FIX: Steam needs to be online to update in Windows 10/11

Milan Stanojevic
by 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 a front-end web developer. Read more
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  • If you're getting the Steam needs to be online to update it's likely that the platform won't work properly.
  • Here are the details that you should check in order to make sure that Steam runs smoothly.
  • Since this continues to be a very popular gaming platform, we've covered it extensively in the Steam Hub.
  • When your gaming experience is compromised by various issues, find the right solutions in our Gaming section.
solve Steam needs to be online to update error in Windows 10
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Many Windows 10 users use Steam regularly, but a few of them reported an error message saying Steam needs to be online to update on Windows 10.

This is a strange problem that will prevent you from playing your favorite games.

Fortunately, there are a few solutions available and we’re discussing them below.

How can I fix Steam needs to be online to update error?

1. Run Steam in Compatibility mode

  1. Right-click Steam’s shortcut and select Properties.
  2. Go to the Compatibility tab.
  3. Check Run this program in compatibility mode for and choose Windows 7 from the list of options.
  4. Optional: You can also check Run this program as an administrator option.
  5. Try starting Steam again.

2. Disable the Windows Firewall

  1. Press Windows Key + S, type Firewall, and select Windows 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.

If you want to find out how to check if Windows Firewall is blocking an app or a feature, take a look at this complete guide.

3. Delete files from Steam directory

  1. Go to Steam’s installation directory. (By default, it should be C:\Program Files\Steam or C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam).
  2. Delete all files except 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. Press Windows Key + R and type regedit. Click OK or press Enter.
  2. Go to the following folder: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Valve\Steam
  3. In the right pane click on Offline DWORD and set its Value Data to 0.
  4. Close the Registry editor, restart your computer and check if the problem is resolved.

5. Temporarily disable your antivirus

In some cases, the Steam update error can be caused by your antivirus software. What you need to do in this case is to list Steam as an exception in your antivirus software and firewall.

If adding Steam to the list of exceptions doesn’t work, disable your antivirus and try running Steam again. If the problem still persists, perhaps you should temporarily uninstall your antivirus.

In case you’re a Norton user, check out this guide to find out how to completely remove it from your PC. There is a similar guide for McAfee users, too.

Despite such problems, we recommend switching to another antivirus software, especially one that can handle more demanding processes such as games.

Many tools offer fast online protection, that includes just the necessary features to keep your device safe from any possible cyber-attacks.

6. Copy the Steam files from another computer

In order to complete this solution, you’ll need another computer with a working version of Steam and a USB flash drive.

  1. On another device, 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 Yes.
  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.
  2. Choose Properties from the menu.
  3. Go to the Shortcut tab and, in the Target section, add -tcp after the quotation marks.
  4. Click Apply and OK to save changes.
  5. Optional: Go to the Compatibility tab and check Run this program as administrator.
  6. Run the shortcut and check if the issue is resolved.

8. Turn off Proxy settings in Internet Explorer

  1. Press Windows Key + S and type Internet Explorer. Choose Internet Explorer from the list of results.
  2. Click on the Tools icon in the top right corner and choose Internet Options from the menu.
  3. In the Internet Options window, go to the Connections tab and click on LAN settings.
  4. Make sure Use a proxy server for your LAN is not checked. Click OK to save changes.

9. Use Google’s DNS

  1. Press Windows Key + S and type Network and Sharing.
  2. Choose Network and Sharing Center from the list.
  3. Click on Change adapter settings.
  4. You should see the list of the network adapter. Right-click your current network adapter and choose Properties.
  5. Select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and click Properties.
  6. Click on the Advanced button.
    ipv4-advanced Steam needs to be online to update
  7. Go to the DNS tab. (If you have any addresses in the DNS section, write them down in case you need them.)
  8. Click Add and enter and/or
    add-dns Steam needs to be online to update
  9. Save changes and restart your network connection.
  10. Try to start Steam again.

If you can’t reach your DNS server, see in this article a few simple steps that you can try to restore it.

10. Edit the hosts file

  1. Press Windows Key + S and type Notepad.
  2. Right-click Notepad from the list of results and choose Run as administrator.
  3. When Notepad opens, go to File and Open.
  4. Navigate to this folder: C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc
  5. Double click the hosts file to open it.
  6. If you don’t see any files make sure to change Text Documents to All Files in the bottom right corner.
    hosts-file Steam needs to be online to update
  7. When hosts file opens add the following lines at the end:
  8. Save changes and close Notepad.
  9. Press Windows Key + X and choose Command Prompt from the menu.
    command-prompt-start-menu Steam needs to be online to update
  10. Copy the following command and press Enter to run it:
    • ipconfig /flushdns
      flush-dns-cmd Steam needs to be online to update
  11. Close Command Prompt and start Steam again.

If you don’t like Notepad and you’re looking for an alternative, take a look at this list to find the best text editors right now.

According to some alternative solutions, you can fix this problem by also adding the following to the hosts’ file:


11. Set Steam Client Services Startup Type to Automatic

  1. Press Windows Key + R and type services.msc.
  2. Locate Steam Client Service and double click it.
  3. In Steam Client Service, locate Startup type and change it from Manual to Automatic.
    steam-client-service-automatic Steam needs to be online to update
  4. Click Apply and OK to save changes.
  5. Restart your computer and start Steam again.

12. Disable Steam from automatically starting

  1. Open Steam.
  2. Go to Steam and  Settings.
    steam-settings Steam needs to be online to update
  3. Go to the Interface tab and uncheck Run Steam when my computer starts.
    run-steam-when-my-computer-starts Steam needs to be online to update
  4. Click OK to save changes.

Although there were rare, users who reported instances when Steam started, but 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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