Steam Says Game is Running: Ultimate Troubleshooting Guide for Gamers

If steam says a game is running but it’s not, try restarting steam or your computer. Steam may sometimes incorrectly display a game as running even when it’s not.

This issue can usually be resolved by closing and reopening the steam client or restarting your computer. When this problem occurs, it can prevent you from launching other games or performing other tasks on your computer. By following these simple steps, you can fix this issue and continue playing your favorite games without interruption.

Steam Says Game is Running Ultimate Troubleshooting Guide for Gamers
Steam Says Game is Running Ultimate Troubleshooting Guide for Gamers

Understanding The Issue

Is your game on steam constantly showing the error message “steam says game is running? ” If so, don’t worry, you’re not alone. This frustrating error can interrupt your gameplay experience and leave you scratching your head. We’ll dive deep into understanding the reasons behind this error and explore the impact it can have on your overall gaming experience.

Reasons Behind The “Steam Says Game Is Running” Error

  • Multiple instances: Sometimes, when you try to launch a game on steam, it may already be running in the background. This can happen if the game crashed or failed to close properly in a previous session. As a result, steam mistakenly assumes that the game is still running and displays the error message.
  • Background processes: Certain games require additional background processes or services to run smoothly. If one of these processes gets stuck or doesn’t terminate correctly, steam may think that the game is still active, triggering the error.
  • Steam client issues: In some cases, the error may originate from problems within the steam client itself. Outdated or corrupted files, conflicting settings, or communication errors between steam and the game can all contribute to the “steam says game is running” error.

Impact Of The Error On Gameplay Experience

Experiencing the “steam says game is running” error can have various consequences for your gameplay. Here are a few key points to consider:

  • Unable to launch the game: Since the error prevents you from launching the game again, you may find yourself unable to continue playing or even start a new gaming session.
  • Save game and progress at risk: If the game crashed or closed unexpectedly, you might worry about the safety of your save files and progress. The error can create uncertainty and concern about potential data loss.
  • Resource consumption: When steam mistakenly believes a game is running, it continues to allocate system resources for it. This can result in increased cpu and memory usage, potentially impacting the performance of other tasks or games running simultaneously.
  • Inability to play other steam games: With the error persisting, attempting to play a different game on steam may prove challenging. The “steam says game is running” error might prevent you from launching any game on the platform until it is resolved.

Understanding the reasons behind the “steam says game is running” error and acknowledging the impact it can have on your gaming experience is the first step towards finding a solution. In the next section, we will explore different troubleshooting methods to help you resolve this frustrating error and get back to enjoying your games seamlessly.

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Method 1: Restart And Refresh

If you’re an avid gamer, you’ve likely experienced the frustration of trying to launch a game on steam, only to be greeted with an error message that says “game is running”. This common issue can be quite perplexing, but thankfully there are a few methods you can try to resolve it.

In this blog post, we will explore one of the most effective methods: restarting and refreshing steam. So, let’s dive right in and get your game up and running!

To fix the “game is running” error on steam, follow these steps:

  • Restart your computer – sometimes, a simple restart can work wonders in resolving technical issues. Give your computer a fresh start and close any unnecessary background programs before relaunching steam.
  • Close steam completely – make sure that steam is not running in the background. To do this, right-click on the steam icon in the system tray and select “exit” from the context menu.
  • Clearing steam cache – cached files can sometimes cause conflicts and prevent games from launching properly. To clear the steam cache, follow these steps:
  • Open your file explorer and navigate to the steam installation folder, which is usually located at “c: \program files (x86)\steam” on windows.
  • Delete all files and folders in the steam folder except for the following: “steamapps” folder, “userdata” folder, and the “steam.exe” file.
  • Once the cache files are deleted, launch steam again and check if the “game is running” error is resolved.
  • Update steam – outdated versions of steam can sometimes lead to various issues. Ensure that you are running the latest version of steam by clicking on “steam” in the top-left corner of the client and selecting “check for steam client updates” from the dropdown menu.
  • Verify game files – if the error persists, it might be worth checking the integrity of your game files. To verify the game files, right-click on the game in your steam library, select “properties,” go to the “local files” tab, and click on “verify integrity of game files.” Steam will then check for any missing or corrupted files and redownload them if necessary.

