What to Do When Steam Won’t Open

What to Do When Steam Won’t Open

/ Shayne Sherman

Sometimes Steam servers are incredibly congested and prevent you from accessing your Steam content, but in most cases, when Steam won’t open, the problem is related to your computer.

According to widespread reports, quite a few popular programs have malfunctioned when running under earlier versions of Windows 10, including Steam.

However, it is not always the fault of Windows. Other programs and Steam file corruption can interfere with your Steam experience. Although it can be very frustrating when you can’t open Steam, you don’t have to feel helpless. If you have trouble opening Steam, read on to discover 17 methods to fix steam issues in Windows 10.

First: Perform a System Backup Before You Fix Steam

To ensure you don’t lose any files or data when performing any computer repair, it is always a good idea to create a system backup. The following steps will help you do that if you don’t already know how.

Step #1

Press the [X] and the [Windows] keys together. Choose “Settings.”

settings in quick link

Step #2

In the window that appears, click “Update & Security.’ Then select “Backup” from the left panel.

backup in update and security

Step #3

Connect an external drive such as a USB drive to your computer. Click “Add a Drive” and then choose the drive you attached.

add a drive on backup

Backing up your computer usually takes a while, but Windows will create the backup on the drive for you.

Methods to Fix Steam not Opening on Your Computer

Fix 1: Restart Steam

Sometimes the Steam Client is running in the background, preventing it from launching again. If you stop the running Steam client processes and then try to restart it, Steam opens.

Step #1

Right-click on the taskbar and select “Task Manager” from the menu that opens.

task manager in taskbar

Step #2

Select the “Processes” tab. Find the Steam processes that are listed. Click on a Steam client process and click on “End task.” If you don’t find any Steam processes, continue to the following method.

steam on processes tab

Step #3

Repeat step #2 until all the Steam processes are closed. Then try restarting Steam.

Fix 2: Use the Advanced Repair Tool (Restoro) to Fix Steam

Restoro is a robust program designed to automatically find and repair issues on your PC that might be causing Steam not to function correctly. If the Steam client doesn’t open, we highly recommend scanning your PC with Restoro.

Follow the steps below to download and install Restoro on your PC.

Please note that you may need to temporarily deactivate your antivirus to keep it from interfering with utility programs like Restoro.


Download and Install the Advanced Repair tool (Restoro) for free.



Accept the license terms by checking the “I Accept the EULA and Privacy Policy” to continue.

restoro scanning


You can view the details of the scan by expanding the “Details” tab.

restoro scan


To set an action, expand the “Recommendation” tab to either choose “clean” or “ignore.”


Click on “Clean Now” at the bottom of the page to begin the repair process.

If nothing happens and Steam won’t open, continue to the following method.

Fix 3: Restart Your Computer

Restarting your computer is always the quickest and easiest way to fix Steam, not opening issues.

Step #1

Open the Start menu and click on the Power icon. Then, click “Restart.”

restart the computer

That is all there is to it. Once the computer has rebooted, try to restart Steam again. If it doesn’t open, continue to the following method.

Remove Unnecessary External Devices

External devices you don’t need, such as extra USB drives, more than one mouse, printers, hard drives, additional keyboards, monitors, etc., often interfere with the Steam Client. It is best to unplug as many other devices as possible before attempting to open it.

Fix 4: Update Windows

Another fast way to resolve the issue is to make sure your Windows 10 operating system is updated. A faulty update may even cause the problem in some cases, but a more recent update resolves the issue. To update Windows 10, follow these steps.

Step #1

Click on the “Settings” icon in the Start Menu.

settings icon in start menu

Step #2

In the Settings window, choose “Updates & Security.”

updates and security icon in windows settings

Step #3

Choose “Windows Update” from the list that appears on the right. On the left, click the button that says “Check for updates.” You can find it under “Update status.”

check for updates in windows update

Step #4

If updates are installed, you must restart your computer before they go into effect. To do this, click on the Start menu “Power” icon and select “Restart.”

restart the computer

Continue if you are still not connected.

Fix 5: Restart the Router

Sometimes a simple restart is needed to fix Steam not opening.

