Steam is a world-leading gaming platform with one of the most active and engaged communities on the internet. The widespread use of the platform has been of great benefit to gamers, yet it can also have some drawbacks.
Gathering so many users on a complex and frequently updated application greatly increases the odds of bugs occurring.
The majority of software bugs are nothing serious and it’s normal for computer users to experience them, even on the most successful platforms such as Steam.
However, when Steam doesn’t even launch on your PC, it’s considered a critical bug. Unfortunately, you might encounter this issue at some point if you use Steam for a long time.
This guide will help you successfully open Steam using a few reliable methods.
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Fix 1: Disable Steam Services Running In The Background
If Steam is already running in the background, and you’re trying to launch it again, you won’t be able to.
Occasionally, the app doesn’t close properly, and it continues running in the background while you think it’s completely closed. This means the issue of Steam not launching might ironically be caused by Steam already being open. Don’t worry, this is a very easy issue to fix!
The easiest way to check for this is by using your Task Manager. Here’s the entire process in four steps to make it as straightforward as possible:
- Press Ctrl+Alt+Delete at the same time, then click “Task Manager.” Alternatively, you can right-click your taskbar and select “Task Manager,” as shown in the image below.
- In the Task Manager, click “Processes” if it isn’t already open by default.
- Find Steam on the list of processes in the Task Manager. Right-click it and select “End Task.”
- Start Steam again by using any shortcut. It should now start properly.
If Steam isn’t on the list of running processes in your Task Manager, it probably hasn’t launched. If this is the case, the problem must have been caused by something else.
Fix 2: Check If Your Antivirus Blocks Steam From Running
Antivirus programs are important because they protect your system from malware and other unwanted intruders. However, they sometimes incorrectly flag legitimate apps including Steam as threats, preventing you from accessing them.
Virtual Private Networks, PC “boosting” software, and Firewalls can also be troublesome and might prevent Steam from launching.
The majority of Windows 10 users rely solely on Windows Defender, which is not known to cause any issues with Steam. However, if you use third-party antivirus software, it could be causing your issue.
In this official article from Steam, the support team provides a list of antivirus programs known to interfere with the experience of Steam users. The list includes McAfee, NOD32, Norton Firewall, and Kaspersky AV, some of the most popular antivirus programs available today.
Try temporarily disabling all of these protective programs and attempt to launch Steam again.
It is recommended that you do this on a freshly restarted PC, especially if you have already tried launching Steam multiple times.
Fix 3: Restart Your Computer
It isn’t clear why restarting a device can fix significant issues with it, but it remains one of the most reliable methods for solving problems with digital technology.
There might be an unresponsive service running in the background, which you can’t find, or a driver could have failed to launch correctly, preventing Steam from opening. Even if it doesn’t fix the issue, restarting your PC will at least help you eliminate these as possible causes.
Turning your PC off and on again could help you finally launch Steam successfully. If it doesn’t, you might need to completely re-install Steam.
Fix 4: Re-Install Steam On Your System
Although many users report that reinstalling Steam on their system helped solve the problem, there’s some preparation work you should complete before doing this.
You should first create a backup of your Steam games so you won’t have to re-download them after you reinstall Steam.
This guide will help you create a 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 for it launching but displaying the “Could not connect to Steam network” message.
If Steam starts but you see this message, it’s still an issue because you cannot play your games library. This guide has some working solutions you can try.
Fix 6: Try Running Steam As Administrator
This is another simple but effective fix that has helped many users in the past.
To run Steam as Administrator, follow the steps below:
- Find the shortcut you usually use to open Steam.
- Right-click it and select “Run as administrator” and confirm your choice.
- Steam should now open correctly if nothing else is preventing your access to the app.
As you cannot do this from your taskbar, you should make a shortcut on your Desktop or your Start Menu before attempting to open the app in Administrator mode.
Fix 7: Use Your Browser To Open Steam In Urgent Situations
This isn’t a true solution to the problem, but it can help you address any pressing matters while you try to restore your access to the application.
Opening Steam on your browser won’t let you play games. However, if you need to access Steam to initiate an important trade or change your password, you can perform these tasks through your browser.
Use this method in urgent situations.
These methods should help you start Steam properly. If you encounter this issue, don’t worry too much as it isn’t uncommon.
Reinstalling Steam usually completely fixes the problem. Before taking that drastic step, you should try some of the quicker and simpler solutions from this list.