- When Steam doesn't open, force-close the Steam background process through Task Manager, restart your computer, or run Steam as an administrator to resolve launching issues.
- Check your internet connection and verify if Steam servers are down.
- If that fails, try turning off your antivirus, updating your operating system, disabling compatibility mode, or uninstalling and reinstalling Steam if necessary.
Want to play your favorite games, but Steam just won’t open on your computer? Many items can cause your favorite game launcher not to launch. Fortunately, you have a few ways to fix the issue and make Steam open as usual on your machine. We’ll show you what those fixes are here in this guide.
Why Is Steam Not Opening?
There are many reasons Steam won’t open on your machine. Your app’s process may be stuck, or your computer may have a minor glitch preventing the app from launching.
Sometimes, your antivirus program detects your Steam app as a potential threat, blocking your access to it. As you can see, there are several reasons you can’t launch the Steam app on your computer.
How to Resolve Steam When It Won’t Launch
When Steam won’t launch, you can apply a few fixes to possibly resolve your issue. These methods fix the items that may prevent your app from opening, helping you resolve your problem.
Force-Close Steam With Windows Task Manager
When Steam’s background process is stuck in your system, you may have trouble launching the app. In this case, get rid of that frozen process by force-closing the app on your machine.
To do that, open Task Manager by right-clicking your Start Menu icon and choosing "Task Manager." On the tool window, access the "Processes" tab. Here, right-click "Steam" and choose "End Task."
Relaunch your Steam app from the Start Menu or from your desktop.
Restart Your PC
To do that, open your PC’s Start Menu, select the "Power" icon, and choose "Restart."
When your computer reboots, try to launch Steam and see if the app opens.
Run Steam as an Administrator
If Steam still refuses to open, the app may be lacking the required permissions to function. You can fix these permission-related issues by launching your app as an admin. This gives the app all the rights it needs to run.
To do that, right-click your Steam app and choose "Run as Administrator." Then, in the "User Account Control" prompt, click "Yes."
Your app should open and let you access all your games.
Check Your Internet Connection
Steam needs to connect to the internet to load various options. It’s possible your internet connection is not working, causing Steam not to connect to its servers. This can sometimes cause your app not to launch.
In this case, check and ensure your internet connection is working. You can try to load a site in your web browser to check if the connection is functioning. If your connection has problems, give your router a reboot, try other troubleshooting tips, or contact your internet service provider (ISP).
Check if Steam Is Down
If Steam’s servers are facing downtime, that can cause your app not to launch. This is because your app connects to those servers to fetch various items; failing to do so makes the app not properly open.
In this case, head to the unofficial Steam Status or Downdetector site. These sites will tell you if Steam is experiencing issues. And if that’s the case, you’ll have to wait until the platform has fixed those issues.
Turn Off Your Antivirus Program
If your antivirus program has mistakenly recognized Steam as a potential threat, your access to the app may be blocked. This may be why you have trouble launching the app.
If you’ve downloaded Steam from a trusted source and know it isn’t a threat, disable your antivirus and see if your app opens.
To turn off Windows’ built-in antivirus, launch the Windows Security app, select "Virus & Threat Protection," choose "Manage Settings" under the "Virus & Threat Protection Settings" header, and turn off the "Real-Time Protection" toggle.
In the "User Account Control" prompt, click "Yes."
Now that your antivirus is disabled, launch Steam and see if the app works. If the app opens, add the app to your antivirus’ whitelist so you always have access to your app.
Update Your Windows PC
Sometimes, you can’t launch an app because your operating system has a bug. This is usually the case if you’re running an old version of Windows on your computer. A quick and easy way to resolve this problem is to update your OS version.
To update Windows 11, head into Settings > Windows Update, click "Check for Updates," and download and install the available updates.
To update Windows 10, open Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update and click "Check for Updates." Then, download and install the displayed updates.
After updating your system, launch Steam and see if the app works.
Disable Compatibility Mode for Steam
If you’re running Steam in Windows’ compatibility mode, that may be why you can’t launch the app. Steam is fully compatible with both Windows 11 and Windows 10 operating systems, which means you can use the app without the compatibility mode on your PC.
To disable Steam’s compatibility mode, right-click your Steam shortcut and choose "Properties." Access the "Compatibility" tab, turn off the "Run This Program in Compatibility Mode For" option, and choose "Apply" followed by "OK."
Launch Steam and your app should open.
Uninstall and Reinstall Steam on Your Computer
If your Steam app hasn’t started launching even after following the above methods, your app itself has an issue. One way to fix these issues is by removing and reinstalling your app. This ensures you have a working copy of your app on your computer.
Before you remove Steam, know that uninstalling the app removes your games as well as your game progresses. To not have your games deleted while uninstalling Steam, make a backup of the "steamapps" folder located inside the "Steam" installation folder. To preserve your game progress, sync your saved game progress with Steam Cloud by right-clicking your game, choosing "Properties," accessing the "General" tab, and turning on "Keep Games Saves in the Steam Cloud for [Your Game Name]." Then, proceed with the following app removal steps.
To remove Steam from Windows 11, navigate to Settings > Apps > Installed Apps. Here, next to Steam, click the three dots and choose "Uninstall." Then, in the open prompt, select "Uninstall."
To uninstall Steam on Windows 10, head into Settings > Apps. Here, click Steam, choose "Uninstall," and select "Uninstall" in the prompt.
After uninstalling Steam, head to the official Steam website and download and install a fresh application copy on your system. Your newly installed app should work fine.
And that’s what you do when you have trouble launching your favorite game client on your computer. Happy gaming!