By following these steps, you should be able to resolve the “game is running” error on steam and get back to enjoying your favorite games without any interruptions. Happy gaming!

Method 2: Verifying Game Files

If you’re encountering the frustrating “steam says game is running” issue, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. One effective method to tackle this problem is by verifying the game files through the steam client. It’s a straightforward process that can help fix any corrupted or missing files that might be causing the issue.

Here’s how you can do it:

  • Open the steam client on your computer.
  • Go to your game library and locate the game that is giving you the “steam says game is running” error.
  • Right-click on the game’s name and select “properties” from the drop-down menu.
  • In the properties window, navigate to the “local files” tab.
  • Click on the “verify integrity of game files” button.
  • The steam client will then start to compare your game files with the ones stored on the server.
  • If any discrepancies or missing files are found, steam will automatically download and replace them.
  • Once the verification process is complete, restart steam and try launching the game again.

By verifying your game files through the steam client, you can ensure that all the necessary components of the game are intact and working properly. This method often resolves the “steam says game is running” issue. However, if the problem persists, you may need to consider reinstalling or updating the game.

Let’s explore that option next.

Method 3: Managing Background Processes

Steam is a popular platform for gamers to explore and enjoy a vast array of video games. However, like any other software, it can sometimes encounter issues that disrupt the gaming experience. One common problem that players may come across is the “steam says game is running” error.

This error occurs when steam incorrectly detects a game as still running, preventing users from launching another game or accessing certain features. Fortunately, there are several methods to resolve this issue. In this blog post, we will focus on method 3: managing background processes.

By closing unnecessary background processes and identifying and terminating conflicting applications, gamers can tackle this error head-on. So, let’s delve into the details and get your games back up and running smoothly!

Closing Unnecessary Background Processes:

Sometimes, multiple background processes may be running simultaneously, causing conflicts with steam. By closing unnecessary background applications, you can potentially resolve the “steam says game is running” error. Here are a few steps to help you accomplish this:

  • Open the task manager by simultaneously pressing the ctrl, shift, and esc keys.
  • Navigate to the “processes” tab to view the currently running processes.
  • Identify and select any unnecessary or unrelated processes in the list.
  • Click on the “end task” button to terminate them.

Identifying And Terminating Conflicting Applications:

Conflicting applications can also trigger the “steam says game is running” error. To overcome this obstacle, follow these steps:

  • Open the task manager using the ctrl + shift + esc shortcut.
  • Head to the “processes” tab to see the list of active processes.
  • Look for any applications that may conflict with steam, such as game launchers or background utilities.
  • Select the conflicting application and click on the “end task” button to close it.

By diligently managing background processes and identifying conflicting applications, you can rectify the “steam says game is running” error and enjoy uninterrupted gaming sessions on steam. So, let’s jump in and resolve this issue together!

Method 4: Checking Task Manager

When it comes to resolving the issue of steam saying a game is running when it actually isn’t, checking the task manager is a handy method. By using the task manager, you can identify any game-related processes that may be causing conflicts.

Here’s how you can use task manager to end these processes:

  • Open the task manager by pressing ctrl + shift + esc.
  • On the processes tab, look for any processes related to the game that is falsely shown as running.
  • Right-click on the game-related processes and select “end task” from the context menu.
  • Confirm the termination of these processes if prompted.
  • Once the game-related processes are terminated, close the task manager and try launching the game again.

By utilizing the task manager and ending any game-related processes causing conflicts, you can effectively tackle the issue of steam mistakenly thinking a game is running. Now, let’s move on to the next method to further troubleshoot this problem.

Method 5: Repairing Steam Client

Steam is a widely popular gaming platform that millions of users rely on for their gaming needs. However, sometimes users encounter an issue where steam says a game is running, even though it is not. This can be frustrating and prevent you from launching and playing your desired game.

Luckily, there are several methods you can try to resolve this issue. In this blog post, we will focus on method 5: repairing the steam client installation.

