FIX: Nothing happens when you click Play on Steam

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Deputy Editor
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  • Many users reported that their Steam game launches but then nothing happens.
  • Alternatively, Steam prepares to launch then nothing follows.
  • So when Steam launches the game but nothing happens, you should take a look at a few settings.
  • We've listed some solutions below work, but if none work, you'll have to reinstall the platform.
nothing happens click play steam
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Steam is a great platform for gaming, but many users reported that nothing happens when clicking Play on Steam. This can be a big problem since you won’t be able to launch any games at all, but today we’re going to show you how to fix this issue.

There are many Steam issues that you can encounter, and several users reported that they are unable to run games on Steam.

Similarly, users also mentioned that sometimes Steam launches the game but nothing happens or Steam game displays a Running message, then stops.

So check out the solutions below if nothing happens when you want to play games on Steam.

What can I do if nothing happens when I click play on Steam?

  1. Check your antivirus
  2. Check if the game is properly installed
  3. Start Steam as administrator
  4. Change download region
  5. Check to have Visual C++ Redistributables installed
  6. Verify the integrity of game cache
  7. End Steam process and restart it
  8. Reinstall the problematic game
  9. Reinstall Steam

1. Check your antivirus

steam won't play

According to users, sometimes your antivirus can interfere with Steam and that will cause this and many other problems to appear. To check if your antivirus is the problem, try disabling certain antivirus features, such as real-time scanning or folder protection. If that doesn’t work, you might have to disable your antivirus altogether.

Sometimes disabling antivirus doesn’t help, and if that’s the case, you might have to remove your antivirus completely.

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2. Check if the game is properly installed

check if the game is properly installed
  1. Locate Steam’s installation directory and go to the Steamapps directory.
  2. Find the installation directory of the game you’re trying to run.
  3. Look for a Launcher. If this folder isn’t available, try running setup.exe file that should be located in the game’s directory.
  4. Follow the instructions on the screen to complete the setup.
  5. Once the setup is finished, restart Steam and try to run the game again.

Bear in mind that this isn’t a universal solution, so it might not work for every game, but it’s still worth trying out.


3. Start Steam as administrator

  1. Locate Steam shortcut and right-click it.
  2. Now choose Run as administrator from the menu.
    run as administrator steam not working
  3. Once the Steam starts, try running any game.

If this method works, you’ll need to repeat it every time you want to play anything on Steam. However, you can set Steam to always run with administrative privileges. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Steam’s installation directory and locate exe. Right-click it and choose Properties from the menu.
    properties menu nothing happens when I click play on steam
  2. Go to the Compatibility tab.
  3. Check Run this program as an administrator option and click Apply and OK to save changes.
    run this program as an administrator steam not working

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After making this change, Steam will always start with administrative privileges and the issue should be permanently resolved.


4. Change download region

change download region
  1. Start Steam.
  2. Go to the Settings > Downloads.
  3. Look for the Download region Now choose a location that is closest to you. Alternatively, you can choose a location that is not the closest but still near.

After making this change, restart Steam and try to run your game again.


5. Check to have Visual C++ Redistributables installed

check to have Visual C++ Redistributables installed

If you can’t launch a certain game on Steam, perhaps the issue is related to the missing components. Many games require Visual C++ Redistributables in order to run, and if a Steam game won’t launch, it’s possible that you don’t have the necessary Visual C++ components installed.

There are several ways to install these missing components, but the easiest method is to check the game’s installation directory. Look for vcredist directory and install all files from it. There should be two files available, one for x64 and one for x86 version of Windows, and you need to install both.

After doing that, try to start the game again and check if everything works. Bear in mind that you might have to do the same for other Steam games that are giving you this problem.


6. Verify the integrity of game cache

  1. Start Steam and locate the game that you’re unable to run.
  2. Right-click the game and choose Properties from the menu.
    properties steam play nothing happens steam
  3. Navigate to the Local Files tab and click Verify integrity of game files button.
    verify integrity of game files steam games not working
  4. The verification process will now start. Depending on the size of your game, this process can take about 15-30 minutes, so don’t interrupt it.

Once the scan is completed, the game should be completely repaired and it should start working again.


7. End Steam process and restart it

  1. Start Task Manager. The fastest way to do that is to use Ctrl + Shift + Esc keyboard shortcut.
  2. When Task Manager opens, go to the Details tab. Now locate Steam on the list, right-click it, and choose End Task from the menu. Repeat this for all Steam processes on the list.
    end task task manager steam nothing happens

Once you end all Steam processes, start Steam again and check if the problem is still there. Bear in mind that this is just a workaround, so you might have to repeat it every time you encounter this issue.


8. Reinstall the problematic game

reinstall the problematic game
  1. Open Steam and go to your Library.
  2. Locate the game that you can’t start, right-click it and choose Delete Local Content.
  3. When the confirmation dialog appears, click Delete.
  4. Wait while Steam removes the selected game.

Once the game is removed, download it again and check if the problem is still there. In order to completely remove the game, some users are suggesting to remove the game folder from steamapps directory and all game-related directories from the Documents folder.

This might be a drastic solution, and you should use it only if other solutions didn’t work for you.


9. Reinstall Steam

reinsteall steam
  1. Locate Steamapps directory and move it to a safe location. This directory holds all your games, so be sure to back it up. You can find this directory in C:Program FilesSteam
  2. After backing up Steamapps folder, uninstall Steam like you would uninstall any other application.
  3. Now download the Steam client again, install it and move the Steamapps folder to its original location.

Once you start Steam, you should be able to start all your games without any issues. This is a drastic solution, and you should use it only if the previous solutions didn’t work for you.

If nothing happens when you click Play on Steam, the issue might be related to the missing components or the game’s installation files. However, we hope that you managed to fix this problem using one of our solutions.

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Editor's Note: This article was originally published in February 2019 and was revamped and updated in January 2021 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.