Learn why Steam won’t open for you and fix it
- Learn why Steam won’t open for you and fix it
- Fixes to Steam Won’t Open problem (Windows 7, 8, 10)
- Method 1. Restart Steam Client
- Method 2. Restart computer
- Method 3. Unplug external devices
- Method 4. Check for Windows updates
- Method 5. Update Date & Time Settings
- Method 6. Restart Your Router
- Method 7. Run Automatic Error – Fixing tools
- Method 8. Perform Clean Boot of Windows
- Method 9. Uninstall third-party apps that prevent Steam from opening
- Method 10. Update drivers to fix Steam won’t open on Windows
- Method 11. Recover using System Restore
- Method 12. Test RAM to fix Steam won’t open
- Method 13. Repair or Reinstall Steam
- Method 14. Disable Overclocking
- Method 15. Try connecting to a different network
- Method 16. Turn off Compatibility Mode (Windows 7)
Steam won’t open on your Windows computer? The same problem bothers many players worldwide. The reasons are different, but typically overloaded servers and computer errors are the main causes. We’ve got you covered – follow our tips to start Steam and start gaming again.
Many users complain that Steam won’t open when they click the icon in the taskbar. The problem occurs on Windows 7, 8, and 10 computers without an exception. Some people report that the program boots in Big Picture Mode and logs them in, however, a blank screen appears afterward.
Let’s dive straight into the list of methods to launch Steam successfully in 2019.
Fixes to Steam Won’t Open problem (Windows 7, 8, 10)
Method 1. Restart Steam Client
Steam might be running some of its processes in the background, which prevents you from opening it. To launch the program without bugs, we need to prepare a clean start for it. Therefore, end the active processes and open Steam using these steps:
- Open Task Manager either by clicking Ctrl+Alt+Delete > Task Manager, or by right-clicking Windows icon in the taskbar and selecting Task Manager from there.
- Go to Processes tab, and search for Steam-related processes. Click each of them and select End Task. Repeat until you end all of them are ended.
- Try clicking on Steam’s shortcut to run it again.
Method 2. Restart computer
Restarting the computer often fixes many problems. To be precise, you need to reboot it, not log off/log in your account.
- Click on Windows icon, then click the Power icon and choose Restart.
- Wait until the system reboots. Then to open Steam again.
Method 3. Unplug external devices
In case you have recently connected some external devices while gaming, we suggest removing them one by one and checking if the issue with Steam persists. It could be a new keyboard, headphones, speakers or some other gadgets.
Method 4. Check for Windows updates
You may have seen “update and restart” option in the previous method, so if that’s the case, choose this option. Otherwise, you might need to check for Windows updates manually. To do so, follow the given steps.
- Click on Windows icon, then select the Gear icon which represents Settings.
- Go to Update & Security. Here, click Check for Updates.
- Updates will start installing automatically; you must restart your computer afterwards. Simply click on Windows icon > Power button > Restart.
Method 5. Update Date & Time Settings
Suprisingly, wrong Date & Time settings can cause a lot of problems on your computer, including Steam won’t open Windows 10. It is so because the gaming client collects some date and time data as you play. Therefore, the right Date and Time settings is a must. To ensure that time settings are ok, follow the given steps.
- Launch Run prompt (press Windows key + R on your keyboard at once), and type Control Panel in it. Press OK or hit Enter.
- In Settings, go to Clock & Region.
- Click on Date & Time, then go to Internet Time tab. Here, choose Change settings…
- Put a tick on Synchronize with an Internet time server (if it’s not already checked), then click Update Now and OK.
Method 6. Restart Your Router
Restarting router is one of the simplest ways to fix Steam that won’t open.
- To begin, shut down your computer.
- Go to your router and shut it down. Once all the lights go off, sit back and wait 2 or 3 minutes.
Now, turn the router on and wait another 2 or 3 minutes until all the lights will be back on.
- Turn on your PC and test open Steam.
Method 7. Run Automatic Error – Fixing tools
You can check your hard drive for errors as well as scan the system for corrupted files and fix these problems using two simple Command Prompt commands. These methods are used for many PC-related issues. Of course, they can come in handy when dealing with a Steam that won’t open for you.
- Type cmd in Windows search. Right-click Command Prompt result and choose Run as Administrator.
- When the User Account Control window appears, click Yes. Now you will have CMD with elevated privileges on your screen.
- First of all, type sfc /scannow and hit Enter. Sit back and patiently wait until the process is over.
- Now, type chkdsk /f /r and hit Enter. Then type Y and press Enter again.
- Restart your computer. The disk check from Step 4 will be performed now.
- Check whether Steam won’t open on Windows again.
Method 8. Perform Clean Boot of Windows
Clean Boot can help identify if third-party apps and services are interfering with the game client and causing Steam won’t open issue. Here is how to perform a clean boot:
- Open Run prompt (press down Windows key + R at once) and type msconfig. Press OK.
