We have to admit that Steam is one of the biggest platforms where gamers find and play games and can meet and engage with other gamers. It enables them to experience a comprehensive gaming environment where they can truly enjoy the time. However, there are times where Steam will just not launch and will get stuck on launch. The reasons are several, but the frustration is similar across people. No one likes to face this Steam stuck on preparing to launch error any time after opening the app. And there is no doubt that you are reading this article due to this. So, in this article, you will see methods to resolve the Steam games stuck on preparing to launch error systematically and effectively.
How to Fix Steam Stuck on Preparing to Launch in Windows 10
As said earlier, there are several reasons for steam to get stuck on launch. Some of the reasons are listed below for you to read and understand the Steam game won’t launch Windows 10 issue better.
- This error can occur if the integrity of the game files is compromised.
- If the Steam app, drivers, or Windows system is not updated, this issue might creep in and onto your screen.
- Using a free VPN service might cause this error.
Now, let us see some methods to fix the Steam stuck on preparing to launch error with the mentioned steps.
Method 1: Run Steam as Administrator
By running Steam as an administrator, you will allow it to take control of the entire app and access files that aren’t accessible without an administrator. Follow the steps below to do the same.
1. Right-click on the Steam.exe file and select Properties.
2. Go to the Compatibility tab and check the Run this program as an administrator option.
3. Finally, click on Apply > OK to save changes.
Method 2: Verify Integrity of Game Files
If the game files are corrupted after extracting, you may get the Steam stuck on preparing to launch error. To verify the integrity of files, follow the step below carefully:
1. Press the Windows key, type Steam, and click on Open.
2. Click the LIBRARY option as shown below.
3. Select and right-click the desired game from the left pane as depicted below and click the Properties option.
4. Now, click the LOCAL FILES option from the left pane as shown below.
5. Click on Verify integrity of demo files… as illustrated below.
6. After a few moments, the game files will get successfully validated indicating that the files are not corrupted.
Also Read: Fix Steam Error Code e502 l3 in Windows 10
Method 3: Disable Unwanted Processes
If there are applications running in the background, it will result in difficulty for the Steam application to launch properly. You will have to disable unwanted applications or processes to eliminate the Steam game won’t launch Windows 10 error. Read and follow the upcoming steps carefully to do the same.
1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys simultaneously on the keyboard to launch the Task Manager window.
2. Right-click on the unwanted processes (e.g. Google Chrome) and select the End task option.
Method 4: Disable Windows Defender
Many users have reported that Windows Defender restricts the launching of a few apps. And there is a possibility that it might be stopping the Steam application from launching. You can disable Windows Defender to see if it really is the root cause or not.
1. You need to press Windows + R keys together to open the Run dialog box.
2. Type gpedit.msc and click on OK to open Local Group Policy Editor.
3. Then, double-click on Computer Configuration.
4. Go to the Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Defender Antivirus folder.
5. Now to turn off this feature, you need to double-click on the Turn off Windows Defender Antivirus policy.
6. Here, you need to select the Enabled option. It will turn off this feature permanently on your device.
7. Click Apply, followed by OK to save changes.
8. Finally, restart the PC to get the settings activated on your device.
Also Read: How to Change Steam Profile Picture
Method 5: Update Device Drivers
You can also fix the issue by updating device drivers as outdated drivers may cause Steam stuck on preparing to launch error. So, follow the upcoming steps to update the device drivers.
1. Click on Start, type Device Manager, and hit the Enter key.
2. Double-click Display adapters to expand it.
3. Right-click on the desired driver (e.g. Intel (R) UHD Graphics) and choose Update driver as shown below.
4. Next, click on Search automatically for drivers as shown.
5A. If the drivers have been updated already, it shows The best drivers for your device are already installed.
5B. If the drivers are outdated, then they will get updated automatically.
6. Finally, update all the outdated drivers by following the above steps and restart your PC.
Method 6: Update Steam
Updating Steam will be the best option as this application might be experiencing some bugs or glitches which will get automatically fixed by an update. Read and follow the steps below to update the Steam application on your device.
1. Launch the Steam app from Windows Search.
2. Now, click on Steam followed by Check for Steam Client Updates…
3A. Steam – Self Updater will download updates automatically, if available. Click RESTART STEAM to apply the update.
3B. If you have no updates, Your Steam client is already up-to-date message will be displayed, as follows.
Also Read: How to Add Microsoft Games to Steam
Method 7: Update Windows
For the Steam application to launch completely, your system should be up to date. If your system is outdated then it is easy to have complications with the performance of any installed apps. So, if you are facing the Steam stuck on preparing to launch problem, you should consider downloading and installing the latest updates on your system OS as it will result in getting the latest interface and configuration updated which will probably solve all the problems you are facing on your system. Read our guide on How to Download and Install Windows 10 Latest Update to understand the process clearly. After implementing this method, see if you have fixed Steam games stuck on preparing to launch issue.
Method 8: Delete AppCache Folder
This folder contains cache information about the games and applications. Upon deleting this folder, it will give the app a hard refresh and fix Steam games stuck on preparing to launch error.
Note: Once you launch the Steam app, the app cache will be created automatically.
1. Press Windows + E keys together to open File Explorer
2. Navigate to the location path where you installed Steam. For example:
C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam
Note: If you are not sure, read our guide about Where are Steam Games installed?
3. Right-click on the appcache folder and choose the Delete option as shown.
4. Now, Restart your PC and run Steam as administrator again.
Method 9: Reinstall Steam
As the last measure, you can consider reinstalling the Steam application to install the latest and fresh version, which will not have the complications you are facing right now.
1. Firstly, open the Steam folder from the File Explorer and right-click on the steamapps folder, then select the Copy option.
2. Then, paste the folder in the other location to create a backup of the installed games.
3. Now hit the Windows key, type Apps & features, and click on Open.
4. Select Steam and click on the Uninstall button shown highlighted.
5. Again, click on Uninstall to confirm.
6. In the Steam Uninstall window, click on Uninstall to remove Steam.
7. Then, reboot the PC.
8. Download the latest version of Steam from your web browser, as shown below.
9. After downloading, run the downloaded SteamSetup.exe file by double-clicking on it.
10. In the Steam Setup wizard, click on the Next button.
11. Choose the Destination folder by using the Browse… option or keep the default option. Then, click on Install, as depicted below.
12. Wait for the installation to be completed and click on Finish, as shown.
13. After installing Steam, move the steamapps backup folder you previously made to the installed Steam folder.
14. Finally, Restart your PC.
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These are the methods you can implement on your system to fix the Steam stuck on preparing to launch error. We hope you were able to solve this issue with mentioned steps above in the article. Share your queries or recommendations for the next topics you think we should cover next. You can drop them in the comments section below.