How To Fix Steam Is Already Running Error | Won’t Open Or Connect

Some gamers may encounter an annoying problem that shows “Steam Is Already Running” error when they try to open Steam client. If you have this problem right now, you’ve found the right page to get help.

In this troubleshooting article, we’ll show you the solutions that you can try to fix Steam Is Already Running problem.

Causes for Steam is already running error

This particular error usually happens if you enable Compatibility Mode on Steam client. However, other less common causes can also trigger it. If you encounter this annoying problem whenever you run Steam, learn the things that might cause it below.

Random Steam bug.

Some applications may sometimes encounter errors that can stop them from working normally. Some users have reported that “Steam is already running” error occurs on their machines even though they haven’t changed anything. The good thing is, an error like this may go away on its own after a system reboot.

Steam client running in Compatibility Mode.

The most common cause for this error is when a user runs Steam client in Compatibility Mode.  Compatibility Mode is often used if you’re having an issue running an issue with an old game, or when your computer’s Operating System is old and may not work properly with a new game. 

By default, Steam games are supposed to work even with older Windows OS but sometimes, a user may be told to manually run Steam to Compatibility Mode first.

The problem is, other games may not work in turn if Steam is running on Compatibility Mode. In some cases, Steam may simply fail to launch as indicated by “Steam is already running” error. You should consider switching Steam to normal mode again if a system reboot won’t fix this error.

Unknown Steam client glitch.

Some Steam problems are caused by errors within Steam client itself. This happens if there’s a corrupt data for this program, or if some game data are outdated.

Other software interfering with Steam.

Third party software like antivirus, or other forms of anti-malware may cause problems with Steam. You may need to investigate if one of your security software is causing an issue with Steam if the error won’t go away.

Solutions to Steam is already running error

There are a number of potential solutions that you can do to fix Steam is already running error. Let’s discuss each of them below.

  1. Force quit Steam application.

    Rebooting Steam client is often an effective way to refresh the application and address bugs. Try to force quit a running Steam application via Task Manager application and see if that will fix the problem. Just open Task Manager, find and right click the Steam application under Processes tab, then hit End Task. If there are multiple Steam programs running, make sure to close all of them.End Task

  2. Update Steam.

    If you haven’t updated Steam for some time, be sure to install the available client update right away. Do the same for your games. You’ll probably need not do this step if your computer is connected to the internet all the time but if you only play Steam games occasionally, be sure to update before launching Steam again.Steam updating

  3. Disable Compatibility Mode for Steam.

    If restarting and updating Steam won’t fix the problem, the program may be running in Compatibility Mode. To allow Steam to run on Compatibility Mode again, follow these steps:
    -Go to your Steam folder. This is usually located in C:\Program Files\Steam\. If you have a different installation path, go there and open the Steam folder.
    -Right click on Steam.exe and choose Properties.
    -Click on the Compatibility tab.
    -Uncheck any boxes that are checked, and click Apply.
    -Click the Show settings for all users button.
    -Make sure none of these boxes are checked, and click OK.
    -Click OK to close any open dialog boxes.Compatibility

  4. Delete and re-install Steam.

    If turning off Steam on Compatibility Mode won’t fix the problem, you should consider deleting and installing Steam again. Some users have reported that reinstallation was the only solution that worked for them. This is probably because there’s a missing Steam file or some Steam data may be corrupt. 
    These are the steps to do to reinstall Steam:
    -Force quit Steam as detailed above.
    -Go to your Steam folder. This is usually located in C:\Program Files\Steam\. If you have a different installation path, go there and open the Steam folder.
    -Delete all of the files in this folder except for Steamapps folder and Steam.exe (If 'exe' is not visible, look for the black and white Steam icon).
    -Once you’ve deleted the files, reboot your machine.
    -Go to your Steam folder and launch Steam by clicking the Steam.exe.

    IMPORTANT: Once you’ve identified the cause of the problem, make sure to turn your security software back on.Steam

Investigate for possible virus or malware infection.

In some rare cases, Steam may keep crashing, won’t open, or won’t connect to servers due to a virus or malware. Below are the telltale signs that you should be aware of to know if your PC is infected with a virus or malware that attacks Steam:

  • unrelated, random ads appear when Steam is launched or opened
  • browser opens and leads to an ad or website when clicking something on Steam
  • “Access Denied: You don’t have permission to access on this server.” error keeps popping up

If you’re getting any of these signs on your computer as well as significant performance degradation of the system, there may be a malicious software in your machine. You must clean up or remove the virus first before using Steam again. 

Some third party “virus removal” tools are actually malware themselves so be careful when getting help to remove a virus infection. Do some research by visiting official websites and use official antivirus or security software only.

Suggested readings:

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