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Developer(s) Valve Corporation
First release date Windows September 12, 2003
OS X May 12, 2010
Linux February 14, 2013
Digital Distribution

Key points

Information Digital distribution platform launched by Valve Corporation in 2003 which supports Windows, OS X and Linux.
Information DRM: Steam client required. Some games have extra DRM; refer to The Big List of 3rd Party DRM on Steam.
Information Some games sold through retail and other digital distribution services activate on Steam; see Retail / Digital CD Keys.
Information Refund policy: See Steam Refunds for details. Refunds for pre-release titles are accessible through the Store Transactions page. Steam Workshop purchases can be refunded within 24 hours of purchase.[1]

Official links

More information Official Store
More information Official Support
More information Steam Users' Forums

Community links

Information The Big List of 3rd Party DRM on Steam
More information Steam Subreddit - a good place to discuss Steam issues.
More information ValveTime - Valve news and discussion site.
More information SteamDB - all information about games, sales, and even not yet released games. Updates instantaneously.

Big Picture[edit]

Information See PC gaming on a TV and couch for general setup information.
Advantage Big Picture Mode is a new interface which allows using Steam with a controller.
Information Big Picture Mode requires Windows Vista or newer or OS X 10.7 (Lion) or newer; earlier versions are not supported.

Fix Launch Big Picture Mode

  • Click the Big Picture button in the Steam client
  • Press Alt+ Enter.
  • Push the Guide button on your controller when Steam is the active window (Xbox 360-compatible controllers only)
  • Hold the Guide button on your controller when Steam is in the background (Xbox 360-compatible controllers only)

Taskbar showing on top[edit]

Disadvantage This is caused by the incompatibility with DPI scaling in Windows.

Fix Disable Display Scaling On High DPI Settings

  1. Right click on Steam shortcut > Properties.
  2. Choose the Compatibility tab.
  3. Select 'Disable display scaling on high DPI settings.
  4. Running Steam will provide a compatibility warning. Press cancel to ignore.

Speed up Big Picture web browser[edit]

Information Steam Big Picture web browser can be slow.

Fix Uncheck Automatically Detect Proxy Settings

Information Picture instructions from reddit user toweler.
Advantage Fix benefits other applications such as Chrome.[2]
Disadvantage Windows, for compatibility reasons, has Automatically Detect Proxy settings enabled. It adds a significant lag to loading web pages in Steam as well as other internet dependent applications, and is not usually required.[3]

1) Change this setting in Windows to speed up the web browser in the big picture mode in Steam.

Control Panel > Internet Options > Connections Tab > LAN Settings > Uncheck Automatically Detect Settings

2) If this causes some problems in other programs, one should change the setting back.

Adjust font size DPI[edit]

Information Steam does not always respect the Windows dpi settings. This hack adjusts Steam's DPI.
Information Appears to work if the Windows DPI settings are also adjusted above 100% size.

Fix Set LogPixels key[4]

  1. Open the Registry Editor:
    • Vista and newer: open the Start screen/Start menu, type regedit, press Enter.
    • Windows XP: press Win+R, type regedit, press Enter.
  2. Go to HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Software\Classes\Steam
  3. Add LogPixels as a DWORD registry key and set to 120 decimal (120 DPI) to increase DPI settings.

Family Sharing[edit]

Information Steam Family Sharing is a new feature that allows Steam users to share games.
Advantage Each player gets their own achievements, saves, etc.
Disadvantage The owner can't play any game without kicking the borrower (after a grace period).[5]
Disadvantage Some games are not available for sharing, e.g. those with third-party DRM; refer to The Big List of 3rd Party DRM on Steam for details.

Other tips[edit]

Resume Download Whilst Playing Game[edit]

Most Steam games will pause all downloads in progress, even if the game running is single player and has no need to access the internet bandwidth.

This can be fixed by checking "Allow Steam to download other updates while this game is running" in the properties of a game before starting it. Another method is to minimize the game and manually resume the download.

If you want to allow all Steam games to download updates while a Steam game is running:

Fix Globally enable downloads during gameplay

  1. With the Steam client open, go to Steam > Settings > Downloads
  2. Check the box next to "Allow downloads during gameplay".
  3. Click "OK".

Disable Advertising Popups[edit]

By default, Steam will periodically display popups of new games and announcements. This can be disabled by going to View > Settings > Interface > Notify me about additions.