Step #1

Shut down your computer. Then shut off your router.

Step #2

Unplug your router and wait two minutes before plugging it back into the power outlet. Wait another two minutes. Turn the router on again.

Step #3

Once your router is completely on, turn on your computer.

Fix 6: Test Your RAM

The RAM can develop memory problems that interfere with Steam, especially during installation. RAM problems also cause gameplay issues. The following method allows you to check your RAM.

Step #1

Close any open programs and save your work. Type “mdsched” into the Start menu and select “Windows Memory Diagnostic from the list.

windows memory diagnostic in start menu

Step #2

In the pop-up window that appears, choose “Restart now and check for problems.”

restart now and check problems

Step #3

Your computer will run a memory check and restart. The review can take a while, but it is essential not to interrupt it. When the computer finishes the examination and is completely rebooted, type “event” into the Start menu and select “Event Viewer.”

event viewer in start menu

Step #4

On the left side of the window that opens, open the “Windows Logs” menu and click on “System” once.

system in windows logs

Step #5

Now, you need to click “System” again, but this time use a right-click, which will bring up another menu. Choose “Filter current log.” You would be unable to select this option if you did not left-click “System” first.

filter current log

Step #6

In the Filter Log window, click on the drop-down menu next to “Event sources.” Scroll down (the menu is quite long) until you find “MemoryDiagnostics-Results.” Place a checkmark in the box next to that and click “OK.”

memorydiagnostic-results checked

Step #7

This will return you to the Event Viewer, where you should have about two “Events” listed in the filtered log. Click each event and look at the information provided. If no errors are detected, go on to the next method. You do not have issues with your RAM hardware. If you see an error, you need to continue to Step #8.

events filtered log

Step #8

If you have a problem with your RAM, the only way to fix it is to replace your RAM sticks. You can test each one, if you prefer, by shutting down your computer and removing all the sticks except the one you are testing. Then you can reboot your computer and rerun steps #1-7.

Repeat this with all the sticks. Replace any that had errors with factory-recommended RAM sticks. When you have replaced all the faulty RAM sticks, check to see if the System and Compressed Memory has returned to normal CPU usage.

Fix 7: Repair Steam

Steam client’s installer has a built-in repair feature that can automatically fix Steam. You need to make sure you backup your game file before using this method.

Step #1

First, back up your game files before you attempt to fix Steam. To do this, you must open the steam directory folder where Steam is installed. By default, you should be able to find it by typing “File Explorer” into the Start menu and opening it.

Then choose “This PC” on the left menu. Select “Windows C:” on the right. Type “steamapps” into the search bar.

Now, right-click on the “steamapps” folder and “Copy” it to your Documents file.

copy steamapps folder

Step #2

Right-click on the “steamapps” folder again and choose “Open file location.”

steamapps open folder location

Step #3

Visit the Steam website and download the latest Steam installer. Run the Steam installer after it finishes downloading. It should give you the option to repair the files when you run them. Select that option and follow any onscreen prompts.

Try to launch Steam once the repair is complete. If Steam doesn’t open, continue to the following method. If you can open the Steam client but cannot access your saved game data, simply copy the “steamapps” folder in “My Documents” back into the Steam folder and replace the file of the same name there.

Fix 8: Reinstall Steam

Like the previous method, you must back up your game files before performing this method. When you reinstall Steam, some of the data from your online games may be lost even with a backup. You should, however, still be able to access them through your Steam account.

Step #1

Completely exit the Steam client and make sure none of its processes are running in the background by right-clicking on the taskbar and choosing “Task Manager.”

task manager in taskbar

Step #2

As in the other methods, click on the “Processes” tab. Click on a Steam Client process, and then click “End task.” If no Steam Client processes are running, continue to Step #3. If more than one Steam Client process is running, continue clicking each process and then “End task” until all the Steam Client processes are closed.

steam on processes tab

Step #3

As with the previous method, backup your game file by finding the Steam folder on your computer. Type “Steam” into the Start menu. Open the file folder named Steam.exe by right-clicking on it and choosing “Open file location.”

