It happens to Steam users at some point. When you’re opening Steam, without warning everything freezes. Why is it not responding and what can you do next to stop it from freezing again? In this article, we’ll uncover the fixes.

Before performing the troubleshooting steps below, restart your computer. A simple restart can flush your computer’s memory, and shut down programs to free up your computer’s processor. When your computer has fully restarted, open your Steam client. If it’s still frozen, try the fixes below.

  1. Activate your Steam client
  2. Clear download & web browser cache
  3. Update your graphics driver
  4. Download and install all Windows updates
  5. Prevent programs from starting automatically
  6. Delete temp files
  7. Add Steam to your antivirus and Windows firewall exception list
  8. Run a disk check
  9. Repair corrupted system files

1. Activate your Steam client

Some programs not responding all of a sudden doesn’t mean a serious error has occurred. It could be a temporary bug that can be easily fixed by reactivating it. To do this for your Steam app, follow the instructions below.

  1. On your keyboard, press the Windows logo + R keys simultaneously to open the Run box.
  2. Type or paste taskmgr and press Enter.

    open Task Manager
  3. Under the Processes tab, locate your Steam client. Right-click it and select End task.

Allow 30 seconds for the process to execute. Then restart Steam. If this doesn’t do the trick, try the next fix below.

2. Clear download & web browser cache

Steam freezing, not responding, and incredibly running slow can be fixed by deleting those download and browser cache.

However, some users may not even be able to click any button on Steam. If that’s your case, simply move to the next fix and skip this one.

  1. Open your Steam client. From the top left client menu, click on Steam and go to Settings.

  2. In the Settings panel, select the Downloads tab and you’ll find the CLEAR DOWNLOAD CACHE button at the bottom. Click on it.

  3. Click OK to proceed. Then your Steam will be restarted.

  4. Then you’ll need to clear web browser cache:

    From the top left client menu, click on Steam and go to Settings.

    In the Settings panel, select the Web Browser tab. Then click on the buttons DELETE WEB BROWSER CACHE and DELETE ALL BROWSER COOKIES respectively. When it’s finished, click OK.

3. Update your graphics driver

When troubleshooting performance issues such as program freezing and crashing, you should check if your drivers, especially your graphics driver are out-of-date. Using outdated drivers can drastically reduce performance.

To update your graphics driver, you can either do it manually via the Device Manager or head to the manufacturer’s driver download page (NVIDIA / AMD) to download and install the exact driver for your system. This requires a certain level of computer knowledge and can be a headache if you aren’t tech-savvy. Therefore, we would like to recommend you use an automatic driver updater Driver Easy. With Driver Easy, you don’t need to waste your time hunting for driver updates as it will take care of the busy work for you.

  1. Download and install Driver Easy.
  2. Run Driver Easy and click the Scan Now button. Driver Easy will then scan your computer and detect any problem drivers.
  3. Click Update All to automatically download and install the correct version of all the drivers that are missing or out of date on your system.

    (This requires the Pro version which comes with full support and a 30-day money-back guarantee. You’ll be prompted to upgrade when you click Update All. If you’re not ready to buy the Pro version, Driver Easy offers a 7-day free trial which includes access to all the Pro features such as high-speed download and one-click install. You won’t be charged anything until your 7-day trial has ended.)

  4. Restart your computer for the changes to take effect.
The Pro version of Driver Easy comes with full technical support. If you need assistance, please contact Driver Easy’s support team at

After updating drivers, restart your PC and open Steam. If you’re still facing the freezing issue, try the next fix below.

4. Download and install all Windows updates

Windows updates usually fix the errors in Windows and associated software, and occasionally bring new features. To take advantage of Windows updates, definitely check if there are updates available. This may be the easiest way to fix the program freezing issue you’re having.

  1. In the Search box, type check for updates. Then click Check for updates from the results.

    how to download and install Windows updates
  2. Click on the Check for updates button. If there are any updates available, it’ll automatically start to download and install it. Simply wait for it to complete and you should be asked to restart your computer.

    how to download and install Windows updates

After the restart, open your Steam client. If your problem persists, proceed to the next fix.

