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 an amazing world-leading gaming platform with one of the most active and engaged communities on the internet. The widespread usage of the app is highly beneficial, yet it can have some drawbacks.

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

Rest assured, 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. And unfortunately, Steam 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.

Occasionally, the app doesn’t close properly, so you may think it’s not running in the background when it is in actuality. Therefore, the issue of Steam not launching may be caused precisely by this. But don’t worry, we can help you check if that’s the case!

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 Steam isn’t on the list of running tasks in your Task Manager, it most likely isn’t up and running. So in this instance, the problem must 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 blocked access and a headache.

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

Most Windows 10 users rely solely on Windows Defender, and it’s not known to cause any issues with Steam. However, if you use third-party antivirus software, it could certainly be causing your issue.

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 attempt launching Steam once more.

It is recommended you do this on a freshly restarted PC, especially if you tried launching Steam multiple times beforehand without any 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, which is 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 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 bad because you cannot play your games either way. However, this guide has working solutions you can try.  

Fix 6: Attempt Running Steam As Administrator

This is another easy fix that has 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 remember it as it might help you in the future.

Opening Steam on your browser won’t allow you to play games. But, if you need to get inside the app to initiate an important trade or change your password, fortunately, 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, of course, 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.