Every game present on Steam is broken down into chunks of around 1MB in size. For each game available, there is a manifest available which tells how to assemble these chunks into the game files.
When any update is released, Steam analyzes the update and calculates how it can make the files out of chunks which are already saved in its database. If it is something entirely now, it divides them into new chunks.
Now, when Steam gets to know that there is an update available for any of your games, it compares the new manifest against that which is already present on your computer. It calculates which files are modified and allocates space for them. It calculates which files it needs to download, copy over or replace.
What is happening if everything is in order and my download speed is still low?
So what does all this have to do with the low download speed? Well, let’s suppose you have ten large files. Their total size is a gigabyte each and in them, you have to change 2MB of files. When Steam is building these files, it would have to download the 2MB files and copy the remaining 1022 MB from your existing installation per file. Multiply this by ten (there are ten files in total). It would make 20MB downloadable files and 10220 MB of copying. Therefore, you spend a lot of time waiting for these copies to happen; you are bound by the copying speed.
This is the reason why downloading speed isn’t a problem when you are installing a game from scratch. It downloads everything because there is no existing manifest/files present in your computer. There is only a problem when the amount of copying is far greater than the amount to be downloaded.
Another problem that adds to the frustration is that Steam has three progress counters, one is bytes downloaded, one is bytes reused, and one is bytes successfully written out to newly modified files. In the UI, it only exposes the first counter so it may seem that the download has stopped, whereas the copying must be happening in the background.
How can I confirm that my network connection or any other problem isn’t the reason for 0 Bytes/second?
There is a file named as “Steam/logs/content_log.txt”. It can be easily found in your Steam directory. It contains all the details regarding the bytes for download, reuse, and copy. Apart from improving the UI, there isn’t much that can be done on Steam’s end. The copying is necessary because if any other algorithm is used, it would be very ineffective and can corrupt files very easily. Not to mention, a lot of bandwidth will be used.
Solution 1: Enabling automatically detect settings
We already provided you with an insight regarding how the Steam download takes place and what are mechanics behind them. If you still feel that the files aren’t copying and there is something else wrong with your Steam, you can try solving the problem by the solutions listed below.
First of all, make sure that suspicious search engines are uninstalled and there are no “extra” programs present on your PC.
Method 1: Chrome
- Open Chrome browser and click on the Chrome menu (top right) upon opening.
- After the drop down comes, click on Settings.
- Once the Settings page is opened, type “proxy” in the dialogue bar present on the top.
- From search results, select the result which says “open proxy settings”.
- When the settings are opened, click on “LAN Settings” in the Connections tab, present in the bottom.
- Uncheck the line which says “Automatically detect settings”. Save changes and exit. Restart Steam.
Method 2: Through Network Settings
- Press Windows + R button to bring up the Run application.
- In the dialogue box, type “inetcpl.cpl”.
- The internet properties will open. Navigate to the Connections tab and click on LAN settings.
- Once in the LAN settings, uncheck the line which says “Automatically detect settings”. Save changes and exit to re-launch Steam.
Solution 2: Check your disk usage
Another problem you may be facing can be that your disk can be busy copying something else and is at its maximum speed.
- Press Windows + R to bring up the task manager.
- Navigate to the Process tab and check the percentage of Disk usage. If it is not full i.e. 100%, it means something else is the problem and you can carry on with your trouble shooting.
- If the usage is full, you can see which program is causing the outrage. Mostly, Windows update is consuming a lot of your RAM as well as disk write space. We can disable it from the services option in order to lower its consumption.
- Press Windows + R button and in the dialogue box type “services.msc”.
- A window will open and will contain all the services which run or are running in your Windows. Browse to the end of it where you can see the service of “Windows Update”. If Windows Update was consuming much of your resources, it means that it is enabled and running.
6. Click the service and you will be redirected to its Properties. Stop the service first using the option.
- After stopping it, click on the “Startup Type” option. From the drop down box select Disabled. Save changes and exit.
- Restart your computer and restart Steam so all the effects take place.
Solution 3: Flushing Steam config and DNS
We can try resetting your internet settings and config to see if the problem gets resolved.
- Press Windows + R to bring up the Run application.
- In the dialogue box type “steam://flushconfig”.
- Steam will pop up a small window to confirm your action. Press Ok. Note that after this action, Steam will ask you to log in again using your credentials. Don’t follow this method if you don’t have access to your login details.
- After performing the above actions, press Windows + R button to pop up the Run window again. In the dialogue box type “cmd” to bring up the command prompt.
