How to Fix Steam Error Failed to Start Game (app already running)

How to Fix Steam Error Failed to Start Game (app already running)

/ Sed Galope

Anyone who has used Steam to play their favorite game may be familiar with the Steam error message “Failed to Start Game (app already running).” Although this error message is one of the most common issues that Steam users encounter, the fix does not work for everyone.

Getting the Steam error message “Failed to Start Game (app already running)” might be frustrating to some, especially if you know that you have closed your previous game properly. What is more surprising is that in some cases, this error message may still even come up after rebooting your computer.

To help you fix the Steam error message “Failed to Start Game (app already running),” we have compiled the top 4 methods to fix this issue.

First Method – Restart Steam

The most basic and easiest troubleshooting method, restarting Steam, has proven time and time again that the Steam client needs a little refreshing to fix the Steam error message “Failed to Start Game (app already running).” To ensure that Steam has been closed, we recommend closing Steam through the Task Manager.

  1. Bring up the Task Manager by pressing the “ctrl + shift + Esc” keys. Look for the Steam client in the Task Manager window and click “end task.”
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  1. After clicking the “End Task,” wait for at least a minute for the whole process of the client to shut down.
  2. Relaunch Steam or the game displaying the problem and confirm if the issue has been fixed.

Second Method – Exit the Third Party Launcher in the System Tray

Some games have a launcher that exists alongside the Steam client. If you are playing a game that launches an intro menu before you get to the main menu, it is most likely a game launcher. Most of the time, the launcher will minimize to the system tray once you enter the game. Follow these steps for you to close the game launcher.

  1. Click on the arrow pointing up beside your system clock in the bottom right corner of your screen and look for a game launcher.
  2. Depending on the launcher, right-click on it and click “quit” or “exit.”  
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Third Method – Reinstall the Problematic Game

If the first method does not fix the problem, move on by reinstalling the problematic game. By reinstalling the game, you will be removing the old copy of the game and downloading and installing its latest copy. This may take time to complete depending on how fast your internet is.

  1. Open up the Steam client on your computer and click on “Library,” right-click on the game, click “manage,” and click “Uninstall.”
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  1. Click on “Uninstall” on the following prompt to confirm the removal of the game.
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  1. After removing the game, select the game once again and click “Install,” and click “next.” Wait for the game to complete downloading and installing, and launch the game to confirm if the problem has been fixed.
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Fourth Method – Reinstall the Steam Client

If the above steps cannot fix the problem for some weird reason, you can go ahead and follow the next steps to reinstall the Steam client on your computer completely.

  1. Open the “Uninstall or change a program” window by pressing the “Windows” and “R” keys to bring up the run line command. Type in “appwiz.cpl” and press “enter.”
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  1. In the “Uninstall or change a program,” look for the Steam client in the program list and click “uninstall,” and click “uninstall” once again to confirm.
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  1. After successfully uninstalling Steam from your computer, download the latest installer by clicking here.
  2. Once the download is complete, double-click the executable file of Steam and follow the installation wizard.
  3. Sign in to Steam, download and install the problematic game and launch the game to confirm if the problem is fixed.

One of the mentioned solutions should be able to fix the Steam Error “Failed to Start Game (app already running).” Just follow the steps as they are, and you will surely start your gaming journey.

Sed Galope
Meet the author

Sedfrey is an experienced writer and editor. He's also a PC hardware and gaming enthusiast. In his spare time, he enjoys reading about the latest innovations in the PC market and finding fixes to hardware and software errors.