Fix: Steam Won’t Open

Do you have issues launching or opening Steam? We've got 7 fixes for that issue right here in this super easy guide that fixes the Steam won't open issue.

Steam is a world-leading gaming platform, with one of the most active and engaged communities on the internet. But, the wide usage of the app is both a blessing and a curse.

By gathering so many people on a rather complex and often-changing app, the chances for new bugs “appearing” increase by a lot.

There’s nothing wrong with software bugs, and it’s quite normal for computer users to experience them even on some of the most successful platforms, such as Steam.

However, when Steam doesn’t even launch on your PC, that’s considered a critical bug. Unfortunately, this app may sometimes behave like this.

This guide will help you open Steam successfully through a few working methods.

Fix 1: Disable Steam Services Running In The Background

If Steam is already running in the background, and you’re trying to open a second instance of it, you won’t be able to.

It sometimes happens that the app doesn’t close properly, so you think that it is not running in the background when in fact, it is. The Steam not launching issue may be caused precisely by this.

The easiest way to check if this is the issue is by opening using your Task Manager. Here’s the entire process simplified in four steps to make it easier for you:

  1. Press Ctrl+Alt+Delete at the same time on your keyboard, then click “Task Manager.” You can also right-click your taskbar and select “Task Manager” just like the image below suggests.
  2. In the Task Manager, click on “Processes” if it’s not already open by default.
  3. Find Steam on the list of processes in the Task Manager. Right-click it and select “End Task.”
  4. Now start Steam again by using any shortcut. It should start properly.

If you can’t find Steam on the list of running tasks in your Task Manager, it probably isn’t already up running. So, the problem may be caused by something else.

Fix 2: Check If Your Antivirus Blocks Steam From Running

Antivirus programs are good because they protect your system from malware and other unwanted files. However, they sometimes get “confused” and “mark” legitimate apps like Steam as a threat, so you end up with a blocked access and a headache.

Virtual Private Networks, PC “boosting” software, and Firewalls, may be troublesome and cause the Steam not working problem too.

Most Windows 10 users don’t rely on anything more than Windows Defender, which isn’t known to cause any issues with Steam. But, if you use third-party antivirus software, that might be causing the problem.

In this official article from Steam, the support team posted a list of antivirus programs known for interfering with the experience of Steam users. The list includes McAfee, NOD32, Norton Firewall, and Kaspersky AV, easily some of the most popular computer-security programs out there.

So, try disabling all of these protective programs for a second and throw an attempt at launching Steam once more.

It is recommended you do this on a freshly restarted PC, especially if you tried launching Steam multiple times beforehand and had no luck.

Fix 3: Restart Your Computer

Nobody knows why restarting a device sometimes fixes an unknown issue with it, but it’s undeniable that this is one of the most well-known methods for solving problems with electronics.

Maybe there’s a non-responsive service running in the background, and you can’t find it, or a driver failed to launch correctly, and it’s preventing Steam from opening. Restarting your PC should at least help you remove this possibility from the list of problems.

Turning your PC off and on again may indeed help you finally launch Steam successfully, but If it doesn’t, it’s probably a wise idea to re-install Steam completely.

Fix 4: Re-Install Steam On Your System

Although many users reported reinstalling Steam on their system helped solve the problem, there’s something you need to keep in mind before doing this.

You should create a backup of your Steam games so that you won’t have to re-download them once you reinstall Steam.

This guide will help you create a proper backup and re-install Steam on your PC.  

Fix 5: Check If Steam Servers Are Down At The Moment

Some users mistake Steam not starting up with Steam starting but showing the “Could not connect to Steam network” message.

If Steam starts but you get this message, it’s still a bad thing because you cannot play your games either way. However, this guide has working solutions you can try.  

Fix 6: Attempt Running Steam As Administrator

Another easy fix that helped many users in the past. It’s simple but effective.

To run Steam as Administrator, follow the steps below:

  1. Locate the shortcut you usually use to open Steam.
  2. Right-click on it and select “Run As Administrator.”
  3. Steam should now open correctly if nothing else is blocking your access to the app.

Since you cannot do this from your taskbar, you should try making a shortcut on your Desktop or your Start Bar, then attempt loading the app in Administrator mode.

Fix 7: Use Your Browser To Open Steam In Urgent Situations

This is not a solution for the problem, but it can be a real lifesaver, so just remember it as it might help you in the future.

Although opening Steam on your browser won’t allow you to play games, if you need to get inside the app to initiate an important trade or change your password, you can do it through the browser as well.

Use this method in urgent situations.  


These methods should help you start Steam properly, and if you run into an issue, you shouldn’t worry too much as this is not uncommon at all.

Usually, reinstalling Steam fixes the problem altogether, but you can try some of the quicker and simpler solutions from this list before attempting that one.  

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Bojan Veselinovikj

Bojan is a video-game developer and a tech enthusiast. Combining these two passions allow him to keep you informed on everything that's new in this fast-paced digital world.