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    8 Solutions for When Steam Won't Download Games to Your Computer

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    Judit Llordés

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    Steam is a paradise for gamers, and the digital game distribution service adds millions of new users every month. You can search, purchase and download games using the Steam client. While the Steam client receives regular updates, some unfortunate users often struggle when Steam doesn't download games to their computer.

    This is actually a two-pronged problem. One is where Steam won't download a new game to your system. And the other is that Steam will not download updates for an installed game. Thankfully, both are solvable.

    Since this error is about downloading games or updates, you can check if your internet connection is working properly. Also, you can restart your computer to check if anything changes. These are common solutions that can fix download errors like the one you are facing.

    • Steam says the game is running? How to solve this problem?

    1. Role offline

    Check if you have enabled the setting to use Steam offline by mistake. If not, try using it and disable it after a couple of seconds. Select the Go Offline option from the Steam menu and wait a few moments for the settings to take place. You will be prompted to restart Steam in a pop-up. Confirmation.

    Then go back and select go online.

    • How to restore deleted Steam games on Windows 10

    2. Empty the download cache

    I'm not talking about the cache on your Windows or macOS computer. No, I'm talking about the Steam client cache and there is a way to clear it directly from the app.

    Step 1: open the Steam client and select Settings in Steam.

    Step 2: in the Downloads tab, you will find the Clear Download Cache button. Click on it and confirm in the pop-up that follows.

    It is not necessary to restart the computer at this point. You won't even have to log into the Steam client again, as the option is built right inside the client.

    • How to successfully uninstall Microsoft Teams on Windows 10

    3. Change the country of the download

    Steam has download servers all over the world and will automatically choose one based on your IP address. The one closest to you to provide optimal speeds. Changing the server location can help improve download speed or fix download errors.

    Step 1: open the Steam client again and go to Settings> Downloads tab. You can choose a new download location from the Download Region drop-down menu.

    I suggest you choose a place closer to where you live. This will give you better download speeds. Try a couple of positions before moving on to the next method. Multiple servers might be affected.

    4. Compatibility Modes

    This is for running older games that are no longer compatible with the system you are running Steam on. Are you looking to play an old game?

    Step 1: Open Steam> Library and right-click on the game you are having trouble with, then select Properties. Can't see the game in the library? Skip this step.

    Step 2: go to Local Files and click Browse.

    Step 3: you need to find the executable file that starts the game. It should be in the main game folder but it could also be in one of the subfolders. It is usually called "game-name.exe" or quits. Double click to make sure you start the game first. Right click and select Properties.

    Step 4: in Compatibility mode, select “Run this program in compatibility mode for” and choose your operating system from the drop-down list. You can check the game's requirements information to find the correct operating system or try some recent ones to find out.

    Don't forget to save your changes.

    5. Verify the integrity of the game files

    Steam downloads all required game files to make sure your favorite game runs smoothly. These files may be corrupted, failing to download updates via the Steam client. Steam knows this, which is why they offer a way to check the integrity of files.

    Step 1: open the Steam client and go to Library where you will find all your downloaded games. Right click to select Properties.

    Step 2: in the Local Files tab, click the “Verify Integrity of Game Files” button to start the process.

    Steam will check for damaged files and repair or download them again. Check if you can now download game updates via Steam.

    6. Repair library folders

    This is an extension of the previous solution. In step 4, we checked for errors with the game files. But Steam downloads other files called Libraries which it uses to run that game. These files may also be damaged.

    Step 1: open the Steam client and go to Steam> Settings.

    Step 2: click Steam Library Folders on the Downloads tab.

    Step 3: In the pop-up that follows, right-click the location of the Steam folder where the files are saved and select the Repair Library Folder option.

    7. Multiple Libraries

    Some users have multiple Steam libraries on different drives. It can be an external drive because they have limited space on the laptop or the main drive of the computer.

    If this is the case for you and Steam cannot download games to a drive, you should try renaming the other library folder.

    8. Delete the package folder

    You will find the Package folder inside the main Steam folder. Close the Steam client. Back up this folder to a separate drive, then delete the folder.

    Steam will download the folder on next launch. If not, you can always restore the backup folder. Good time to check if Steam is downloading games or game updates.


    Steam is a boon for gamers all over the world. It is the only game app I use on my computer. I have never felt the need to look elsewhere despite the options. Sure, there are occasional errors, but it's common to all apps and software. Have you found another way to solve these problems? Share it in the comments section below.

    Further Reading:

    • How to use Steam Cloud saves for your games
    • How to restore deleted Steam games on Windows 10
    • How to enable Steam two-factor authentication
    • How to hide Steam activity from friends
    • Fix: Steam is having problems connecting to servers
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