- Steam is the largest game distribution platform in the world, hosting millions of users and thousands of games.
- Some Steam users have discussed an issue on forums in which Steam downloads start and stop randomly.
- If you are experiencing other issues with Steam, check out our Steam page where we regularly write about the latest news and issues.
- For everything gaming related, including news, reviews and guides, the Gaming hub is the place to be.
One user stated:
Downloads used to be continuous, but now stop and start intermittently. Making a 30 min download about 4-6 hours.
Thus, this issue greatly slows down Steam downloads.
Why is my Steam download stopping?
There are, in fact, a few potential factors behind Steam downloads starting and stopping. It can be due to conflicting third-party software, system time and time zone discrepancies, certain Windows services, or antiquated network drivers.
So, there isn’t necessarily one resolution that is guaranteed to fix the Steam download for all users. These are a few of the resolutions that have fixed Steam downloads for some users.
What to do if Steam download starts and stops?
- Close superfluous programs
- Clear Steam’s download cache
- Sync the system clock with a time server
- Update network drivers
- Stop the DiagTrack Service
- Adjust Steam’s Bandwidth Setting
- Reinstall Steam
First, users should check that there aren’t any superfluous programs running when Steam is open. That will minimize the chances of potential third-party software conflicts. Users can do that with the Task Manager as follows.
- Right-click Windows 10’s Start button to open a Win + X menu.
- Select Task Manager on that menu.
- Close all programs listed under apps by selecting them and pressing the End Task button.
- Note that some third-party programs might also be listed under Background processes. So, close any programs listed under Background processes also.
You can also disable your antivirus by right-clicking the antivirus utility’s system tray icon and selecting a disable or turn off option on its context menu.
Alternatively, users can temporarily remove the antivirus utility from the system startup by clicking Task Manager’s Start-up tab, selecting the antivirus software, and clicking Disable. Then the software won’t start with Windows.
2. Clear Steam’s download cache
Clearing Steam’s download cache can resolve download issues. To do that, open Steam.
- Click Steam and Settings to open a window that includes further options.
- Click Downloads on the left of the window.
- Press the Clear Steam Download Cache button, and click OK to confirm.
3. Sync the system clock with a time server
As mentioned, this Steam download error can be due to system time and set time zone dependencies. Users can fix that by adjusting system time to sync with a server. Follow the guidelines below to do that.
- Press the Windows key + Q to open Cortana, and enter the keyword date and time in the search box.
- Click Date & time settings to open the window shown below.
- Click Add clocks for different time zones to open the window in the shot directly below.
- Press the Change settings button on the Internet Time tab.
- Select the Synchronize with Internet time-server option, select a server from the drop-down menu, and click Update now.
- Click OK to close the window.
4. Update network drivers
Steam might not always be compatible with antiquated network drivers. So, users should check if they really need to update their network drivers.
The quickest way to do that is to add Driver Booster 6 to Windows by clicking Free Download on the software’s webpage. Then open the software to initiate and scan, which might highlight that the network adapter driver needs updating. If so, click the Update All button.
Users have said that stopping the DiagTrack service fixed Steam download stopping issues. To stop this service, do the following:
- Right-click the Taskbar to select Task Manager.
- Select Services on the Task Manager window.
- Then right-click the DiagTrack service and select Stop.
- Thereafter, open Steam.
6. Adjust Steam’s Bandwidth Setting
Download fluctuations can be due to Steam’s bandwidth settings. To adjust the bandwidth settings, click Steam > Settings in Steam.
Then click Download and then Limit bandwidth from the drop-down menu. Select a bandwidth that’s comparable to your connection speed, and then click the OK button.
7. Reinstall Steam
Some users might need to reinstall the Steam client to fix its downloads stopping. Just remember that users will also lose game data if they don’t back up the Steamapps subfolder. Users can copy the Steamapps folder and reinstall Steam as follows.
- Open File Explorer’s window with the Windows Key + E hotkey.
- Open the Steam folder in File Explorer, which might be at this path: C: > Program Files > Steam.
- Select Steamapps and press the Copy to button.
- Select another folder to copy Steamapps to.
- Press the Windows key + R hotkey.
- Input appwiz.cpl in the Open text box, and click OK.
- Select Steam and click Uninstall (or Change/Remove).
- Restart Windows before reinstalling Steam.
- Thereafter, open the Steam download page and click Install Steam. Open the software’s setup wizard to add it to Windows.
If you have any other problems with Steam downloads, sound off in the comments section below.
FAQ: Common Steam download issues
- Why are my Steam downloads stopping?
It could be a Steam issue or a problem with your connection. This guide shows you how to fix Steam downloads and get them running again. You can also increase your download speeds on Steam for a better experience.
- How do I force Steam to stop downloading?
You can stop Steam from downloading game updates in several ways, as shown in our guide.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2019 and has been since revamped and updated in March 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.