How to fix Steam’s Preparing to launch error on Windows 10

Matthew Adams
by Matthew Adams
Windows & Software Expert
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steam preparing to launch

The Steam game client provides the best gaming platform for Windows 10. However, Steam doesn’t always launch games when players expect it to. The Preparing to launch error is one of the more frequent occurrences when games don’t run. Steam gets stuck on a Preparing to launch window instead of running the game.

There can be a number of potential factors behind Steam’s Preparing to launch error. Thus, there are a variety of potential fixes for the issue. Those Steam users who need to fix a Preparing to launch error to play some games can check out these potential resolutions for it below.


What can I do if Preparing to launch stays open on Steam?

  1. Verify the Game’s Cache
  2. Clean Boot Windows 10
  3. Update Graphics Card, DirectX, and Audio Drivers
  4. Keep Windows 10 Update
  5. Reinstall the Steam Client Software

1. Verify the Game’s Cache

The Preparing to launch error can be due to corrupted game caches. So, players should verify the integrity of all the caches for games that Steam doesn’t launch. Follow the guidelines below to verify a Steam game’s cache.

  1. Open the Steam window.
  2. Click Library to open the game collection.
  3. Then right-click a game that Steam doesn’t launch and select Properties.
    steam preparing to launch properties
  4. Then click the Local files tab, which includes a Verify integrity of game files option.
    verify integrity steam preparing to launch
  5. Press the Verify integrity of game files button.

2. Clean Boot Windows 10

Conflicting software can also have an impact on Steam games launching. Antivirus, VPN, FTP, P2P, and third-party firewall software are the most likely software to conflict with Steam. Therefore, removing conflicting software is another potential fix for the Preparing to launch error.

The best way to do that, without uninstalling the software, is to clean boot Windows. That will also free up RAM and other system resources for games. Users can clean boot Windows 10 as follows.

  1. First, users need to open the System Configuration window by pressing the Windows key + R hotkey, entering ‘msconfig’ in Run, and clicking the OK button.steam preparing to launch system configuration
  2. Next, select the Selective startup option on the General tab.
  3. Deselect the Load startup items check box, which removes third-party software from the system startup.
  4. Select the Use original boot configuration option.
  5. In addition, select the Load system services check box.
  6. Next, select the Services steam preparing to launch
  7. Select the Hide all Microsoft services option on the Services tab.
  8. Press the Disable all button to deselect the remaining third-party services.
  9. Select the Apply option.
  10. Then click OK to exit the System Configuration window.
  11. Thereafter, select Restart on the dialog box window that opens.restart steam preparing to launch

3. Update Graphics Card, DirectX, and Audio Drivers

Players should make sure that they have the most updated graphics card, audio, and DirectX drivers. Games might not launch if those drivers are outdated, missing, or corrupted in some way.

The quickest way to generally update system drivers is to add Driver Booster 6 to Windows 10. Click Free Download on DB 6’s page to download and install that software. Thereafter, Driver Booster 6 will automatically scan for and list devices for which a driver update is required when launched. Click the Update All button to update the drivers for the listed devices.

    –  Download now Driver Booster 6

4. Keep Windows 10 Update

Players need to make sure that they’re utilizing the latest build version of Windows 10 and that it’s fully updated. That will ensure the platform has all the latest Microsoft .NET frameworks which some games need.

The Windows Update Service automatically updates the platform, so players don’t usually need to do that much unless they’ve turned off automatic updates. Some players might have also chosen to roll back Windows 10 to a previous version after a build update.

Players can manually check for missing updates by entering ‘updates’ in Cortana’s search box and clicking Check for updates. Then press the Check for updates button on the window that opens.

check for updates steam preparing to launch


Users can also manually install the latest Windows 10 build version with the Media Creation Tool.

5. Reinstall the Steam Client Software

As a last resort, try reinstalling the Steam client software. Then players can install an updated Steam client. Note, however, that players will lose game data when uninstalling Steam unless they move the Steamapps subfolder out Steam‘s folder.

Players can move the preserved Steamapps folder into the new Steam directory after reinstalling the software. This is how players can reinstall Steam in Windows 10.

  1. Open the Steam folder in File Explorer.
  2. Select Steamapps and press the Copy to button. Choose a folder to copy Steamapps to.copy to steam preparing to launch
  3. Close the File Explorer window.
  4. Enter appwiz in Run, and click the OK button.programs and features steam preparing to launch
  5. Select Steam and click Uninstall.
  6. Restart Windows before reinstalling Steam.
  7. Then click Install Steam on the Steam download page to reinstall the software.

Some of the above tips might kick-start Steam games that get stuck on launch. In addition, turning Windows Defender off and running Steam as an administrator might also resolve the Preparing to launch error.


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