As the most popular PC-gaming platform, Steam has a number of users. But sometimes, you may find Steam won’t open. Steam can’t open or work properly is actually quite a familiar issue. If you are suffering from it, please keep on reading. This article from NewsPivot will help you solve this problem with 9 solutions.

What Is Steam and Why Steam Won’t Open

Steam is the world’s largest digital distribution platform for computer games, accounting for the majority of computer game downloads. Heretofore, Steam has more than 100 million monthly active users.

To play Steam games, you have to open your Steam client first. But sometimes it’s possible that some of you can’t open Steam.

My Steam won't start if I click the Steam icon on the desktop or in my taskbar. It will only start if I right-click the Steam icon in my taskbar and click library (or settings, etc..), or start a game directly by clicking on the game icon. Anyone got a fix for this?

There are many reasons why Steam won’t open on your PC. Your application process may be stuck, or your computer may have a glitch preventing the application from starting. Or even sometimes, your antivirus program detects that your Steam app is a potential threat and blocks you from accessing it. As you see, there are several reasons that you can’t start the app. So what should you do when you can’t open Steam?

Solutions to Fix Steam Not Opening

The following is a summary of the methods, which are often used and have been proven to be effective in resolving the “Steam won’t open” issue.

Fix 1: Restart Your Computer

Even though it’s a typical recommendation for most kinds of computer problems, however, it’s useful and easy. Regardless of the type of problem, restarting your computer should be the first thing that pops into your mind.

System reboots can potentially fix some conflicts or issues caused by software or hardware unrelated to Steam itself.

Fix 2: Check the Internet Connection

Steam needs to be connected to the Internet to ensure its load and upgrade. When your computer is not connected to the Internet, Steam may sometimes shut down automatically instead of showing a pop-up indicating that you are offline. It’s because Steam can’t connect to its server that this sometimes causes your app not to launch.

Moreover, if you are using a VPN, please make sure it works. Frequent switching of VPN nodes may result in network interruption or software failure, which may be related to security policies. Of course, it is also possible that the VPN node has a problem. Please check whether the node delay is acceptable. You may disable it for minutes (between 1-5 mins) and try to connect it again. If your Internet connection goes correct, please launch Steam to see if it works.

Fix 3: Close Steam in the Background Completely

At times, Steam opens but doesn’t show up. This may be because Steam is closed improperly, so when you are trying to start it, it won’t open because it’s already open. In this case, to fix it, you can press
Ctrl + Alt + Delete on your keyboard, and then choose Task Manager. Alternatively, you can right-click on your taskbar and select Task Manager.

In the Task Manager, click Processes. Then find Steam, right-click it, and select End task.

Click End task in Processes

After completing all the above steps, you can start your Steam again. It should start properly now.

Fix 4: Running Steam as Administrator

Running Steam as an administrator often works wonders if Steam doesn’t start. Also, it can be useful for Steam not responding. To do this, just open your Steam root directory and find Steam.exe, then right-click your application and select Run as administrator.

how to Run Steam as administrator

Fix 5: Check Whether the Steam Server Has Crashed

This occasion is rare but still possible. If Steam’s servers are facing downtime, it may 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. What you should do is check if the Steam server is down. Head to the official Steam status website. It will tell you if Steam is experiencing problems. If that’s the case, you’ll have to wait until the platform solves those issues.

Fix 6: Turn off the Antivirus Program

Steam may also fail to open due to antivirus programs perceiving it as a threat. If you’ve downloaded Steam from a trusted source and know it isn’t a threat, to prevent this from happening, you can disable your antivirus and see if your app opens. Alternatively, you can whitelist Steam from your antivirus program. Check Steam’s status on Windows Defender if you do not use a third-party antivirus program, and whitelist it if necessary.

Fix 7: Delete Steam Cache

Cache corruption associated with the Steam app may prevent it from starting. In this case, you can clear the Steam cache stored on your computer to fix this issue. Here are the steps to do it:

First, open the File Explorer using Win + E and move to the below location (You need to replace <Username> with your PC’s username):


After that, press Ctrl + A to select all files and folders stored in the above location. Then, press the Delete button on your keyboard to clear all the Steam cache.

When it’s done, reboot your computer and try opening the Steam client to check if the problem is fixed.

Fix 8: Upgrade Your Windows PC

Sometimes Steam doesn’t work properly if your Windows OS is not up to date. Or, sometimes you can’t launch Steam because your operating system has a bug.

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 
. Then, download and install the displayed updates.

After upgrading your Windows, try to launch Steam again and see if it works.

Fix 9: Reinstall Steam

If your Steam app doesn’t launch after following the above methods, there might be something wrong with your app.

If you are a user of Windows 10, head into Settings > Apps. Here, click Steam, choose Uninstall, and select Uninstall in the prompt window.

If you are a user of Windows 11, you may navigate to Settings > Apps > Installed Apps. Here, next to Steam, click the three dots and choose Uninstall. Then, in the open prompt window, select Uninstall.

After uninstalling Steam, head to the official Steam website and download and install a fresh application copy on your system. Your app that just installed should work well.

Bottom Line

In general, these methods can solve the vast majority of problems with Steam not opening. Hope your issue has been worked out.

Steam Won’t Open FAQ

Why is Steam freezing?
Steam uses a download cache to store temporary files and data related to your games and downloads. If this data becomes corrupted and Steam can't bypass the problem, it could cause your Steam client to freeze. To fix this problem, you'll need to clear the Steam download cache. In addition, Steam freezing may also be related to outdated graphics card drivers, damaged system files, software conflicts, etc.
Why is Steam refusing to open?
An external device may cause Steam to not work correctly. External input devices require specific drivers that can interfere with Steam. We recommend unplugging all non-essential input devices from your computer to eliminate the possibility that they are interfering. Also, unclosed Steam processes in the background or inference from other software may be the reason.
How do I run Steam repair?
To repair Steam, try the steps below:
1. Exit Steam.
2. Click Start > Run (Windows Key + R).
3. Type this command and press Enter: C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\bin\SteamService.exe /repair.
4. Launch Steam and test the issue again.
How do I fix a game that won’t open on Steam?
1. Open Steam and go to your game library.
2. Right-click on the game that's not launching, then select Properties
3. Go to the Local Files tab and click Verify Integrity of Game Files.
4. Steam will check and repair any corrupted or missing game files.
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