Change game language[edit]

Fix Change game localization

  1. Right click on the game title in Steam library.
  2. Select Properties
  3. Go on Language tab
  4. Select the language you want to play the game in

Toggle Steam overlay[edit]

Fix Disable/re-enable overlay

  1. Right click on the game title in Steam library.
  2. Select Properties
  3. Go on General tab
  4. Tick/untick "Enable Steam Overlay while in-game" checkbox

Toggle Steam Cloud sync[edit]

Fix Disable/re-enable Steam Cloud sync

  1. Right click on the game title in Steam library.
  2. Select Properties
  3. Go on Updates tab
  4. Tick/untick "Enable Steam Cloud synchronization" checkbox

Disabling automatic game updates[edit]

Information This feature was never available.[6] Only update this game when I launch it may be a palliative

Delete files stored in the Cloud[edit]

Fix Upload nullity[7]

  1. Make sure Steam Cloud is enabled and properly synced
  2. Close Steam client
  3. Navigate to <Steam-folder>\userdata\<user-id>\<game-id>\
  4. Edit every file inside remote subfolder (e.g. through hex or text editors)
  5. Delete remotecache.vdf
  6. Start game via Steam
  7. While prompted with sync conflict dialog delete the entire <game-id> folder
  8. Select Upload to the Steam Cloud button
  9. After the game has started Alt+Tab and disable Steam Cloud sync

Optimizing Steam's GCF Files and Batch Maintenance[edit]

Information No longer valid as after conversion to ACF file format in 2012.

Steam's Game Properties offers an interface to validate and physically and internally de-fragment the game's GCF files if it has them, however Steam itself uses 2 GCF files but does not provide a way to do this, and there is a lot of time, prompting, and UI lockout between tasks. GCFScape has some batch mode utilities to handle this.

Get Nem's GCFScape. Once downloaded and installed, shutdown Steam*. Go to GCFScape's Tools menu -> Batch -> Defragment. Navigate to <Steam-folder>\appcache\

Select as many GCF Files as you want to batch de-fragment. If you decide to do all the files, this could take a long time! Consider making it an overnight task. If you just want to de-fragment the two unreachable files used by Steam, they are winui.gcf and sourceinit.gcf.

  • Shutting down Steam is optional, however winui.gcf and sourceinit.gcf, the two files Steam uses, are locked while Steam is running. Steam can run while performing maintenance on the other GCF files, but it may cause problems if there is an update while the files are being worked on.

GCFScape also provides batch validation, but does not have the repair facility that Steam has when it detects a corrupted file. Batch validation as an overnight task prior to backing up your files is a great idea. If it finds a problem, have Steam do a validation and repair on it.

Change Game Library Backgrounds[edit]

Fix Customize your library backgrounds[8]

  1. Find out the GAME-ID by right-clicking on a game, and setting a desktop shortcut. Right-click on the shortcut to find the GAME-ID: steam://rungameid/[GAME-ID]
  2. Go to <Steam-folder>/userdata/<user-id>/760/remote/<GAME-ID>/screenshot
  3. Enter replacement .jpg file:2011-06-10_00003.jpg
  4. If the above folder does not exist, create it in the format 760/remote

Enhanced Steam in the Steam Client[edit]

Use Enhanced Steam Standalone to access Enhanced Steam features in the Steam client.

Disadvantage Not recommended for non-technical users.
Advantage Adds Pricing History, DRM Warnings, Wishlist Image Fixes, Custom Profile Backgrounds, and more.
Disadvantage Lacks many features of its browser-based counterparts.


Unable to log in[edit]

Fix temporarily launch Steam with the -tcp suffix on Windows 7

  1. Press the key-combo Win+R to open Run
  2. Enter the directory to Steam.exe and add the suffix -tcp after it
Information An example would be to enter C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\Steam.exe -tcp

Fix launch Steam with the -tcp suffix

  1. Open Steam.exe's properties by right-clicking Steam and pressing "properties"
  2. Add the -tcp-suffix after ...Steam\Steam.exe
Information An example would be "C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\Steam.exe" -tcp
Advantage It's been reported that launching Steam as admin will fix the issue
Information The directory C:\Program Files (x86) is not present on 32-bit copies of Windows
Information Steam has an official page including fixes related to network and connection issues:

Steam Won't Launch[edit]

Delete ClientRegistry.blob[edit]

Steam updates sometimes fail to progress, or the message 'Failed to find Steam' appears. This can normally be fixed by deleting: ClientRegistry.blob which can be found in the following locations:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\ C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\

This will delete your saved password for Steam, and force it to re-download the Steam client update. This method usually always fix other problems with Steam, so it is usually a good idea to delete this whenever Steam encounters an error.

Delete Folders[edit]

If Steam will not launch, delete this folder and restart: C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\appcache\

If this fails, try deleting everything except \steamapps\, \userdata\ and steam.exe.

Error following updates[edit]

Manifests as update loops, possibly having one of the following errors:

"ERROR! Steam.exe (main exception): ERROR: copying SteamNew.exe to Steam.exe failed, Win32 Error 32 "The process cannot access the file because it is being used by another process.""