Repairing The Steam Client Installation

If you’re experiencing the “steam says game is running” issue, you can try repairing the steam client installation. This method involves fixing any corrupted files or settings that may be causing the problem. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Close steam: Before proceeding with the repair process, make sure to close steam completely. You can do this by right-clicking the steam icon in your system tray and selecting “exit” or “close steam.”
  • Navigate to steam’s installation folder: Go to the directory where you have installed steam on your computer. By default, this is usually located in “c:\program files (x86)\steam” for 64-bit systems or “c:\program files\steam” for 32-bit systems.
  • Find and run the steam repair tool: In the steam installation folder, locate the file called “steam.exe” and double-click on it to run the repair tool. This tool will automatically scan your steam files and fix any issues it finds.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions: The steam repair tool will guide you through the repair process. Simply follow the instructions provided on your screen to complete the repair.
  • Restart steam: Once the repair process is complete, restart the steam client and check if the “steam says game is running” issue has been resolved. You should now be able to launch your games without any problems.

By repairing the steam client installation, you can eliminate any underlying issues that may be causing steam to falsely indicate that a game is running. This method can help restore the functionality of your steam client and allow you to enjoy your favorite games hassle-free.

Method 6: Updating System Drivers

Keeping your system drivers updated is essential to ensure optimal performance and compatibility for your games on steam. When the “steam says game is running” issue arises, one possible solution is to update your system drivers. This method focuses on updating graphics and audio drivers.

Here’s how you can go about it:

Graphics drivers update:

  • Visit the website of your graphics card manufacturer.
  • Identify the model of your graphics card.
  • Download the latest driver software compatible with your system.
  • Install the driver software and follow the installation prompts.
  • Restart your computer to apply the changes.

Audio drivers update:

  • Determine the audio device installed on your system.
  • Visit the manufacturer’s website for your audio device.
  • Look for the latest driver that is compatible with your operating system.
  • Download the driver software.
  • Install the audio driver according to the provided instructions.
  • Restart your computer to complete the update.

Updating your system drivers, particularly graphics and audio drivers, is crucial for a better gaming experience on steam. By following these steps, you ensure that your drivers are up to date and compatible with the games you want to play.

Remember to restart your computer after installing the updated drivers to ensure the changes take effect.

Keeping your system drivers up to date is just one method to address the issue of steam claiming a game is running. However, if the problem persists, there are other solutions you can try.

Method 7: Adjusting Steam Overlay Settings

Are you encountering the frustrating issue where steam says the game is running, even though it’s not? Don’t worry, there are various methods you can try to resolve this problem. In this section, we will explore method 7, which involves adjusting the steam overlay settings.

By disabling or adjusting these settings, you can potentially resolve conflicts between the overlay and the game that may be causing steam to falsely indicate that the game is running. Below, we will outline the key points to consider when dealing with steam overlay settings:

Disabling Or Adjusting Settings In The Steam Overlay:

  • The steam overlay is a feature that allows you to access steam’s in-game interface without exiting the game itself.
  • If you’re experiencing issues with the steam overlay, disabling or adjusting its settings might help resolve the problem.
  • To disable the steam overlay, go to your steam client and navigate to the “steam” menu in the top-left corner. From there, select “settings,” followed by “in-game.” Uncheck the box that says “enable the steam overlay while in-game.”
  • In some cases, disabling the overlay might not be necessary. Instead, you can try adjusting its settings by accessing the same “steam -> settings -> in-game” menu. Here, you can customize various options, such as the shortcut keys used to open the overlay or the position of the notifications.
  • After making any changes to the steam overlay settings, restart your steam client and the game you were experiencing issues with. This will ensure that the changes take effect.
  • Keep in mind that disabling or adjusting the steam overlay settings might impact your ability to use certain features, such as in-game chat or the steam browser.
  • It’s also worth mentioning that specific games may have their own overlay settings that could conflict with the steam overlay. In such cases, refer to the game’s settings or documentation for guidance on how to address the issue.

By disabling or adjusting the settings in the steam overlay, you can potentially resolve the problem of steam erroneously indicating that a game is running. Give this method a try and see if it helps resolve your issue.

Method 8: Changing Compatibility Settings

Are you encountering the frustrating issue where steam keeps telling you that a game is running, even when it’s not? Well, fear not! There are several methods you can try to troubleshoot this problem. We will focus on method 8: changing compatibility settings.