5. Prevent programs from starting automatically

Whether you need it or not, there are many applications starting up automatically as soon as you log into Windows. This is quite frustrating as those apps unnecessarily muscle their way into your startup routine, and chew up memory and resources. To prevent them from potentially hampering your PC’s performance, you can disable them in the Task Manager.

  1. On your keyboard, press the Windows logo + R keys simultaneously to open the Run box.
  2. Type or paste taskmgr and press Enter.
  3. Select the Startup tab. Right-click an app and select the entry for Disable.

Note that you need to make sure you and Windows can live without the program running at startup. To be safe, disable one app at a time. If you bump into any problems, return to the Task Manager and bring it back into your startup routine.

However, if you have disabled unnecessary programs from starting automatically but your problem persists, move on to the next fix.

6. Delete temp files

Deleting temporary files can fix many common issues. If you can’t remember when was the last time you cleared those temp files, definitely do it right now. They are the kind of files that store temporary data that is created by Windows itself or the programs that users use. So deleting them won’t cause any problems.

  1. Close all windows.
  2. On your keyboard, press the Windows logo + R keys simultaneously to open the Run box.
  3. Type or paste %temp% and then press Enter.

  4. Press Ctrl + A at the same time to select all the files inside the folder. Then right-click and select Delete.

  5. If the following prompt appears, simply check the box next to Do this for all current items and click Skip.

    delete temporary files
  6. When it’s finished, head to your desktop. Right click on the Recycling Bin and select Empty recycle Bin.

7. Add Steam to your antivirus and Windows firewall exception list

Antivirus programs, or Windows firewall, are also likely the culprit to the Steam not launching on PC problem. This is usually because these security programs will keep an eye on any unusual behaviors from games, like heavy network traffic or unauthorized uses, and if anything suspicious detected, they shut the program down without your knowing.

To see if this is your case, you can add Steam as an exception in the Windows firewall:

  1. On your keyboard, press the Windows key and the R key simultaneously to open the Run box.
  2. Type control firewall.cpl and hit Enter.
  3. From the left navigation pane, click Allow an app or feature through Windows Defender Firewall.
  4. Scroll down and check if Steam is on the list.
  5. If not, click the Change settings button.
  6. Click Allow another app….

  7. Click Browse… and go to the installation folder for Steam.

    If you don’t know what the installation folder is for your Steam, simply right-click on its shortcut and select Open file location.

  8. Find steam.exe and click on it. Then click Open.

  9. When it’s located, click Add.
  10. Now make sure Steam is added to the list and tick DomainPrivate, and Public. Once you’re done, click OK.

If you’re using any third-party antivirus program, please add Steam to its exception list as well. If you need help doing so, please refer to the software manual or the tech support.

Try to relaunch the Steam launcher to see if it works. If the problem remains, please move on.

8. Run a disk check

If your hard drive is a bit old, or that it’s running under a heavy load, there’s a possibility that it could have corrupted files, which could affect programs like Steam. To see if your hard drive is to blame, you can run a disk check as instructed here:

  1. Type cmd in the Windows search box. Then right-click Command Prompt and select Run as administrator.
  2. Click Yes when you’re prompted.
  3. In the command prompt, type chkdsk C: /f /r /x and press Enter. If the scan doesn’t start as expected and the alert pops up as below, type Y and press Enter.
  4. Restart your computer.

This will scan the disk drive automatically and try repairing detected errors. Once done, test if Steam can launch now. If the problem remains, please move on.

9. Repair corrupted system files

If all else fails, you should try to verify if you have corrupted system files by running a scan and repair on your system. To do this, try using Fortect, a 100% legitimate program that specializes in Windows repair. When you notice that specific programs on your PC are constantly freezing, running a scan and repair with Fortect can help identify the error-causing components without the need to reinstall the whole system.

  1. Download and install Fortect.
  2. Open Fortect and it will run a free scan of your PC. Once the scan is finished, you’ll see a complete overview of your system and issues.
  3. Click Start Repair to start the repair process and wait for Fortect to fix the problem.

Hope this post helped! If you have any ideas or questions, feel free to drop us a line in the comment section below.

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