What to do if Steam Overlay is not working on Windows 10

Aleksandar Ognjanovic By: Aleksandar Ognjanovic
6 minute read
steam overlay not working windows 10

Home » What to do if Steam Overlay is not working on Windows 10

Steam is the largest digital platform for plenty of reasons and much more than a simple game digital distribution service. It offers a bag of useful features and makes gaming experience so much more enjoyable. One of those features is Steam Overlay which works in the background and allows players to communicate with their fellow gamers, coordinate and share the mutual enjoyment of the play time. However, this feature isn’t as steady as one would assume. A lot of Windows 10 users have had a hard time using it.

For that reason, we enlisted a hefty list of solutions. Have in mind that some of these are applicable to other Windows iterations, but our goal was to focus on Windows 10. If you’re stuck with Steam Overlay not working, make sure to check solutions and workarounds below.

How to fix Steam Overlay not working in Windows 10

  1. Disable and re-enable the Steam Overlay for individual games
  2. Run the Steam client as an administrator
  3. Make sure you’re running the latest version
  4. Kill the “gameoverlayui.exe” process
  5. Disable other third-party applications while gaming
  6. Add an exception for Windows Firewall and a third-party antivirus
  7. Check the game integrity
  8. Update Windows 10
  9. Reinstall the Steam client
  10. Try an alternative like Discord

Solution 1 – Disable and re-enable the Steam Overlay for individual games

Let’s start with the simplest solution. Restart Steam and look for changes. After that, we can move on. We’ll need to make sure that the Steam Overlay is both enabled globally and for the individual game which is affected. Moreover, if they’re actually enabled, try disabling them and re-enabling them again.

If you’re not sure how to do it, follow these instructions:

  1. Open Steam.
  2. Click on the Steam and then Settings.steam overlay not working windows 10
  3. Choose  In-game from the left pane.
  4. Check the “Enable the Steam Overlay while in-game” box and confirm changes.steam overlay not working windows 10
  5. Now, open Library, right-click on the affected game and open Properties.
  6. Check the “Enable the Steam Overlay while in-game” box and save changes.steam overlay not working windows 10
  7. Restart Steam and start the game.

Solution 2 – Run the Steam client as an administrator

This is a frequent suggestion on various forums and we advise you to follow it through. Even though most users who run the Steam client on Windows 10 do so with an administrative account, it’s still worth a try. Also, we advise running the game through the Steam client instead of doing it directly from its own shortcut.

Here’s how to run Steam as an admin:

  1. Right-click on the Steam client’s desktop shortcut and open Properties.
  2. Choose the Compatibility tab.
  3. Check the “Run this program as an administrator” box and confirm changes.steam overlay not working windows 10

Solution 3 – Make sure you’re running the latest version

Make sure that the Steam desktop client is up to date. Issues with Steam Overlay are present for more than a few years, especially on the older Windows iterations. We have a good guess that the responsible developers did something to provide the resolution for the problem at hand.

The client updates on its own once you start it. However, you can check for updates manually, just in case something went wrong with the automatic updates.

Here’s how to check for updates in the Steam client:

  1. Open Steam.
  2. Click on the Steam in the Main bar and choose to Check for Steam Client Updates.
  3. Wait until updates are installed and restart Steam.steam overlay not working windows 10

Solution 4 – Kill the “gameoverlayui.exe” process

Some users managed to address the problem by killing the dedicated process for the Steam Overlay. This process tends to the user interface once you’ve pressed the key combination which summons Steam Overlay.

It’s important to keep the game running, so minimize it before you move to Task Manager and kill the “gameoverlayui.exe” process.

Follow these instructions to do so:

  1. Open Steam and start the game.
  2. Press Ctrl + Alt + Delete and choose Task Manager.
  3. Under Processes, find “gameoverlayui.exe” and terminate it.
  4. Get back to the game and try pressing the Shift + Tab to access the Steam Overlay.

Solution 5 – Disable other third-party applications while gaming

This is another of those highly-suggested workarounds. Some users found out that certain 3rd-party applications which work in the background can block the Steam Overlay. Also, some of them might be triggered by the Shift + Tab shortcut which is the default for the Steam Overlay.

Since we can’t say with certainty which exact application is possibly causing the problem, we suggest disabling, well, all of them. Of course, Steam is an exception, as it needs to run in the background in order for the Steam Overlay to work in the first place.

Here’s how to disable all third-party programs:

  1. In the Windows Search bar, type msconfig and open System Configuration.
  2. Under the Services tab, check the “Hide all Microsoft services” box.
  3. Click “Disable all” to disable all active third-party services.steam overlay not working windows 10
  4. Now, select the Startup tab and go to Task Manager.
  5. Prevent all programs from starting with the system and confirm changes.
  6. Restart your PC.

Solution 6 – Add an exception for Windows Firewall and a third-party antivirus

Once installed, the Steam client should be able to freely communicate through Windows Firewall. However, that doesn’t need to be the case at all times.

In addition, a third-party firewall might block the Steam from network access, which also can be a problem starter. Now, you can either disable all firewalls while playing or create an exception for steam in both the native and third-party firewalls.

Here’s how to create an exception in Windows Firewall:

  1. In the Windows Search bar, type Firewall and open “Allow an app through Windows Firewall“.steam overlay not working windows 10
  2. Click on the Change settings button.
  3. Scroll down and make sure that Steam is allowed to access both Private and Public networks.steam overlay not working windows 10
  4. Confirm changes if necessary and restart your PC.

Solution 7 – Check the game integrity

We covered a variety of workarounds concerning the client itself. However, occasionally, the problem might lie in the game. The best way to address a game issue on Steam-powered games is to repair possible corruption with the built-in tool.

The game integrity checker is the built-in utility which checks for corrupted or incomplete files and replaces them accordingly.

And here’s how to run it from the Steam desktop client:

  1. Open the Steam desktop client.
  2. Choose Library.
  3. Right-click on the affected game and open Properties.
  4. Select the LOCAL FILES tab.
  5. Finally, click on the “VERIFY INTEGRITY OF GAME FILES…” button.steam overlay not working windows 10

Solution 8 – Update Windows 10

An additional reason for Steam Overlay issues might lie in Windows 10 so making sure that you have the latest update is of utmost importance. And, of course, we suggest avoiding the insider versions of both Windows 10 and Steam. Beta programs are not stable and thus might result in stability and performance issues.

In addition, you can even roll back Windows 10 if the problem started after a major Windows Update. Just open Settings > Update & Security > Recovery and choose to rollback Windows 10 to a previous version.

Solution 9 – Reinstall the Steam client

Now, we basically covered all (or a large majority) of possible issues and the last workaround we might suggest is to try and reinstall the Steam client. This is a hail mary attempt, but it just might work. Don’t forget that the corruption of the installation files is a possibility. In addition, we suggest removing all configuration files and keeping only the installed games as re-downloading them can take a lot of time.

Once you’ve done that, give Steam another go. If the problem is persistent, there’s only so much you can do.

Solution 10 – Try an alternative like Discord

The final option is to move to another third-party application which offers similar features. For the time being, Discord is holding its ground quite well and a lot of gamers use it to communicate with their fellow gamers. There are some other alternatives, but in our opinion, Discord is more than worth a try.

With that said, we can conclude this article. If you have any additional questions or suggestions, feel free to tell us in the comments section below.

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