By modifying the compatibility settings for game executable files, you might just find a solution to this pesky issue.

Here are the key points to keep in mind when it comes to modifying compatibility settings for game executable files:

  • Right-click on the game’s executable file (usually located in the game’s installation folder) and select “properties” from the context menu.
  • Navigate to the “compatibility” tab in the properties window.
  • Check the box that says “run this program in compatibility mode for” and select a compatible operating system from the drop-down menu. This will allow the game to run with settings suitable for the chosen operating system.
  • Additionally, you can try checking the box that says “disable fullscreen optimizations” to see if it resolves the issue.
  • Once you’ve made the necessary changes, click “apply” and then “ok” to save the modifications.

By modifying compatibility settings, you are essentially telling steam to adjust how it interacts with the game, potentially resolving any conflicts or compatibility issues. This method has proven effective for many users, so give it a try! Remember, though, that different games may require different compatibility settings, so play around with the options until you find the right configuration for your specific game.

Now that you know about the steps involved in changing compatibility settings for game executable files, it’s time to put this method to the test. Give it a try and hopefully, you’ll bid farewell to the never-ending “steam says game is running” problem once and for all!

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Method 9: Contacting Steam Support

If you’re encountering the frustrating issue of steam saying that a game is running, even though it’s not, don’t worry – there’s a solution! One effective method to resolve this issue is by reaching out to steam support. Contacting their customer support team can help you get the necessary assistance to troubleshoot the problem and get your game running smoothly again.

Seeking Assistance From Steam Customer Support:

  • Reach out to steam support via their website or through the steam client itself.
  • Provide detailed information about the issue you’re facing, including the specific game and any error messages you may have encountered.
  • Be sure to include relevant system information such as your operating system, hardware specs, and any recent software updates.
  • Explain the steps you’ve already taken to try and resolve the issue on your own. This will help the support team better understand the problem and provide appropriate solutions.
  • If you have any relevant screenshots or videos showcasing the problem, attach them to your support ticket. Visual evidence can often assist in diagnosing and resolving the issue more efficiently.

Remember, the steam customer support team is there to assist you. By providing them with detailed information about the issue you’re experiencing, you increase your chances of receiving accurate troubleshooting guidance to resolve the “steam says game is running” problem.

Contact them today and get back to enjoying your games hassle-free!

Steam Says Game is Running Ultimate Troubleshooting Guide for Gamers
Steam Says Game is Running Ultimate Troubleshooting Guide for Gamers

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs):

1. Why Does Steam Say A Game Is Running When It’s Not?

Steam may sometimes show that a game is running even if it’s not actually running in the background. This can happen due to various reasons like the game crashing or steam not correctly closing the game process. You can try restarting your computer or force-closing the game to resolve this issue.

2. How Can I Stop Steam From Saying A Game Is Running?

To stop steam from mistakenly showing a game as running, you can try force-closing the game through the task manager. If that doesn’t work, you can restart your computer, update your steam client, or even reinstall steam if the problem persists.
Additionally, verifying the game files could help resolve any corrupt or missing files causing the issue.

3. Is There A Way To Prevent Steam From Showing Games As Running In The First Place?

While there isn’t a guaranteed way to prevent steam from showing games as running incorrectly, there are a few steps you can take to minimize the occurrence. Make sure your games and steam client are up-to-date, regularly verify game files, and avoid forcefully closing games through abrupt system shutdowns.
These practices may help prevent false “game running” notifications from steam.


To sum up, steam’s “game is running” issue can be frustrating for gamers, but it’s not without its solutions. By following the troubleshooting steps mentioned earlier, users can effectively resolve this problem. Clearing the steam cache, verifying game files, and closing unnecessary background processes are some quick fixes that can restore the smooth running of games.

In more complex cases, disabling conflicting software or updating drivers may be necessary. It’s important to keep in mind that such issues may arise due to various reasons, including compatibility issues or system errors. Therefore, staying updated with the latest game updates and keeping the operating system updated is crucial for a seamless gaming experience.

By taking these simple steps, gamers can overcome the “game is running” error on steam, ensuring an uninterrupted gameplay session. Happy gaming!

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