The fix belongs to andrey-t, found here:

"The primary cause of this problem is a confirmed bug in Windows 7. When "Application Experience" service is not running, Windows 7 will retain the lock on executable files for several minutes after they finished execution.

Most people who encounter this problem are people who decided to optimize their Windows services and disabled "Application Experience" service as part of that process.

Because of the above bug, Steam client cannot update itself since Windows 7 retains the lock on "Steam.exe".

So, if you run into this issue, first and foremost go to your Services and make sure "Application Experience" service is enabled and running. Enable and start it. This will fix the issue in most cases."

Clean reinstall[edit]

Information If the above steps do not resolve your problem, doing a clean reinstall of Steam may eliminate the issue.

Fix Steam clean reinstall

  1. Go to your Steam install folder; the default location is as follows:
    • 64-bit Windows: %ProgramFiles(x86)%\Steam
    • 32-bit Windows: %ProgramFiles%\Steam
  2. Move the steamapps and userdata folders somewhere safe (see Moving Steam Files).
  3. Uninstall Steam.
  4. Delete the Steam installation folder, if it remains.
  5. Reinstall Steam and let it update, then exit it.
  6. Restore the steamapps and userdata folders, replacing any existing files.
  7. Run Steam and "install" your games (it will see and verify the existing files).
  8. Set your Steam settings again, if necessary.

Game Won't Launch[edit]

Verify integrity of game cache[edit]

Information First recommended step before troubleshooting any other issues.

Fix Ascertain files checksum match

  1. Right click on the game and select Properties.
  2. Under Local files, select Verify Integrity of Game Cache.

First Time Setup[edit]

When launching a freshly installed game on Steam for the first time, the game will normally initiate "First Time Setup", installing DirectX, Visual Studio re-distributable and .NET libraries. This happens for the majority of Steam games.

While you may be running the latest and greatest versions of these programs, the individual games may still require specific versions of APIs like Direct 3D 10.[9]

Occasionally the root of the hard drive will be filled with a dozen or so "vcredist" files. These can be safely removed.

Steam Servers Too Busy[edit]

Steam servers are currently unavailable

Steam servers are too busy

The Steam servers are currently too busy to handle your request. Please try again in a few minutes.

These messages may appear when trying to launch or install a game. This can be fixed by changing the Steam content server you are downloading from using the following steps:

  • In the Steam client, select "Steam" then Settings.
  • Navigate to the Downloads tab.
  • Change the Download region to a different location.

Locations in a time zone where it is currently late night may yield the best results.

Error 80 And Application Load Error P:0000065432[edit]

Simply restart Steam to fix this error.

Failed to start game. App already running[edit]

This is a legitimate error message preventing you from launching the same game twice. If it is incorrect, restart Steam.

Moving Steam Files[edit]

Manual Move[edit]

If you wish to re-install Steam, or transfer your game data to a new hard drive, simply move the steamapps and userdata folders to a new location.[10] You will find these folders in the following folder by default:

    • 64-bit Windows: %ProgramFiles(x86)%\Steam
    • 32-bit Windows: %ProgramFiles%\Steam

Depending on the size of the folder it may take some time. Then, on the new system, install Steam and let it run once. Move steamapps and userdata back to the new Steam folder, replacing any existing files, then run Steam, connect online, and 'install' the games, which will revalidate the existing files and update their entries in the Steam library.

Failed To Find Steam[edit]

This error can be solved by simply restarting the Steam client. If this fails, try to refer to #Delete clientregistry.blob.

Moving Steam Games To Another Drive[edit]

Disadvantage Some games does not have the option to install to secondary drives, it is however possible to use symbolic links for this matter.

Steam has the possibility to download games to secondary drives. You can add a custom directory for games through Steam: Steam > Settings > Downloads > Steam Library Folders > Add Library folder

Option - GameSave Manager[edit]

GameSave Manager's Sync and Link feature can automate this process and is easily the best method. This is because GameSave Manager:

  • contains a large list of relatively up to date game path locations
  • can scan whether a game is already in that folder
  • can create symbolic links in a single click.

Steam Backup[edit]

Information The native backup facility can be used to backup and restore Steam games. However, the manual move method is simpler, faster and more reliable.
Information Sometimes when trying to install a backup created using inbuilt backup utility the loader will pop up and disappear constantly. To fix this, launch Steam and delete local data for the game you're trying to restore. Exit Steam and rerun the installer.

Steam Offline Mode[edit]

Steam's Offline Mode is designed to allow access to one's Steam library without having an internet connection. However, there are a large number of problems that often occur. If one's internet connection is limited (i.e. if ports required for Steam to run are closed), Steam will not start in Offline Mode and will return the following error:

Could not connect to steam network. This could be due to a problem with your internet connection, or with the Steam network. Please visit for more info.