- Go to Services > put a tick on Hide all Microsoft services > Disable all.
- Go to Startup tab and click Open Task Manager. Here, go to Startup tab. Find all Enabled entries, select each of them and Disable them. Finally, close the Task Manager.
- In System Configuration window, press Apply to save changes and then click OK to close the window.
- Restart your computer: Click Windows icon in the taskbar, then Power icon. Choose Restart.
- Try to run Steam.
IMPORTANT NOTE. If you managed to open and use Steam successfully in this mode, this could mean that one of the services you disabled is interfering with the gaming client. In such case, we strongly recommend tracking back the apps you installed recently and uninstalling them.
To boot computer in normal mode, repeat all the steps but don’t forget to enable all the services and startup processes you disabled previously. Then restart your PC.
Method 9. Uninstall third-party apps that prevent Steam from opening
Steam won’t open from taskbar for several third-party programs that might interfere with it. Typical programs that might cause the problem are:
- Antivirus software;
- Anti-spyware software;
- P2P Clients;
- IP Filtering Programs;
- Download Accelerators;
- FTP/Web Server Applications.
If you have recently installed and started using any of these programs, they might be preventing Steam from opening. In such case, follow the instructions presented below.
9.1 Uninstall unwanted third-party apps
In some cases, third-party programs can interfere with Steam and prevent it from running. Here’s how to uninstall some recently installed programs that might be interfering with Steam:
- In Windows search, type control panel. Select a matching result and then go to Uninstall a program.
- Click on Installed on to sort installed programs by date. Then check what programs you recently installed. Try uninstalling them one by one and checking if Steam opens afterwards. Simply select a program and click Uninstall.
9.2 Check if third-party antivirus blocks Steam
In some cases, third-party antivirus solutions are to blame for steam won’t open 2019 issue. First of all, you need to check if you’re running to security solutions at once (in case you’re using a third-party antivirus). Therefore, start by disabling Windows Defender (also known as Windows Security).
- Press Windows icon in taskbar > Gear icon to open Settings.
- In Settings, go to Update & Security. Then go to Windows Security (left panel). Click on Virus & Threat Protection.
- Now click Manage Settings under Virus and Threat Protection Settings.
- Turn Real-time protection OFF.
- Check if Steam opens now. If not, proceed completing the given steps:
- You either can Disable or Uninstall your antivirus temporarily. To disable, click on the ^ arrow in taskbar, find your antivirus icon, right-click it and find a disable option. Try to run Steam afterwards. If you wish to uninstall an antivirus, follow the steps provided in part 8.1.
TIP. NEVER leave your computer unprotected (without real-time protection). Turn on either Windows defender or try another antivirus provider which will allow Steam Games at all times. Another solution would be creating an exception rule in your antivirus for Steam or particular game you’re playing.
Method 10. Update drivers to fix Steam won’t open on Windows
This is often the “it” solution for “why I can’t open Steam” problem. It is time-consuming task, so be prepared to spend some time here.
- Once again, open Run prompt. Type devmgmt.msc and hit OK.
- Here, check for drivers with yellow icon next to them; it indicates that these need to be updated. If not, you’ll have to update them manually. Double click the device to see drivers, right click one and select Update driver.
- Then choose Search automatically for updated driver software.
- If any updates are found, install them.
- You’ll need to repeat this step with all drivers.
- Restart your PC and check if Steam opens now.
Method 11. Recover using System Restore
System Restore points is an excellent way of rolling back in time before any problems started to occur. If you create them manually or have set to create system restore points automatically, check the instructions given below. Windows might also create system restore points before installing updates.
- Go to Windows Settings (Windows icon > Gear icon).
- Go to Update & Security > Recovery.
- Find Advanced Startup and click Restart Now under it.
- Select Troubleshoot in the Advanced Startup options screen.
- Choose Advanced options > System Restore.
- Pick a restore point and click Next. Proceed and wait until the system rolls back.
TIP. If you do not have a restore point or if you have an old one, you might want to skip this method as too many data might be lost.
Method 12. Test RAM to fix Steam won’t open
RAM issues are equal to gaming issue such as Steam won’t open one. This is what you need to do to identify if you’re experiencing RAM-related problems.
- Restart your computer to prevent any unnecessary processes from interfering. Then open Run prompt (Win key+R) and type mdsched into it. Press Enter.
- Choose Restart Now and check for problems.
- Leave your PC for as long as the check takes. Once the computer reboots after the memory check, right-click Windows icon in taskbar and select Event Viewer.
- Look on your left, double-click on Windows Logs > System.
- Right-click the System > Filter Current log.
- Open drop-down menu next to Event Sources. Make sure you don’t type anything as search doesn’t work on this menu. Simply scroll until you find MemoryDiagnostics-Results and select this option. Then click anywhere on the grey area to close the drop-down menu and click OK.