- Once in the command prompt, type “ipconfig /flushdns”. Press Enter.
- Restart your PC and relaunch Steam to see if the problem is resolved.
Solution 4: Disabling Diagnostics Tracking Service
Diagnostics tracking service is also known to conflict with Steam downloads. We can try disabling it like we disabled Windows update and try to launch Steam again.
Method 1 (This one is preferred as it deletes the Diagnostics permanently).
- Press Windows + R button to bring up the Run application. In the dialogue box, type “cmd” to bring up the command prompt.
- Once in the command prompt, type “sc stop DiagTrack”. You should see a window like this.
If you encounter an error and the command prompt shows you a window like the one below, it means you haven’t granted administrator privileges to the command prompt. In that case, exit the command prompt and run it as administrator.
- After step two, in the command prompt, write “sc delete DiagTrack”. This should delete the Diagnostics Tracking Service.
- Now we have to open the Task Scheduler and delete some entries. Click Windows + R button and in the dialogue box type “taskschd.msc”.
- Once in the Task Scheduler, navigate to Microsoft and then Windows. Here you will be given a very long list of folders.
- Search for Application Experience and delete everything that is contained inside the folder using the Delete button found on the right side.
- Now search for Autochk and delete everything contained in the folder in a similar way.
- In a similar way, search for Customer Experience Improvement Program and delete all the contents of the folder.
- Now search for Disk Diagnostic. Note that you don’t have to delete everything in this folder. Once in the folder, search for “Microsoft-Windows-DiskDiagnosticDataCollector”. Delete only this file.
- Restart your Windows and relaunch Steam to download your games.
Method 2 (This one stops the services temporarily)
- Click Windows + R button and in the dialogue box type “taskmgr” to bring up the task manager.
- Once in the task manager, browse to the tab of Services. Once you are there, navigate to the end of the list and search for DiagTrack. Click it and select Stop.
- Now you may want to restart Steam and start the Download again.
Solution 5: Scanning for malware
There can be malware present on your PC which may be giving you download problems. Although you can use different antivirus programs, you can also use malwarebytes. Please note that we only link other websites to help our users. We won’t be responsible to for any damage that your PC may endure.
Solution 6: Disabling flow control of your Ethernet
If you are using the internet through Ethernet, we can disable your flow control to see if it helps the problem. Ethernet flow control is a mechanism developed to stop the flow of data. There are many mechanisms involved such as the first flow control mechanism, and the pause frame etc. The goal of this mechanism is to ensure there is totally zero loss under congestion and it also allows the prioritization of voice over IP (VoIP). This means if someone in your network is using it for calling/video calling, they will get priority over the network and you will get low bandwidth.
There is also a pause frame present which can send the computer a pause frame. This halts the transmission of data of the user for a limited period of time. If the network is overwhelmed, the pause frames will keep coming and the data transmission will be indefinitely halted.
We can try disabling the flow control of your Ethernet to see if there are any results. Later on, if you want to revert the settings back, you can with ease.
- Press Windows + R to bring up the Run application. In the dialogue box type “devmgmt.msc”. This will launch your computer’s device manager.
- Once in the device manager, search for your Ethernet network adapter (it will be under the drop down of Network adapters). Once you have located it, right click on it and select Properties.
- Once the properties are opened, navigate to the Advanced tab. Search for Flow Control from the list of options and click on Disabled from the drop down of Value.
- Save changes and exit the device manager. A restart is recommended and also launch steam using “Run as administrator”.
Solution 7: Clearing download cache
Clearing your Steam download cache can fix problems that may result in a not responding/connecting client. This process won’t affect your current games. You would only have to re-login. Don’t use this solution if you don’t have your correct login credentials at hand.
- Open your Steam client and navigate to Settings. This is located in the top left menu.
- Locate Downloads in the Settings panel.
- Click Clear Download Cache. Click OK to confirm your choice and after a while, Steam will ask for your login credentials.
- After logging in again, Steam will start as expected.
After trying every method listed in this article, if your downloads still don’t get fixed, you can check if there is a problem with your internet connection. Connect to another network (not necessarily WiFi or Ethernet, you can try 3G too) and see if the problem gets fixed.
If the downloads are smooth on another network, it means there is a problem with your ISP. You have to contact the customer representative and tell him about your specific problem. You can also try disconnecting other devices on your network and restart the internet modem. You should also check if there is any conflict with your antivirus or Windows defender. Sometimes, the extensions present in Chrome also create problems.
You can check another post which also addresses this problem from here.