steamapps open folder location

Step #4

In the Steam folder, find the file named “steamapps.” Copy this file to the “My Documents” folder by right-clicking on it and selecting “Copy.”

copy steamapps folder

Step #5

Now, open the Start menu and type in “Control Panel” without the quotations.

control panel in start menu

Step #6

Click “Uninstall a Program.”

uninstall program

Step #7

Find Steam on the list and click it. Then click Uninstall/Change and confirm you wish to uninstall Steam. When Steam has finished uninstalling, restart your computer.

uninstall steam

Step #8

Go to the Steam website and download the latest Steam installer to reinstall Steam. Open the Steam client installer on your computer, and follow the onscreen prompts. To access your saved game data once you have reinstalled Steam, copy the “steamapps” folder in “My Documents” back into the Steam folder (replacing the folder of the same name) once Steam is fully installed.

If the Steam files became corrupt so that the repair could not fix them, reinstalling Steam should have fixed the error. If it didn’t, continue to the following method.

Fix 9: Update Your Date and Time Settings

Steam collects real-time data from your computer. This process involves your date and time settings, and if these are off, it can prevent Steam from launching.

Follow these steps to make sure your date and time settings are synchronized.

Step #1

Type “Control Panel” into the Start menu without quotation marks. Click on the Control Panel option at the top of the list.

control panel in start menu

Step #2

Select “Clock and Region” from the Control Panel window that appears.

clock and region from the control panel

Step #3

Next, choose “Date and Time.”

date and time in clock and region

Step #4

Select the tab that says “Internet Time in the pop-up window.” Then click “Change settings…”

change settings button in internet time

Step #5

Now, make sure the box next to “Synchronize with an Internet time server” has a checkmark in it. Then click “Update now.” When the update is finished, click “OK.”

check synchronize internet time server

Now, click on Steam and see if it will open. Hopefully, this resolved the issue. If Steam still fails to open, continue to the next method.

Fix 10: Check Your Hard Drive for Errors

Any storage device can become corrupt, especially after long-term or heavy use. Checking your drive for errors (and having it automatically repaired) can fix these issues that may prevent Steam from opening.

Step #1

Open the Start menu and click the File Explorer icon. Alternately, you could type “File Explorer” into the Start menu and click that on the list that appears.

file explorer icon

Step #2

Scroll down to “This PC” and click it on the left side. Now, right-click on the drive you want to fix.

drive to fix

Step #3

Select “Properties” from the drop-down menu.

properties of the drive

Step #4

Select “Tools” from the tabs at the top of the pop-up. Then click the “Check” button. Choose to “Scan drive” if the Error check app says it hasn’t found any errors.

check the drive

Step #5

When the scan is complete, close the window and see if you can open Steam.

Fix 11: Uninstall a Third-Party Antivirus

Sometimes third-party antivirus programs interfere with Steam because online games use copyright protection features that trick antivirus programs into thinking it is malicious software. If you suspect a third-party antivirus is causing computer problems, you should first check to ensure Windows Defender (Microsoft’s built-in antivirus) is deactivated.

Running two antivirus programs (such as Windows Defender and a third-party antivirus) simultaneously can cause many problems because the two can interfere with each other. To find out how to deactivate Windows Defender, click here.

Step #1

With Windows Defender disabled, check to see if you can access the webpage. If you can’t, you need to uninstall your antivirus software. Press the [X] and [Windows] keys on your keyboard together. Click on “Settings.”

settings in quick link

Step #2

Choose “Apps” in the Settings window. Scroll until you find your antivirus program in the “Apps & Features” submenu. Click on it, and then click the “Uninstall” button.

uninstall antivirus in apps and features

Step #3

Click on the Start menu Power icon and restart your computer.

restart the computer

Step #4

If Steam still fails to open, reinstall your antivirus and move on to the next method. If Steam does open, you can try reinstalling the third-party antivirus if a Windows update corrupted it.

If the problem reappears after you reinstall the antivirus, you will need to uninstall it and find another third-party antivirus or turn on Windows Defender and use that. You should never use the Internet without antivirus protection active on your computer, even if you are gaming on a website you trust.