- In Event Viewer, you should see several events filtered to meet your requirements and listed for you. Click each of them and check for RAM errors. If none are detected, skip to the method 13. Otherwise, you might need to replace your RAM sticks.
Method 13. Repair or Reinstall Steam
13.1 Repair Steam
- First of all, create a backup for Steam files. Launch any folder on your computer and then click This PC on the left panel.
- Open Windows C: and then use search bar in the top right corner. Type steamapps and wait for the results.
- Once a identically named folder appears on the screen, right-click it and select Open Folder Location.
- Once in the original folder location, right-click steamapps folder and choose Copy. Paste this folder to your desired location (such as D disk or Documents folder).
Note. This data backup will come in handy if you won’t be able to access your game data after repairing or reinstalling Steam.
- Now, run SteamInstaller.exe. You can find this file on your computer using Windows search, or download it from Steam’s official website. If presented, agree with file repair option.
- Once the repair is complete, check if the problem persists.
13.2 Reinstall Steam that won’t open
- Close Steam Client and backup your game data as explained in 13.1 Steps 1-4. Now open WTM (Ctrl+Alt+Del > Task Manager) and go to Processes tab.
- Here, end any active Steam processes.
- Close Windows Task Manager. Open Control Panel (use Windows search).
- Go to Uninstall a program. Here, select Steam and click Uninstall. Wait until the process is finished and restart your PC.
- Download Steam installer from the official Steam’s website. Run it and follow on-screen instructions.
- Use the previously backed up steamapps folder to restore your gaming data – just copy it from the folder you pasted it in and paste it into Steam’s installation folder. If asked, choose Yes to replace existing files.
- Check if the problem persists.
Method 14. Disable Overclocking
If you have previously decided to use overclocking to speed up Windows performance, we suggest you check better ways to do it. Meanwhile, you need to disable overclocking.
- Click Windows icon and select Gear icon to launch Settings. Go to Update & Security > Recovery.
- Run Advanced startup by clicking Restart Now.
- Once the computer reboots, go to Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > UEFI Firmware Settings. Click Restart.
- After reboot, go to Advanced tab and then disable Overclocking from there.
- Press F10 to save changes and restart your computer.
Method 15. Try connecting to a different network
Some network providers tend to save bandwidth by compressing the data transmitted. Therefore, we suggest connecting to a different network (preferably by a different Internet provider) and checking if Steam will open then.
If that is the problem, you might need to temporarily or permanently change your Internet provider.
Method 16. Turn off Compatibility Mode (Windows 7)
If you’re using Steam, most likely you’re using the latest version of it, which is designed for Windows 10. This gaming client doesn’t have compatibility mode for earlier Windows versions. To solve this issue, the operating system enables Compatibility Mode as a workaround for frequent gaming issues. Unfortunately, this mode isn’t recommended with the gaming client, and that is why we suggest disabling it.
Compatibility Runner interferes with Steam and might prevent it from opening. Therefore, use this method if you’re dealing with Steam won’t open Windows 7 issue.
Warning: This method involves editing Windows Registry, which is NOT recommended for inexperienced PC users.
Method 16.1. Disable Compatibility Mode for Steam
- To begin with, close Steam, then disable all of its processes via Task Manager.
- Open Windows search and type Steam. Then right-click the result and choose Open File Location.
- In the folder that opens on the screen, right-click Steam.exe file and choose Properties.
- Go to Compatibility tab and ensure that none of the given options are checked. In other words, deselect any selected options.
- Click Change settings for all users and do the same as in step 4.
- Click Apply and OK.
- Check if Steam opens now.
Method 16.2. Disable Compatibility via Windows Registry (Advanced)
- Open Run prompt by pressing down Windows key and R at once. Type regedit in and press OK.
- In Windows Registry, expand the categories in the given order:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software > Microsoft > Windows NT > CurrentVersion > AppCompatFlags > Layers.
- Once in Layers, look on the right and find Steam.exe entry. Right-click it and choose Delete. Do not alter any other Steam-related entries.
- Look at the navigation panel again and go to Compatibility Assistant > Persisted folder. On the right, find Steam.exe, right-click and Delete it.
- Now, go all the way up the navigation panel and close HKEY_CURRENT_USER folder by clicking on the little arrow next to it. This will make the navigation easier for further steps.
- Open HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SOFTWARE > Microsoft > Windows NT > CurrentVersion > AppCompatFlags > Layers. Here, look on the righ, right-click Steam.exe file and Delete it.
- Check if Steam will open now.
We hope that one of the given methods was the right fix for the Steam won’t open problem. In case you have found a different cause for this problem, please share it in the comments section. You might save a day for someone!
Norbert Webb is the head of Geek’s Advice team. He is the chief editor of the website who controls the quality of content published. The man also loves reading cybersecurity news, testing new software and sharing his insights on them. Norbert says that following his passion for information technology was one of the best decisions he has ever made. “I don’t feel like working while I’m doing something I love.” However, the geek has other interests, such as snowboarding and traveling.