How to make idling in TF2 convenient and quick.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Team Fortress 2 Idling Made Convenient

Read after the installation instructions to know more about this technique and why you won't ever get caught using it.


View this thread for the lastest download link.
  1. Download the .rar file containing all the files needed for the automated setup.  [link above]
  2. Extract the idle folder in your steam folder [or anywhere should work actually]
  3. Run "RunOnce.bat" and follow the simple instructions
  4. Run idle.bat to idle, play.bat to play!!!
Go to the bottom of this guide to find out how to add idle.bat and play.bat to your Steam "My Games" List
Also at the bottom of this guide are advices and a little section to create custom made icons to use in "My Games" list.

Help thread for this guide is located here

Only contact me through that forum [username DispenserGUM]
I will be only checking this blog for when I update it. Announcements that the blog is updated will be made on the forum thread.

Since Valve has banned the used of Drunkenf00l's Idle program, it has become an annoyance to have to resort to idling in TF2 the legitimate way. The legitimate way is to open up TF2, find an achievement_idle server, connect to it and leave TF2 minimized.

TF2 requires a lot of resources, yet you could run TF2 in low graphics settings with low resolution. Switching between low graphics mode to idle and high graphics mode to play is quite tiresome.

This guide aims at creating two simple shortcuts to start TF2 as an idler, and start TF2 as a game [to play normally].

Result of this guide

Want to Idle? Click on Idler
Want to Play? Click on Team Fortress 2
Got disconnected while sleeping? Don't worry, the script is taking care of it!

Nothing more to it. No other work to do in between.
*To see how I made the icons, see the bottom of this guide

Why use this technique?

  • You will never get disconnected for a stupid thing while you're gone all day. The script will constantly try to reconnect you to the same server. [Just be sure not to pick servers that go down for hours]
  • You'll be able to instantly launch TF2 in low-graphics mode [640x480,windowed,DirectX8, low quality for everything]
  • You'll be able to instantly launch TF2 in your NORMAL play mode [What your settings were before IDLING]
  • TF2 IDLE mode will have an independent Favorite Servers list. So you can add ALL the idle servers on your favorites list, and they will not appear when you launch TF2 normal mode.
  • Once you've suffered through the setup process. You'll have a permanent and convenient solution for IDLING.

Add idle.bat and play.bat to your Steam My Games list

  1. Click on "Games" in Steam and select "Add a non-steam game to My Games"
  2. Check 2 random programs in the list [anything, doesnt matter]
  3. Click on "Add Selected Programs"
  4. The 2 random programs will appear in your "installed" list.
  5. Right-Click on 1 program and select "Properties"
  6. Delete all the information in properties and enter your own.
IDLE Shortcut
Target: "D:\Steam\idle\idle.bat"
Start In: "D:\Steam\idle\"

PLAY Shortcut
Target: "D:\Steam\idle\play.bat"
Start In: "D:\Steam\idle\"

Be sure to write in your OWN steam folder location


  • The CMD window will remain open for the time that TF2 is running. That is because the batch script is constantly checking if you lost the connection to the server. Leave the CMD window open!!!
  • Wait until CMD window automatically closed before launching TF2 in a different mode. [only a few seconds] It needs to backup your server list.
  • To build your achievement_idle server list,simply remove every search filter [no VAC, no ping limit, no region] and only add the map name as filter.
  • Highlight all the server results, and add them to your favorites [only in IDLE mode do you do this].
  • When in IDLE mode, you can remove your PLAY servers from the favorites list. They will be restored every time you launch TF2 in PLAY mode.
  • When connecting to IDLE servers, you don't need to close the "Welcome to Team Fortress 2" message. You'll get just as many drops, but you'll need to die a few times in order for them to appear.
  • I suggest you die a couple of times in the idle server to clear your item drop list before going to play TF2 normally. I've had people calling me names when I joined a normal TF2 server and received my 10 drops from idling.

EXTRA - Making the icons

Steam can only take icons from existing Executables [*.exe]
1. Download "Resource Hacker" from here
2. Extract content in ~\steam\idle\icon [or whatever, really, not important]
3. Copy/paste ResHacker.exe twice and name them : icon1.exe icon2.exe
4. Open ResHacker.exe [You might get "Out of System Resources" error, click okay and just ignore it]
5. File / Open icon1.exe
6. Select "Icon Group" / "MAINICON" / "3081"
7. Right-click "3081"
8. Select "Replace Resource"
9. Select "Open file with new icon..."
10. Navigate to ~\Steam\steamapps\[username]\team fortress 2\tf\resource\
11. Select "game.ico"
12. Click "Replace"
13. File \ Save
14. Exit ResHacker.exe
15. In Steam "My Games", go in your new "Team Fortress 2" shortcut properties
16. select "Icon" and browse to icon1.exe

17. Repeat for icon2.exe for your IDLER icon. Chose another icon [I picked a clock icon I found in my windows\system32 folder]


  1. Note: You should run a dedicated server once before you do this.

    I'm having a slight problem, though. My idle.bat only opens TF2 and tries to connect to the server without my dedicated server running. I see a command prompt open and close, but it doesn't actually start the dedicated server unless I paste the portion of idle.bat that starts the dedicated server into a command prompt. Any ideas?

    Also, if anyone gets a "STEAM validation rejected" error, do this:

  2. please copy paste your idle.bat section here so I can take a look at it.

