Fixing Issues with Games on Steam

April 13, 2011, By Christian Cawley

While Steam is a great way of digitally receiving and managing your games, from time to time you might find that it is less than useful, particularly when you run into issues launching games.

As an online digital distribution service, you might think that problems with Steam are limited to issues with your Internet connection or similar, but in actual fact these types of problem are rare. Even when you are disconnected from the Internet, Steam will still let you play games, meaning that you can still enjoy the games that you have purchased.

However other issues can affect games on Steam, such as hard disk corruption. While installing or adding a game to Steam is a simple task repairing or removing a game is a different kettle of fish altogether.

Fixing issues with games on Steam

Why Can’t I Just Uninstall It?

Windows users will be familiar with the task of uninstalling games and applications when they stop working or when hard disk space is required, something usually done via the Start > Control Panel > Uninstall a program path in Windows 7.

However thanks to the nature of Steam – which is pretty much a framework on your PC for managing DRM content – a standard uninstall procedure isn’t possible with games that you have downloaded or activated with the system.

Instead you will need to use other commands that offer similar functionality as the standard Windows uninstaller.

It isn’t unusual to find that you have more games on Steam than you have hard disk space, so you can make a bit of extra room by going to the Steam Library, right-clicking on a title that you haven’t used for a while and selecting Properties > Local Files to see how much space it is taking up. If you decide that the amount of data in use is too great, use the Delete Local Game Content… option to remove the game from your computer.

As you still own the title, you can reinstall it again at any time!

Repairing Issues with Games in Steam

As with any piece of software, games running under the Steam platform can experience problems that might be caused by faulty hardware, an issue with the operating system, or some other error.

We’ve already seen that you cannot uninstall games in the normal way with Steam, so with errors running your games you will need to use some other tools. Find the game that is causing the problems in your Steam Library and right-click, choosing Properties > Local Files. Here, take a note of the Fragmentation value. Ideally this should be 0%, and should certainly be kept as low as possible. Use the Defragment Cache Files button to defrag the game content on Steam, and when this is completed try the game again. You can also use the Verify Integrity of Game Cache option to resolve problems, although this often prompts Steam to re-download the game content, which can be a slower fix.

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