Fix 12: Check if Your Internet Provider Is Interfering With Steam

Although this is generally not a problem unless you have recently changed Internet providers, it is one thing that is simple to check if you have access to a second network from a different provider. If the plan or provider you are using saves bandwidth by compressing data, it can cause severe problems with Steam’s operation.

The only way to test if this is the cause of Steam not opening is to open Steam when you connect on a different network with another provider. If your Internet service provider is the reason Steam will not open, the only thing you can do to resolve the issue is to change providers.

Fix 13: Update Drivers

So far, we have covered many of the quicker methods to ensure that Steam opens correctly. However, if none of them have worked, this method should help. Sometimes if Steam won’t open, it’s caused by outdated drivers on your computer.

Step #1

Access the device manager by pressing the [X] key and the [Windows] key together. This opens the Quick Link menu where you need to choose “Device Manager.”

device manager

Step #2

Click the first type of device to expand it. Now, right-click on the name of the first device listed and click “Properties.”

device properties

Step #3

In the driver tab, choose “Update Driver.”

update driver button

Step #4

When you click Update Driver, you will see an option to have the computer automatically search for driver software. Choose this option. Alternately, you can make a note of the driver version you currently have and check on the manufacturer’s website for the latest version.

If you do not have the latest version, you can download it and install it manually from the manufacturer’s website.

search automatically for drivers

Step #5

The computer should perform an automatic search. If your driver is up-to-date, you will see a message stating you already have the best driver installed for that device. Otherwise, the computer should automatically update the driver.

Close the pop-up window once the search (and update if needed) is finished. Return to the device manager window (and Step #2) and follow the instructions for the next device until you have checked for driver updates on all the types of devices and device drivers that are listed.

best drivers are already installed

Step #6

Once you have checked for updates for every driver on the list, restart your computer.

restart the computer

Again, try to launch Steam to see if it will open. If nothing happens and Steam doesn’t open on your computer, continue to the following method.

Fix 14: Disable Compatibility Mode if Steam wont open

Steam is designed to run on the latest version of Windows (Windows 10), and Steam does have a compatibility mode for users who have an older version of Windows. Sometimes Windows 10 is proactive and automatically sets Compatibility Mode when various game errors occur.

In general, Steam will warn you that it is not recommended to run the program in Compatibility Mode if this is the problem.

Compatibility Mode is not recommended on your Windows 10 computer because this can interfere with the way Steam runs. The second part of this method requires you to edit your registry since Windows 10 frequently hides that it has made this permanent adjustment.

Please note that you need to make sure you have performed a registry backup before you continue with this method. If you do not know how to backup your registry or are not an advanced user, you should not continue past step #6. Only advanced users should attempt editing their registries.

Step #1

To begin, you must exit Steam and any open Steam games and stop any Steam processes running. To prevent the processes, right-click on the taskbar, and select “Task Manager.”

task manager in taskbar

Step #2

Now click on the “Processes” tab. Click on a Steam process, and then click “End task.” If you don’t find any Steam processes, continue to Step #3. If you find more than one Steam process, continue clicking each process and then “End task” until all the Steam processes are closed.

steam on processes tab

Step #3

Type “Steam” into your File Explorer and right-click on “Steam.exe.” Select “Properties.”

steam properties

Step #4

Open the tab that says “Compatibility.” Make sure nothing has a checkmark next to it. Then click “Apply.”

nothing checked items on compatibility tab

Step #5

Now, click “Change settings for all users.” Again, make sure nothing has a checkmark next to it. Click “Apply” and “OK.”

change settings for all users

Step #6

Click “OK” again to close the properties window.

ok button

Step #7

At this point, you should check to see if Steam will launch. Only continue if Steam does not launch, and you still see the Compatibility Mode warning. To continue, press the [R] key and the [Windows] key together on your keyboard to access the Run box.

Type in “regedit” without quotation marks and hit  [Enter]. If you see a warning about the app making changes to the registry, click “Yes” to continue.

regedit in run box

Step #8

Open the following drop-down lists on the left side of the Registry Editor window. First, click “HKEY_CURRENT_USER” and then “Software.”