  3. regedit.exe /S C:\progra~2\Steam\idle\idle.reg
    start /MIN /LOW C:\progra~2\Steam\Steam.exe -applaunch 310 -console -game tf -hostport 27015 +maxplayers 2 +map achievement_idle
    PING -n 1
    start /MIN /LOW C:\progra~2\Steam\Steam.exe -applaunch 440 -novid -nosound +exec idle.cfg +connect +password **mypassword**


  4. I have a router and I just got an item using this method.

  5. Has anyone else been able to get this to work with vista 64bit ?

    i followed the guide and i ran The idle.bat , it created the server successfuly and opened tf2 but when it goes to connect it says "connection failed after 4 retries"

    When i try to do it manually via connect in console it closes tf2 and says "couldn't allocate ip port"

    Can anyone help me? I have my firewall down and the ports are forwarded to my internal address.

  6. when I launch my idle.bat through the games tab

    it tells me "Cannot run game. You have another game launch in progress, please wait until that is complete."

    and then i click ok and it launches the dedicated server but not TF2

  7. Ben, i found a way to get past that If you are interested.

    Just re-open the bat file in notepad, and in between the ping and opening of Tf2 put in PAUSE, it should look something like this:

    PING -n 1
    start /MIN...

    Once you add that pause, save it. You can then run the idle.bat and wait for the server to get done connecting, then press any key and it will launch TF2

  8. bah, now i get STEAM Validation Rejection

    did we ever figure out why that was popping up on some?

  9. I have updated the guide since a dedicated TF2 server behind a router will not work to get item drops [from personal testing].

    I have changed things around so there you don't setup a TF2 server anymore. You'll have to change idle.bat to connect to a public IDLE server.

    The only nuisance will be that your chosen IDLE server might be full the moment you try to connect. If you build a solid list of IDLE servers, it will be only a few seconds to find another one from within the in-game browser [after you got the error that the server is full]

    So, since most of you have trouble with the TF2 server part, I won't bother answering with fixes, as this will no longer be an issue.

    Sorry if I have made you guys setup the TF2 server. We ALL wasted a lot of time on this.

    At least, you're a few steps away from having perfect shortcuts working [and maybe a little bit of server finding]

    I will repost the original guide once I found a way to get drops from a private TF2 server behind a router. [with corrections to address the problems mentioned in the comments]

  10. I forgot to specify.

    Those of you who used the original guide. Here's how to quickly modify your settings to fit the new guide.

    Edit idle.bat

    remove this part :

    start /MIN /LOW D:\Steam\Steam.exe -applaunch 310 -console -game tf -hostport 27015 +maxplayers 2 +map achievement_idle

    Replace this part :
    +connect +password typeapasswordhere

    With this part :

    +connect publicIdleServerIp:Port

    sorry about having to find a public idle server :(

    Search filter for maps : achivement_idle
    All regions
    No ping limit
    Server Not Full

  11. Is there a way to make it connect to a different idle server if the one you chose is full? I don't know how it would work, but maybe something like this?:

    +connect idleserver1:port; on fail +connect idleserver2:port; on fail +connect idleserver3:port

    and it just keeps going. I made that up and I have no idea how you'd do that, but there might be some way. Maybe we could also collect a list of several idle servers.

  12. I'm considering researching into making a script that you could paste in idle.cfg that would do just that.

    I don't know if it's possible, but I'll research it.

  13. I gave up on making a script that connects to another server when the first one is full.

    What I'm going to do is that TF2 IDLE mode will have a DIFFERENT Server Favorites list than the TF2 NORMAL mode.

    Hence you'll have a clean list of idle servers in your favorite for when you launch IDLE, and your REAL favorites for when you launch PLAY.

    I'll work on it tomorrow or something. Shouldn't be too hard.

  14. This sounds awesome, I'm looking forward to it!

    Also, I think you can remove this from play.bat, right?:
    taskkill /F /IM srcds.exe

  15. Sorry I haven't updated yet with the favorites list backup trick.

    Busy weekend since here in Canada it is a 3 days weekend. Been busy being a family guy ;-)

    I promise I will write the update on Tuesday [during the afternoon]

  16. There's a problem with the favorites list trick I was planning to do.
    I was counting on a trick that makes batch execute a last command AFTER closing the .exe file being called.

    However, the batch files calls for steam.exe and not HL2.exe. So it never actually waits for us to close HL2.exe before executing the last command.

    Gonna have to check how to do this in visual basics

  17. I have posted a quick "guide" about how to have 2 separate server favorites list automatically generated by the shortcuts.

    I won't be update this guide yet, as I'm planning to totally remake the batch files into one single batch file that is easily edited for each user.

  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

  19. hello, I am a Brazilian player of tf2. can i translate this article and
    publish it on the site of my clan? I will make appropriate referrals to the author
    with the original link. tks in advance

  20. You have my authorization, Chesterman.
    Be sure to come back in a week or two.

    I will be updating the guide to include another feature which will be reconnecting to an idle server if you get disconnected while you're gone.

  21. hey, i think i've found a "bug".

    the last line before 'exit' wouldn't be something like this:

    copy %steamfolder%\config\serverbrowser.vdf %steamfolder%\idle\%vdf%

    instead of:

    copy %steamfolder%\config\serverbrowser.vdf d:\steam\idle\%vdf%


  22. yes you are right, thanks for bringing this to my attention.

    I also corrected %launch%

    start %steamfolder%\Steam.exe -applaunch 440 %launchoptions%

    should be

    start %steamfolder%\Steam.exe -applaunch 440 %launch%

  23. will the owner of the blog please contact me at .

  24. ahhhh its dispenser gum . Contact me at

  25. not sure if you still support this,m however when i run in play mode, the servers i deleted from my idle mode browser have not come back in play mode, not a big deal, but still, just thought i would say.

    thanks for this program, saves a lot of effort! :)