why does steam take so long to start

If you want to know why does Steam take so long to start, read on to get all the details and fix this problem in minutes.

If you are into PC gaming you have almost certainly used Steam, or at least know what it is.

Comfortably the biggest online gaming store for PC, Steam is a place where you can download games and access other online gaming features.

However, like other online services, Steam can sometimes have problems and not work as it should.

One common issue on Steam is when the desktop app takes too long to start. While there is a launcher built into the app, many users complain about problems starting up the service.

On this page you can read why this issue may be happening to you and what you can do to fix it today.

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Why Does Steam Take So Long to Start Up?

Like most online problems, there could be several causes for Steam not starting or taking a long time to start. Below we will cover some of the most common reasons for you to troubleshoot.

Compatibility Mode

Sometimes when Steam is not loading or taking a long time, you should check that the app is compatible with the device or operating system you have. You can run Steam in compatibility mode to solve these problems.


Do you have admin permissions on your device? It could be that Steam has not been given permission to run on your device or network.

This is most common in enterprise settings but could also accidentally happen on your home device. For example, when Steam is installed, it asks for specific permissions. If you did not grant them the app will not work.

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There are some Steam features that will make the app slower to start. Family Sharing is the most notable example because Steam must make additional checks before starting up.

You can overcome this problem by simply turning off Family Sharing.

Other Common Steam Startup Problem Causes

Some of the most common causes that may lead to Steam startup problem are as follows:

Cache and Cookies

A common app problem that smartphones users will be familiar with is corrupted data in the cache and cookies of an app.

This can happen to Steam on desktop too, so sometimes clearing the cache and cookies can help boost startup performance.

Background Apps

This is one of the less common facts about apps… sometimes apps can be slow because of other programs that are running.

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We are not talking about a problem with system resources, but more that some apps don’t play nicely with each other. There are some apps that are known to slow Steam down.

Antivirus Overload

It is common for some people to install a third-party antivirus software and forget to turn off Windows/Microsoft Defender.

That means two antivirus tools running at the same time, with the third-party solution possibly scanning Steam when it tries to start, slowing the process down.

Fixing Common Steam Startup Problems

fix steam start up time

You now know the most common problems that cause Steam to misbehave on startup. Now we can move on to fixing these common issues, allowing you to start playing your favorite games quicker.

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We have several methods you can check out below:

Clear the Cache and Cookies

As mentioned above, Steam can often slow down on start up because of corrupted data in the cache and cookies. This sounds more alarming than it really is… in fact, it is a common problem for all apps.

Usually, the “corrupt” data is really a lack of space left because there is too much information stored. Simply clearing the data is a way to fix this problem.

Here are the steps:

  • Right click the Steam shortcut on Windows 10 and choose the option to run the app as administrator.
  • When the Steam Client opens, head to the navbar and choose the Settings option from the menu.
  • There is a Web Browser tab visible on the left which you must open.
  • In this section, locate the Delete Web Browser Cache and Delete Web Browser Cookies options.
  • When the system asks, select Ok, which will save the changes you have made.
  • You now must end the Steam task in the Task Manager (Ctrl+Alt+Dlt) and restart the app.
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Manage the Download Cache

At its core, Steam is a service focused on allowing customers to buy games by downloading them. Of course, many gamers on Steam have downloaded plenty of games on the platform.

If you are one of those people with a lot of downloads, this could cause the app to slow down on startup.

Each download leaves behind a trace in the form of data in the downloads cache.

You can clean up Steam and make it run faster but clearing this cache.

  • Right click on the Steam app on your Windows desktop and choose to Run as Administrator.
  • When the client window opens, find the Settings option
  • Navigate to the Downloads tab and click the option Clear Download Cache.
  • Click to Ok to finalize your changes and then go to the Task Manager to end the Steam app process.
  • Restart the app to check it now starts properly.
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Repair Steam

Steam has a handy feature that lets you check for issues and repair them automatically. This is a good first option for any issue you have with the app, including Steam not starting properly.

To repair Steam, you will need to use the “Run” application on Windows 10.

Step #1. Open “Run” on Windows 10 (Windows + R or search “Run” in Windows Search).

Step #2. In the available field on the Run program, type the SteamService.exe file address on your computer.

Step #3. If you cannot locate Steam on your PC, right click the app shortcut on the desktop and choose “Open file location”.

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Step #4. When the file location opens, copy the directory address form the File Explorer address bar and paste it into the “Run” program.

When you input the SteamService.exe address, the repair tool will launch as a command prompt (CMD) windows and start to automatically repair the Steam app.

It is important to remember that the CMD window does not always show information, so do not worry if you do not see anything.

When the Steam Repair is finished, relaunch the app to see if it is now starting up more quickly.

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Why does Steam take so long to start? As you can see above, there are many reasons why Steam may not startup as quickly as it previously did.

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Instead, of allowing this problem to slow down your gaming, use the guide above to solve Steam startup issues. The methods we have included will solve the most common causes of a slow starting Steam client.

Nicole B