Unable to run Steam games in Windows 10 [COMPLETE GUIDE]

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

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

I personally play a lot of games on Steam, and every game I tried since I upgraded to Windows 10 worked like a charm. So I’m not writing this article from personal experience, but from I’ve found online.

Namely, while some players (like me) enjoy great gaming experience in Steam, others can’t even start a game.

Some users who were experiencing issues with Steam games listed a couple of solutions that worked for them. But, others said that those solutions weren’t helpful.

Here are some of the solutions that might actually work, but I cannot guarantee, because as you can see, everything is relative, and somewhere they solve the problem, somewhere they don’t.

As I said, I cannot guarantee that these solutions will work for you. If they didn’t get the job done, I can only advice you to contact the Steam support, they’ll maybe have a solution for you.

Here are some additional issues you may encounter on the way:

  • Steam games not working Windows 10 – Windows 10 is now the most popular gaming platform, so Steam issues are more common than on other operating systems.
  • Games won’t launch Windows 10 – Even if the game you’re trying to launch is not connected to Steam, you could try some of the solutions from this article (not related to Steam, of course).
  • Windows 10 games not working – If your Windows 10 games are not working, read this article for potential solutions.

What can I do if I’m unable to launch Steam games?

Table of contents:

  1. Update your Drivers and DirectX
  2. Verify game cache 
  3. Update Windows
  4. Roll back Windows
  5. Update GPU drivers
  6. Run the game as Administrator
  7. Run games in the compatibility mode
  8. Remove the ClientRegistry.blob file
  9. Relocate the Steam client

Solution 1 – Update your Drivers and DirectX

I  guess don’t have to tell you to check if your drivers are updated, but I’ll mention it just in case. 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.

Want the latest GPU drivers? Bookmark this page and always stay updated with the latest and greatest.

The same thing for DirectX, check if the latest version of DirectX is installed, and if not, go to Microsoft’s website and download it.

Updating drivers manually can be a long process, especially if you do it manually, download TweakBit’s Driver Updater Tool (100% safe and tested by us) to do it automatically. This tool is approved by Microsoft and Norton Antivirus.

After several tests, our team concluded that this is the best-automatized solution in order to prevent permanent damage to your system by downloading and installing the wrong driver versions.

Disclaimer: some features of this tool are not free.

Did you know that the majority of Windows 10 users have outdated drivers? Be a step ahead using this guide.

Solution 2 – Verify Integrity of Game Files

The very next thing you should try is verifying the integrity of your Game Files. This solution is particularly useful when games crash or you’re not even able to run them.

Here’s exactly what you need to do to verify the integrity of Steam game files:

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

Your Steam game files are now verified, and if this was indeed the problem, you should be good.

Solution 3 – Update Windows

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

Having trouble updating your Windows 10? Check out this guide that will help you solve them in no time.

Solution 4 – Rollback Windows

Everything you just read about Windows Updates doesn’t have to be the case at all. Because major Windows 10 updates are also known for causing a lot of, let’s say unnecessary issues.

For example, a lot of players complained about gaming issues in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update back in the day. So, it’s possible that a new Windows 10 update is exactly what causes this problem.

If you think that’s indeed the case, you’ll probably want to roll back to the previous version of Windows 10, at least until Microsoft releases a proper fix.

Here’s how to roll back to the previous version of Windows 10:

  1. Go to the Settings app.
  2. Navigate to Settings > 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. Now you need to select the reason for going back to the previous build. After doing that, click Next.
  5. You’ll be offered to download the latest updates. Click on the No, thanks button.
  6. Now click Next to continue.
  7. Click on Next once again and select Go back to the earlier build.

Note: 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. 

If you’re having trouble opening the Setting app, take a look at this article to solve the issue.

Solution 5 – Update GPU drivers

Graphics card drivers are also one of the most important parts of your computer software if you want to run games on it. So, make sure your GPU drivers are up to date.

In case you’re not sure how to do that, just follow these instructions:

  1. Right-click on the Start and, from the Power user menu, select Device Manager.
  2. Navigate to Display adapters and expand this section.
  3. Right-click your graphics device and open Properties.Steam games not working Windows 10
  4. Select the Details tab.
  5. From the drop-down menu, open HardwareIds.
  6. Copy the first row and paste it into your browser’s address bar.
  7. The search results should show you the exact drivers you’ll need to install.

Now, this is where you’ll need to act with caution. Drivers are often distributed by some suspicious sources and you need to avoid those like plague. Here are the official sites where you should find your drivers in their true and pure form:

Solution 6 – Run the game as Administrator

If you’re still unable to run a Steam game, you may as well try to run it as Administrator:

  1. Go to Steam Library
  2. Locate the game you want to run
  3. Right-click the game title, and go to 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, and check Run this program as AdministratorSteam games not working Windows 10
  8. Save changes
  9. Try to run the game once again

Nothing happens when you click Run as administrator? Take a look at this article and solve the issue quickly.

Solution 7 – Run games in the compatibility mode

If you’re trying to run an older game, there’s a chance it’s not compatible with your current version of Windows. So, try and run it in a compatibility mode:

  1. Go to Steam Library
  2. Locate the game you want to run
  3. Right-click the game title, and go to 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
  8. Check Run this program in compatibility mode for:
  9. Choose the operating systemSteam games not working Windows 10
  10. Save changes

Solution 8 – Remove the ClientRegistry.blob file

The ClientRegistry.blob file a binary/cache file used to store preferences and other settings. This file is the cause of many Steam-related issues, including the game launching problem. So, we’re going to remove this file. And this is how to do that:

  1. Close Steam
  2. Go to the Steam root folder (usually C:Program Files (x86)Steam)
  3. Locate the ClientRegistry.blob file. Make a copy the file and name it copy.ClientRegistry.blog
  4. Delete the original file
  5. Open Steam, and try to run your game once again.

You can’t delete a certain file in Windows 10? Check out this useful guide that will help you get rid of it.

Solution 9 – Relocate the Steam client

Relocating the Steam client can be useful when dealing with various errors, and it might be helpful in this case, as well.

Here’s what you need to do to relocate the Steam client:

  1. Exit the Steam client.
  2. Go to the Steam installation folder
  3. Browse to the Steam installation folder for the Steam installation you would like to move (D:Steam, for example).
  4. Delete all of the files and folders except the SteamApps & User data folders and Steam.exe
  5. Cut and paste the whole Steam folder to the default location (C:ProgramFilesSteam by default)
  6. Launch Steam and log into your account.

Once you’ve done this, you’ll also need to change the default installation path for the games you’ll install in the future. To do that, follow these instructions:

  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. From here, you can view your default installation path, as well as creating a new path by selecting ‘Add Library Folder’.
  5. Once you have created the new path, all future installations can be placed there.Steam games not working Windows 10
  6. Now, just right-click the newly created path, to make sure it’s set to default.

That would be all, I hope I helped you at least a little, and that you’ll find the way to play Steam games on Windows 10 as soon as possible.

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

What is your gaming experience in Windows 10? Do you have any problems or everything goes smooth? Share that with us in the comments, below.


Editor’s note: This post was originally published in August 2015 and has been completely revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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