Steam games won’t launch in Windows 10/11 [Full Fix]

by Ivan Jenic
Ivan Jenic
Ivan Jenic
Troubleshooting Expert
Passionate about all elements related to Windows and combined with his innate curiosity, Ivan has delved deep into understanding this operating system, with a specialization in drivers and... read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • Steam games run without a problem for the most part but sometimes they won't start when you try to launch them.
  • This can be due to a number of reasons but mostly it's related to outdated drivers.
  • We recommend you find the best method to update your drivers and DirectX too. 
  • Explore the option to run the game as Administrator and see if the issue persists. 
Steam games won’t launch

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Microsoft made Windows 10 a very gamer-friendly operating system with all these features like game streaming, recording, and a great Xbox One app.

But PC gamers use Steam even more than they use the Xbox One app, and a few of them reported that they’re unable to play Steam games at all.

Assuming that you are also one of them, make sure to apply the nifty tricks described below and solve this issue for good.

What to do if Steam games are not launching on Windows 11?

Steam games can fail to run on Windows, but the solutions are almost the same for any version of Windows. If the games are stuck on the Preparing to launch screen it’s possible that the game or even the Steam client are damaged.

Reinstalling the game should be your first choice, but if that doesn’t work, you might have to reinstall Steam, just be sure to back up all your games.

This problem sometimes occurs if you’re trying to run older games, but if you’re having issues with that, we suggest reading our guide on how to run old games on Windows 11.

What can I do if I can’t launch Steam games?

1. Update your drivers and DirectX

It won’t do any harm if you head to Device Manager, right-click on the graphics card under Display Adapter, and see if there are any driver updates.

The same goes for DirectX, as you can check if the latest version is installed. However, updating drivers manually can be a long process, especially if you are a newbie.

Some of the most common Windows errors and bugs are a result of old or incompatible drivers. The lack of an up-to-date system can lead to lag, system errors or even BSoDs.
To avoid these types of problems, you can use an automatic tool that will find, download, and install the right driver version on your Windows PC in just a couple of clicks, and we strongly recommend DriverFix. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Download and install DriverFix.
  2. Launch the application.
  3. Wait for DriverFix to detect all your faulty drivers.
  4. The software will now show you all the drivers that have issues, and you just need to select the ones you’d liked fixed.
  5. Wait for DriverFix to download and install the newest drivers.
  6. Restart your PC for the changes to take effect.


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2. Verify the integrity of all game files

Steam games not working Windows 10
  1. Launch Steam.
  2. Go to Library and click on Properties from the menu.
  3. Select the Local files tab and click the Verify integrity of game files button.
  4. Wait for the process to finish and re-launch Steam.

3. Update Windows

Microsoft pays a lot of attention to gaming and considers gamers a valuable part of the whole Windows community.

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Therefore, the company includes some threats for gamers in every major update for Windows 10.

And besides the new features, major Windows 10 updates also solve certain issues related to gaming. In this case, we are talking about this precise Steam issue.

So, make sure you have the latest version of Windows 10 installed on your computer, and maybe you won’t have to do anything else.

You can find the updates by starting the Settings. Up next, you simply need to click on Update & Security.

Having trouble updating your Windows 10? If you don’t know what to do about the missing Check for updates button, our tips will help you solve the issue in no time.

4. Rollback Windows

  1. Go to the Settings app.
  2. Click on Update & security.
  3. Navigate to the Recovery tab from the left pane and click the Get started button in Go back to the previous version of Windows 10 section.Steam games not working Windows 10
  4. Select the reason for going back to the previous build and click Next.
  5. You’ll be offered to download the latest updates. Click on the No, thanks button.
  6. Click Next to continue.
  7. Click on Next once again and select Go back to the earlier build.

You’ll only be able to do this if you use a Windows 10 version older than the Fall Creators Update because this option has been removed from this version of Windows.

If you’re using Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, the only thing you can really do is to clean install some previous version of the system.

5. Run the game as Administrator

  1. Go to the Steam Library.
  2. Locate the game you want to run.
  3. Right-click the game title, and go to Properties.Steam games not working Windows 10
  4. Head over to the Local Files tab
  5. Click Browse Local Files
  6. Find the game executable, right-click it, and go to Properties
  7. Head over to the Compatibility tab, and check Run this program as Administrator
  8. Save the changes and try to run the game

If nothing happens when you click on the Run as administrator, our quick guide will help solve the issue for good.

6. Run games in the compatibility mode

  1. Go to Steam Library.
  2. Locate the game you want to run.
  3. Right-click the game title, and select Properties.
  4. Head over to the Local Files tab.
  5. Click Browse Local Files.
  6. Find the game executable, right-click it, and go to Properties.
  7. Head over to the Compatibility tab.Steam games not working Windows 10
  8. Check Run this program in compatibility mode for:
  9. Choose the operating system.
  10. Save the changes.

7. Relocate the Steam client

  1. Exit the Steam client.
  2. Go to the Steam installation folder and locate the folder you would like to move (D:Steam, for example).
  3. Delete all of the files and folders except the SteamApps & User data folders and Steam.exe
  4. Cut and paste the whole Steam folder to the default location. Usually, it’s the following path: C:Program FilesSteam
  5. Launch Steam and log into your account.

Change the default installation path

  1. Open Steam
  2. Navigate to your Steam client Settings menu.
  3. Select Steam Library Folders from the Downloads tab.Steam games not working Windows 10
  4. Select Add Library Folder and create a new path.
    Steam games not working Windows 10
  5. Right-click the newly created path, to make sure it’s set to default.

If you encountered any other Steam errors, we recommend you take a look at this in-depth guide dedicated to fixing common Steam errors on Windows 10.

How is your gaming experience in Windows 10 after applying the above troubleshooting tips? Share that with us in the comments area below.

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