10 Easy & Proven Ways to Fix Steam Error Code 21

Turn that Error sign into a Play button, once again!

There’s this terrible annoyance that creeps in when you have your mood set for your favorite gaming battle on Steam but the platform halts you with a Do Not Enter sign. Undoubtedly, occasional errors in online platforms such as Steam are unskippable. Fortunately, you can get rid of such disruptions. We’ll discuss one such hiccup faced by gamers on Steam, error code 21, and also guide you on how to fix it. Let’s get started!

How to Fix Steam Error Code 21

What is Steam Error Code 21 and What are Its Causes

Steam Error Code 21 is a runtime error that appears when players attempt to launch or play a game on the platform. It typically manifests as a pop-up window with the message – Error 21: Steam has encountered a problem and needs to close. We are sorry for the inconvenience. Even though it isn’t as common as other Steam errors, some players do encounter this when leading to unexpected crashing.

Here are a few possible reasons that trigger the error:

  • Server Downtime Issues
  • Weak and Inconsistent Internet Connectivity
  • Outdated GPU drivers
  • Improper Installation of Runtime Libraries

How to Fix Steam Error Code 21

Now that we know the causes behind the error, let’s fix it.

Method 1: Basic Methods

We’ll start with some generic and easy solutions that might fix the error in almost no time.

Method 1.1: Restart Steam, then PC

Such errors can be a result of temporary glitches or improper loading of files which can be easily fixed by restarting the Steam client app. However, if it does not help, restart your PC once.

Method 1.2: Wait for Server Uptime

If the Steam servers in your region are facing downtime issues due to congestion caused by heavy traffic or are under maintenance, you may experience such errors. Check for the status on the official Steam status page and if any discrepancies are reported, wait until it’s fixed.

You can check out the status of the Steam servers in your region by visiting steamstat.us

Method 1.3: Restore Internet Connectivity

Having a good and stable internet connection is of utmost importance when it comes to running online apps such as Steam. Poor connections can lead to issues with the client’s connection to its server. To address this, refer to our guide on Slow Internet Connection? 10 Ways to Speed up your Internet! and improve the connectivity on the device to fix the aforementioned error.

use-the-following-DNS-server-addresses-in-IPv4-settings | steam error code 21

Method 1.4: Close Background Tasks

As background tasks consume resources such as CPU, Network, and Memory, high-intensity apps like Steam do not receive enough bandwidth to load files or download games smoothly, thereby leading to error code 21. Remove all background tasks you do not require:

1. Open Task Manager and right-click on any program you want to kill.

2. Select End Task from the context menu.

Select End task from the menu

3. Now launch Steam and check if the error is resolved.

Method 2: Change the Steam Download Region

Changing the Steam Download region connects you to a different server, thereby unrestricted global content for you. Follow the steps below:

1. Open Steam, click on Steam at the top left corner, and select Settings.

2. Move to the Downloads tab and expand the drop-down menu for the Download region option.

Move to the Downloads tab and expand the drop-down menu for the Download region option. | steam error code 21

3. In the Restart Required pop-up, click on Restart Now to save the changes.

Method 3: Disable Steam Beta Client (If Applicable)

Beta programs offer users the opportunity to try out new features even before launch. Hence, they’re unstable and often encounter such errors. If you have an active Steam Beta program, disable it and switch back to the stable client version to fix the issue.

1. Launch the Steam client on the PC.

2. Click on Steam at the top left corner and select Settings from the menu.

3. In the Interface tab, click the drop-down arrow next to Client Beta Participation, and select No beta chosen.

Move to the Interface tab, click the drop-down arrow next to Client Beta Participation, and select No beta chosen. | steam error code 21

Also Read: 18 Best Free Cloud Gaming Apps

Method 4: Clear Corrupt Cache on Steam Client

Corrupt and damaged Steam files could lead to multiple errors with the client service, one of which is the error code 50. You can however delete them to get the errors fixed.

Method 4.1: Clear Steam Web Browser Data

Steam’s built-in web browser saves temporary data in the form of cache files. Follow the steps to remove them:

1. Open Steam, click on Steam at the top left corner, and choose Settings.

Click on the Steam menu located in the top-left corner of the Steam client. From the dropdown menu that appears, select Settings

2. Navigate to the In Game tab and next to Delete Web Browser Data, click on Delete.

Navigate to the In Game tab on the left and click on Delete next to Delete Web Browser Data.

