Having trouble playing Steam games on Windows? A troubleshooting guide

You may experience issues with your Steam games for many reasons. Issues such as outdated graphics drivers, corrupt game files, and third-party software conflicts can prevent games from working properly.

If you’re having trouble playing Steam games on your Windows PC, this guide should help. We’ve jotted down a list of seven effective troubleshooting tips to help you play your Steam games on Windows.

1. Install the latest Windows updates

update windows 11

If you are using Windows 11, you may find that Steam games launch slowly. Although this is a known issue, there is no perfect solution to fix the problem.

If this is a widespread issue in Windows 11, newer Windows updates will likely include a fix. Check if there are new Windows updates available and install them to see if that fixes the problem.

To install Windows updates:

  1. hurry Win + I open Settings.
  2. Then open the Windows Update tab in the left pane.
  3. Click on Check for updates. Wait for the scan to complete and install all available critical updates for your PC.
  4. Once installed, restart your PC and check for improvements.

2. Check integrity of game files

Extracted Steam game files can get corrupted due to various reasons and cause the game to malfunction. Fortunately, Steam includes a built-in game file verification tool. It will search for faulty files and replace them if necessary.


To verify the integrity of game files:

  1. Launch it To smoke client on your PC.
  2. Open the Library tab to view your installed games.
    steam game properties
  3. Right click on the game you want to troubleshoot and select Properties.
  4. Open the Local files tab in the left pane.
    verify integrity of steam game files
  5. Then click on Verify integrity of game files. Steam will start validating the game files. This process may take some time depending on the size of the game.
  6. Once the process is complete, Steam will show the status of the repair. Click on Close and relaunch the client to see if the issue is resolved.

3. Run the game with administrative privileges

If Steam is having trouble updating games, it may be due to insufficient permission issues. In this case, you can run the game as an administrator to fix this problem.

To launch the game as administrator:

  1. Launch it To smoke client on your PC. Make sure you are not in family view.
  2. Then open the Library tab to view all installed games.
    browse steam local files
  3. Right click on the game you want to troubleshoot and select Manage > Browse Local Files.
  4. Steam will open the installation folder in File Explorer.
  5. Right-click on your game’s executable file. For example, to run Counter-Strike: GO as an administrator, right click on csgo.exe file and select Properties.
  6. Open the Compatibility tab in the Properties the window.
    run as steam game administrator
  7. Select the Run this program as administrator option under the Settings section.
  8. Click on To apply and Okay to save changes.

Relaunch Steam and try updating or running the game to see if the issue is resolved.

4. Run the game in compatibility mode

steam games compatibility mode

The Windows operating system is backwards compatible, so most Steam games and apps created for the earlier version of Windows will work without any issues. However, some legacy games may malfunction or have compatibility issues.

Fortunately, Windows includes a built-in compatibility troubleshooter to alleviate this problem. Follow the steps below or see our guide on how to run older apps in Windows 10 for a more detailed process.

  1. Open your Steam game’s installation folder.
  2. Right-click on the executable (.exe) file and select Properties.
  3. Open the Compatibility tab in the Properties the window.
  4. To select Run this program in compatibility mode to option.
  5. Then click on the drop-down icon and select the compatible version of Windows for the game.
  6. Click on To apply and Okay to save changes.

5. Update your graphics drivers

update graphics driver windows

GPU manufacturers often release new updates consisting of fixes for specific games. These updates include performance improvements and bug fixes for the Windows operating system and GPU drivers.

Check if a new update is available for your graphics processing unit to see if that helps fix the problem. Here’s how.

  1. hurry Win + R open Course.
  2. Type devmgmt.msc and click Okay open Device Manager.
  3. In Device Managerextend the Screenshot taken section.
  4. Right-click on the graphics device and select Update driver.
  5. Click on Automatically search for drivers. Windows will search for new drivers and prompt you to install them, if any. Once installed, restart your PC and check if the issue is resolved.

If Device Manager is unable to find new graphics drivers, check your GPU manufacturer’s companion app or website for new drivers. Refer to our guide on updating GPU drivers in Windows 10 for detailed instructions.

6. Check for third-party program conflicts

Third-party game overlays, antivirus tools, firewall configuration, and other issues can also prevent Steam games from opening. Here are some options to prevent third-party programs from affecting Steam games on Windows.

6.1 Disable your VPN

If you have an active VPN (virtual private network) client running, it may affect games that require internet connectivity. To determine the cause, temporarily disable your VPN client and restart the game.

If it works outside the VPN, configure the Steam client and your game traffic to allow it to pass through the network.

6.2 Disable your antivirus program

Third-party antivirus programs can interfere with Steam games and prevent them from launching. It can also falsely detect a game or an outgoing connection as malicious and block access or delete the file.

Check if your antivirus has Game Mode feature and enable it to reduce antivirus intrusion while gaming. If your antivirus does not have this feature, try adding the Steam client and games to the exclusion list.

Alternatively, you can also temporarily disable your antivirus before your gaming session. Or switch to another antivirus with game optimization features.

6.3 Disable startup applications

disable startup applications

Starter apps such as third-party game overlays can conflict with Steam games. First, disable all startup applications and restart the Steam client to see if that fixes the problem.

To disable startup applications:

  1. hurry Win + X to open the WinX menu.
  2. Click on Task Manager.
  3. Open the start tongue.
  4. Here, locate all enabled startup apps and disable them.
  5. Once all are disabled, restart your PC and launch Steam. If the games start working, you can safely assume that a third-party startup application conflict is causing the problem.

Note that you may not be able to disable all startup applications from Task Manager. Some apps have their own startup options to enable and disable startup functionality. Check out our guide for all the ways to disable startup apps in Windows 11.

Also, look for FTP and web server applications, P2P clients downloading large files in the background, and disable download managers to free up your internet resources.

7. Reinstall the Steam client

You can also perform a reinstall of Steam to diagnose the app for bugs and file corruption issues. This will allow you to install the latest version and fix temporary issues with the app.

You can uninstall Steam without deleting all installed games. To do this, simply move the steamapps folder before uninstalling the application. After reinstalling, you can restore the folder and continue playing your games.

To uninstall Steam:

  1. hurry Win + E to open File Explorer.
  2. Then navigate to the following location:
    C:Program Files (x86)Steam
  3. Here, move the steam apps folder to a different partition or storage drive. The size of the folder may vary depending on the number of games installed.
    move steam apps folder
  4. Then press Win + I open Settings.
  5. Click on apps then on Apps and Features.
    uninstall windows steam
  6. Locate it To smoke customer and click on the three dot menu on the right side.
  7. To select Uninstall so what Uninstall again to confirm the action.
  8. Once uninstalled, download and reinstall the Steam client.

To restore games, move the steamapps folder to C:Program Files (x86)Steam. Relaunch Steam and you should have all your games ready to play. If Steam still can’t find your game, here’s how to force Steam to recognize installed games.

Troubleshooting Steam Games on Windows

Your Steam games can act for various reasons. Although it may be difficult to identify the problem, some of these tips should help you solve the problem.

If the problem persists, consider switching to alternative game launchers. These game launchers can automatically detect the games installed on your system and provide a central location to access all your games.

game launchers

The 7 Best Game Launchers for Launching and Hosting PC Games

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