Steam needs to be online to update in Windows 10/11 [Fix]

by Milan Stanojevic
Milan Stanojevic
Milan Stanojevic
Windows & Software Expert
Milan has been enthusiastic about PCs ever since his childhood days, and this led him to take interest in all PC-related technologies. Before joining WindowsReport, he worked as... read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • Some users reported that Steam needs to be online to update in Windows 10/11 and, likely, the platform won't work properly.
  • Changing the compatibility mode for the app is one of the best solutions you can try.
  • Because they can interfere with Steam, we recommend disabling Windows Firewall and your antivirus software.
  • If you want to get rid of the Steam need to be online to update in Windows 10/11 message, you should turn off the proxy settings.
Steam needs to be online to update windows 10 11

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Many Windows 10 users use Steam regularly, but a few of them reported an error message saying that Steam needs to be online to update. It seems like this can happen on both Windows 10 and 11.

This is a strange problem that will prevent you from playing your favorite games, so we understand how annoying it can be.

Fortunately, there are a few solutions available and we’re discussing them below. Before discovering them, we consider properly presenting some of the most common causes that can lead to today’s problem.

Why am I getting SteamCMD Fatal error Steam needs to be online error?

If Steam fails to connect with local client, you might get an error message regarding your Internet connection.

Another issue that users reported is Unable to initialize Steam API, and if this happens it means that certain online components aren’t accessible to you.

Sometimes you might have permission errors, and if that happens, you’ll encounter Steam access denied error, however, all these issues can be easily resolved.

Can I play Steam games while being offline?

The short answer to this question is Yes, you can play Steam games even when not connected to the Internet, and it can be done with Steam’s built-in Offline Mode.

That being said, to do this without issues, you should set the process up first by following these steps while online:

  1. Start your Steam app while being online.
  2. Make sure the Remember my password option is ticked before logging in.
  3. Launch any game you want to play online to esure that it is updated to the latest version.
  4. Shut down the game once the above step is confirmed.
  5. Open the Steam menu, and click on Settings.
  6. Choose Account, and make sure that the Don’t save account credentials on this computer option is not selected.
  7. Click the Steam menu, and choose Go Offline.
  8. Choose the Restart in Offline Mode option to make the change.

If the above-mentioned steps are followed correctly, then you will be able to play some Steam games offline without any trouble.

What can I do if Steam needs to be only online to update?

1. Run Steam in Compatibility mode

  1. Right-click Steam shortcut and select Properties.
  2. Go to the Compatibility tab, then checkmark the Run this program in compatibility mode for box.
  3. Now, choose Windows 8 from the list of options.
  4. Check Run this program as an administrator option.
  5. Try starting Steam again.

2. Disable the Windows Firewall

  1. Press on Windows + S keys, type Firewall, and select Windows Defender Firewall from the list of results.
  2. Click on Turn Windows Firewall on or off.
  3. Select Turn off Windows Firewall (not recommended) for both private and public network settings.
  4. Click OK to save changes.

Disabling the firewall isn’t recommended, so after you’ve updated Steam, be sure to turn on Windows Firewall back again.

To prevent data Internet connection-related errors in Steam, it’s also advised to see if Windows Firewall is blocking a port or program.

3. Delete files from Steam directory

  1. Right-click on your Steam shortcut, then choose to Open file location.
  2. There, delete all files except these ones: Steam.exe and Steamapps folder.
  3. Restart your computer.
  4. After your computer boots, go to Steam’s installation directory again and run Steam.exe.

4. Use the Registry Editor

  1. Open the Windows Run dialog box by using the following keyboard shortcut: Windows + R.
  2. Type regedit, then click on OK.
  3. Go to the following folder: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Valve\Steam
  4. In the right pane, click on Offline DWORD.
  5. If not available, right-click the right pane and choose New and select DWORD (32-bit) Value.
  6. Set the name to Offline, then double-click on it.
  7. Set its Value Data to 0 and save changes.
  8. Close the Registry Editor, restart your computer and check if the problem is resolved.

5. Temporarily disable your antivirus

If you’re using Norton, visit our uninstall guide for Norton Antivirus for more information.

In case you’re running McAfee, read our guide on how to remove McAfee antivirus for more information.

For those of you who are not sure how to perform the process in your particular case, we strongly recommend visiting the manufacturer’s official website and checking if there is any info regarding this subject. If not, you can always raise a ticket to the support team.

To avoid potential Steam problems, we also suggest using the best antivirus software for 2021.

6. Copy the Steam files from another computer

  1. Connect a flash drive on a working PC and copy all files from Steam’s installation directory, except Steamapps folder.
  2. Connect the USB flash drive to the initial PC and paste all the files to your Steam installation directory.
  3. When asked to overwrite files, click on the option to replace them.
  4. Run Steam.exe to check if the issue is resolved.

7. Add -tcp parameter to Steam shortcut

  1. Locate Steam shortcut and right-click it. Choose Properties from the menu.
  2. Go to the Shortcut tab and, in the Target section, add -tcp after the quotation marks.
  3. Click Apply and OK to save changes.
  4. Go to the Compatibility tab and check Run this program as administrator.
  5. Run the shortcut and check if the issue is resolved.

8. Turn off Proxy settings

  1. Use the following hotkey to open Windows Settings: Windows + I
  2. Now, go to the Network & Internet section.
  3. Select Proxy from the left pane.
  4. In the right pane disable all options.

If you’re not familiar with proxy and how it works, read our proxy vs VPN guide to learn more about it.

9. Use Google’s DNS

  1. Press on the Windows key, type view network connections, then select View Network Connections from the list of results.
  2. You should see the list of the network adapter. Right-click your current network adapter and choose Properties.
  3. Select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and click Properties.
  4. Click on the Advanced button.
  5. Go to the DNS tab. (If you have any addresses in the DNS section, write them down in case you need them.)
  6. Click Add and enter and/or
  7. Save changes and restart your network connection.
  8. Try to start Steam again.

10. Disable Steam from automatically starting

  1. Press on the Windows key, type Steam, then open the app.
  2. From the top-left corner of the window, select Steam.
  3. Navigate to Settings.
  4. Go to the Interface tab and uncheck the Run Steam when my computer starts option.
  5. Click OK to save changes.

Although there were rare, users who reported instances when Steam started, it couldn’t establish a network connection. So this solution should prevent the error from occurring.

13. Run SteamTmp.exe

Last but not least, you should try running SteamTmp.exe from Steam’s installation directory.

Some users reported that this is how they fixed the problems, so you might want to try that.

The Steam needs to be online to update error can cause lots of problems with your gaming, but we hope that our solutions were helpful to you.

If you’re aware of an alternative solution, leave it in the comments section below. Also, leave there any other questions you may have and we’ll be sure to check them out.

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