Method 4.2: Delete Steam Downloads Cache

Follow the steps to delete cache files stored by Steam downloads:

1. In Steam, click on Steam at the top left corner, and select Settings.

2. Now in the Downloads tab, click on Clear Cache next to Clear Download Cache.

Click on Clear Cache next to Clear Download Cache. | steam error code 21

Method 5: Reinstall Runtime Libraries

Steam relies on specific runtime libraries, particularly the Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable Packages, to function properly. When these libraries are either missing, corrupted, or outdated, it can result in various runtime errors. To reinstall runtime libraries on Windows, follow the steps below:

1. Open the Control Panel and click on Uninstall a program under Programs.

2. Right-click on Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable Packages in the list of installed programs and select Uninstall.

Right-click on Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable Packages in the list of installed programs and select Uninstall.

3. Follow the on-screen prompts to complete the uninstallation process for each package.

4. Once done, launch the official Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable Packages website.

5. Scroll down to the section titled Visual Studio 2015, 2017, 2019, and 2022.

6. Find the download links for both x86 (32-bit) and x64 (64-bit) versions. Download both if you are unsure which version your system needs.

Open your web browser and go to the official Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable Packages download page website. Scroll down to the section titled Visual Studio 2015, 2017, 2019, and 2022 and find the download links for both x86 (32-bit) and x64 (64-bit) versions. Download both if you are unsure which version your system needs | steam error code 21

7. Locate the downloaded installer files (usually in your Downloads folder) and install both.

8. Once installed, Restart the PC, launch Steam, and check if the error is fixed now.

Also Read: 35 Best Sandbox Games on Steam

Method 6: Update Steam, then Windows

Outdated apps are prone to software bugs and glitches. Usually, these are fixed by developers via subsequent updates. 

1. Open Steam and then click on Steam at the top left corner.

2. Click on Check for Steam Client Updates… 

Click on Check for Steam Client Updates... 

3. Wait for Steam to check for updates. Download and install it.

4. Finally Update Windows on the PC and Restart it.

Method 7: Method Update Graphics Drivers

Steam relies heavily on your computer’s graphics card to display games and content. When your graphics card drivers are outdated or incompatible, it can lead to issues with how Steam functions. Refer to our guide on How to Update Graphics Drivers in Windows 11.

Click on Update driver in the side menu. | steam error code 21

Method 8: Run Disk Cleanup

By running disk cleanup and removing these unnecessary files, you free up valuable system resources, including disk space and memory. This can help ensure that the PC has enough resources available to run Steam and its games smoothly. Follow the steps below to do so:

1. Search for Disk Cleanup in the Start menu then open the utility.

2. Select the C: drive (usually Windows) and click OK.

Select your C: drive (usually Windows) and click OK

3. Check the file types you want to delete, then click OK and confirm with Delete Files.

Check the file types you want to delete, then click OK and confirm with Delete Files

4. Wait for the cleanup to finish, then Restart the PC.

Also Read: Top 22 Games Like Heardle

Method 9: Disable Script Debugging

Steam encounters script errors such as the error code 21 while trying to load web-based content if the script debugging is enabled. Disabling it, however, can prevent script-related errors from interfering with Steam’s operation. Follow the undermentioned steps:

1. Search for Internet Options in the Start menu and open the utility.

2. Click on the Advanced tab in the Internet Options window.

3. Scroll down to the Browsing section and check the option for Disable script debugging (Other).

Scroll down to the Browsing section and check the option for Disable script debugging (Other). | steam error code 21

4. Click Apply and OK.

5. Now launch Steam and check if the error is resolved.

Method 8: Reinstall Steam

Lastly, if none of the above solutions help you out and the error still persists, you can try reinstalling Steam as this will ensure fresh installation of the client, potentially resolving any underlying issues. 

Firstly, follow the steps in our guide on How to Backup Steam Games to backup your Steam data. Once done, follow the steps:

1. Open the Control Panel and under Programs, select Uninstall a program.

2. Right-click on Steam and select Uninstall.

Finally click Uninstall

3. Select Yes in the UAC prompt to confirm.

4. Open Steam’s official website on any browser and click on INSTALL STEAM.

Click on Install Steam | steam error code 21

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So, that is it! We hope our guide helped you fix Steam Error Code 21. If you have any queries or suggestions for us, do let us know in the comments box below. Stay tuned to TechCult for more such app-related issues.

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