This can be due to Steam detecting a valid internet connection (for example, for accessing normal browsing through HTTP), but lacking connection to certain ports required to start Steam. Ports may not be open for a large variety of reasons, for example:

  • Ports are not open on router.
  • Router may be overloaded by activity such as BitTorrent.
  • Firewall may be blocking Steam ports.

A number of ways to force Offline Mode are available. However, all methods require authentication by logging into Steam at least once with a working internet connection.


  1. Find a working internet connection. Open Steam whilst internet connection is working.
  2. Tick 'Remember my password'.
  3. Click "Steam" > Go Offline. Steam should now restart.

Steam Offline Mode should now be accessible to the methods below.

Disable Internet Connection[edit]

To ensure that Steam never tries to connect online (and lose the authentication required for Offline Mode), disable one's network adapter. Opening Steam with a disabled connection will normally open the Steam Offline mode. However, many users report problems with this method. Repeat the authentication step, remembering to tick 'Remember my password'.

Always Force Offline Mode[edit]

Fix Create/edit steam.cfg

Forcing Offline Mode will make Steam to always open in Offline Mode, even with a working internet connection. A prompt will appear and the options Retry and Offline Mode will show up. Retry will simply restart Steam and cause the same menu options to come up, whereas Offline Mode will take one into the Steam game library.

This step still requires the authentication to be carried out.

  1. Create or edit the steam.cfg Steam's root folder (default: C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\:
  2. Enter the following in the file:
  3. Save changes
  4. Launch Steam.

Hex Editing winui.gcf[edit]

Information Reportedly the winui.gcf file can be hex edited in order to reenable Offline Mode. Please refer to instructions from X.nano.

Steam lowers volume of background Metro apps (Windows 8 only)[edit]

Information Sometimes Metro apps (e.g. Music app, MediaMonkey app,...) lower their volume when sent to the background, this might be caused by Steam.

Deactivate automatic muting[edit]

Fix Disable communications activity sound reduction

  1. Open the Start screen/Start menu, type mmsys.cpl and press Enter.
  2. Go to the Communications tab.
  3. Choose Do nothing.
  4. Click OK to save your changes.

Use push-to-talk for voice chat[edit]

Fix Deactivate automatic muting

  1. Open Steam settings
  2. Go to the Voice tab
  3. Under When voice chat is active:, select Use a push-to-talk key to transmit voice
  4. Assign a key to Push-to-talk key
  5. Select OK

Some games does not have the option to install in other game directories[edit]

Fix Use symbolic links to create links from one directory to another

Information Some games does not have the option to download and install to alternative directories (and thus other hard drives). An example is Team Fortress 2. The reason is how the Source-engine shares files between multiple games.
  1. Temporarily download the desired game to the default location which Steam chooses
  2. After download move the <path-to-game> to your desired path (i.e. from ...Steam\SteamApps\Common\Team Fortress 2 to F:\Games\SteamLibrary\common\Team Fortress 2)
  3. Relocate back to the original direction of the game
  4. Press ALT+D whilst in explorer to select the navigation bar. Enter cmd.
  5. write the following in the command prompt (TF2 example): mklink /D "Team Fortress 2" "F:\Games\SteamLibrary\common\Team Fortress 2". If written correctly, you'll be prompted with a success and a folder of the same name has again been created in the default installation directory.
  6. Start the game
Information The template to follow when creating symbolic links as the example is mklink /D "[Original Game-folder name]" "[full name of the games new directory]"
Advantage With this method the space the game needs is not taken up on your primary drive, it is only linked, like the way a bookmark in a browser works.

OS X[edit]

Clientregistry.blob Location[edit]

Information If you are unable to find the file you can locate it using Terminal commands like Find and Locate.

~/Library/Application\ Support/Steam/


Information Steam is only officially supported on Ubuntu 12.04 and newer; install from the Steam website or the Ubuntu Software Centre.
Information Steam can also be installed in Wine to gain access to Windows-only games which cannot be installed through the native Linux Steam client. Though fonts may be invisible, to fix this execute Steam with the following command: wine Steam.exe -no-dwrite.[11]


  1. Steam Community :: Steam Workshop :: Steam Workshop Refund Policy
  3. [By Request] PSA: Drastically speed up Steam's web browser as well as other internet dependent programs... Reddit
  4. Steam Font Size Too Small - Steam Users' Forums
  5. Family Sharing FAQ :: Steam Family Sharing
  6. New Steam version removes option to disable automatic updates - Steam Users' Forums
  7. Finally! A method to DELETE files stored in Steam Cloud servers! - Steam Users' Forums
  8. How to Upload / Use custom images / screenshots in the Library background! - Steam Users' Forums
  9. STOP installing DX\.net EVERY GAME! - Steam Users' Forums
  10. Moving a Steam Installation and Games - Steam Support