HKEY_CURRENT_USER then Software in register editor window

Step #9

Continuing, click “Microsoft.”

click microsoft folder

Step #10

Now, choose “Windows NT” then “CurrentVersion” then “AppCompatFlags” and finally “Layers.”

layers folder in registry editor window

Step #11

After you open layers, the right side of the window should display a list of registry entries. You need to find “Steam.exe” and right-click on it, and choose the option to “Delete” the entry.

Please note that you may find other Steam entries or entries for individual Steam games. If you delete these other entries, it could cause problems with the games associated the next time you attempt to launch it.

steam.exe delete

Step #12

In the same AppCompatFlag folder on the left, click on “Compatibility” and then “Persisted.” Again, look for a “Steam.exe” file to delete. If you find one, right-click on it and delete it.

persisted folder in registry editor

Step #13

At this point, you need to scroll back to the top of the left menu and close the “HKEY_CURRENT_USER” folder. Instead, open “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.”

hkey_local_machine folder in registry editor

Step #14

In this folder, open the following in order: “SOFTWARE” then “Microsoft” then “Windows NT” then “CurrentVersion” then “AppCompatFlags” and finally “Layers.” If you do not see this exact folder, simply continue to the next step.

If you find the folder and see a Steam.exe file, delete the Steam.exe file as in the previous steps.

Step #15

Now close the registry and try to open Steam.

This method also works if Steam will open, but you have trouble opening Steam games. Merely find the game in the Steam folder on your computer; right-click on the game, select properties, and follow steps #4—#6 above.

Fix 15: Disable Overclocking

Overclocking is when you set your computer to run above the settings that the manufacturer recommends. Although the boost gives you more performance power, it can cause excessive file and memory corruption issues, and it also can cause your computer to run at higher temperatures.

If Steam won’t open and you adjusted your computer to overclock, you need to undo those settings. The UEFI/BIOS is different for each processor, so these steps are general.

Step #1

Type “Settings” into the Start menu, and select the Settings option.

settings on start menu

Step #2

In the Settings window, choose “Updates & Security.”

updates and security icon in windows settings

Step #3

Now, click “Recovery” on the left and then choose “Restart now,” which is found under “Advanced startup” on the right.

restart now button in advanced startup

Step #4

You should see the “Choose an Option” menu. Click on “Troubleshoot.” Then, choose “Advanced Options” and finally click UEFI Firmware Settings.

uefi firmware settings in advanced options

Step #5

The computer should restart and take you into the UEFI (or BIOS) menu. At this point, you need to look for something that says “Reset settings to default” or “Return to default” or something similar. Choose that option.

Step #6

Save your changes, and exit the BIOS.

Fix 16: Do a Clean Boot

If third-party apps interfere with Steam, restarting the computer without these running should fix the issue. When you do a clean boot, it reboots the computer with only the necessary Microsoft apps running. Any software that changes the system, disk or network activity can interfere with Steam.

These programs and services run in the background, such as ad-blockers, web-optimizers, system cleaners, proxies, performance boosters, among other things.

Step #1

Log as an administrator. Once logged in, press the [R] key and the [Windows] key together. Type “msconfig” in it without quotation marks, and click “OK.”

msconfig on run box

Step #2

In the System Configuration window, click the “Services” tab. Ensure that “Hide all Microsoft services” has a checkmark next to it. Click the button to “Disable all.”

disable all in services tab

Step #3

Now, click the “Startup” tab in the System Configuration window. Then click “Open Task Manager.”

open task manager

Step #4

When the Task Manager opens, click the “Startup” tab if it isn’t already open. Select each item you find there and click the button to “Disable” it if it isn’t already disabled. When you are finished, close the Task Manager.

disable button startup tab

Step #5

You should be back in the System Configuration window that is still open. Click the “Apply” button and then “OK.”

apply then ok

Step #6

Now you need to restart your computer. Click on the Power icon found on the Start menu and choose “Restart.”

restart the computer

Step #7

Once the computer restarts, attempt to reaccess Steam.

