logged out of all of their accounts before running Steam. Log in to your accounts one after another (that is, log in from either Sandboxie or Steam first, then upon successful login, log in to your other account).
- Once the directory is added, you are more or less done, and you should be able to produce similar results to those shown in the first image.
Once this is done, right-click on the sandbox and choose Run Sandboxed, and subsequently, Run Windows Explorer. From here, navigate to the directory where Steam is located, and log in to the alternate account. Apply the idling settings and run TF2 as per usual. There is one caveat to this method: when idling, it appears that starting the idlers one after another (waiting for one to connect before the other) is more efficient than starting them concurrently because of port mapping issues. Once everything is working, it is possible to even trade items between accounts. Simply add your other accounts as friends and then trade as you would do normally.