Fix 17: System Restore

If you manually created a system restore point before Steam stopped launching, you can restore your system to that point. Although some of your information might be lost, this method allows you to fix the issue by reverting to a system restore point before the Steam Client started having problems. You can find out how to turn the System Restore feature on and create a restore point here.

Step #1

As mentioned in previous steps, press the [X] and [Windows] keys simultaneously. Choose “Settings” from the menu that appears.

settings in quick link

Step #2

Now, select “Update & Security.” In the Update & Security window, click on “Recovery” on the left. You should see “Advanced Startup” on the right. Click the “Restart now” button found underneath that.

restart now button in advanced startup

Step #3

You will see the “Choose an Option” menu when Windows restarts. Select “Troubleshoot.”

troubleshoot in choose an options

Step #4

Pick “Advanced Options.”

advanced options in troubleshoot

Step #5

Select “System Restore.”

system restore in advanced options

Step #6

The computer will allow you to pick a restore point, and then it will return your computer to that point in time.

See Also: How To Enable System Restore In Windows 10

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Steam won’t open?

If you launched Steam and nothing is happening, your connection may be running slow or unstable. On the other hand, it can also be due to corrupted installation files, an outdated version of the software, and down its servers.

What to do if Steam won’t open?

The easiest way to fix Steam that won’t open is to restart your computer. This way, all of its resources would be reloaded and can eliminate any errors that may have occurred. You can also run the client as an administrator or open it in compatibility mode.

Why won’t my Steam game open?

Steam games that won’t launch are mainly due to corrupted game files or missing files, which hinders Steam from opening your game completely. You can fix this by verifying the integrity of your game files on the client.

Why won’t Steam open on my Mac?

The primary reason Steam is not opening on Mac devices is a corrupted application file. You can fix this by reinstalling the client on your Mac computer.

Why won’t Steam launch?

Steam won’t launch on your computer if its installation files are corrupted. It is also possible that your network is running slow, and it can’t connect to Steam servers.

Why is my Steam not launching?

Ensure that your computer’s components run the most recent versions of their respective drivers. When a game cannot launch, in most cases, this results from the corruption of the extracted game files.

How do I force Steam to open?

The first thing you should do is see if the game client service is down. This should help you figure out if it’s a short-term problem with the service. To find out, go to the steamstat.us website and look at the information for your area. If there’s no reported outage in your area, then we suggest you perform any of the methods we have outlined in this article.

When I click play on Steam nothing happens?

Numerous consumers complained that when their Steam game launches, nothing happens. You should momentarily disable your antivirus program because it can prevent the app from working. To resolve this issue, you should always ensure that Steam is running with administrator rights.

How do I fix Steam not responding?

We suggest running Steam as an administrator, and you can give it a shot. Also, sometimes all you have to do to get Steam to work again is restart the Steam client or your computer. For Steam to connect to its servers, you should also ensure that your internet connection is steady.

Why can’t I open Steam or any Steam games?

There may be a faulty download cache in your Steam client, preventing your games from launching. Most of the time, this happens when a Steam update is interrupted, which stops games from starting. The only solution to this problem is to delete all of the game cache files on Steam.

How do I repair Steam?

Some of the game files in your system may be missing or corrupt. As a result, Steam would not launch your game. The wrong setting of your library files may potentially result in a buggy Steam overlay. We advise deleting some Steam files. Steam will reinstall itself on your machine when you update its files.

Please be aware that any delay during the copy procedure will corrupt the files, forcing you to download the whole thing. If you are confident that there won’t be any disruptions to your computer, only use this option.


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If none of the above methods were able to resolve your steam won’t open issue, the problem is most likely because of an error in the Steam program itself. Although Steam is prompt at fixing known errors, you should contact Steam support with the list of things you have done to resolve the issue.

Shayne Sherman
Meet the author

Shayne is an expert at all things Microsoft Windows and computer security. As a Windows user of over 30 years, he has been featured on Business Insider, Yahoo, Tech Republic, Hacker Noon, Techopedia, and many other publications. He also enjoys spending time with his family, including his English bulldog, Fergie as well as entertaining at his home theater.