- Steam Error Code 16, a connection timeout issue, can be resolved by changing your network connection temporarily, disabling third-party security programs, verifying game files, clearing Steam's download cache, and temporarily disabling firewalls. If these steps fail, consider reinstalling Steam or performing a clean boot to identify interfering background apps.
Steam error 16 occurs when you are trying to make changes in your Steam profile. Steam error 16 is an indication of your connection to the Steam servers timing out. This happens when the packets sent from your computer are unable to reach the destination and thus, the connection is dropped. This is usually due to an anomaly with your network connection which can be caused by a firewall or even an antivirus program.
How to Fix the Steam Error Code 16
Changing your network connection can often help you get past the error code in question. In this article, we will take you through numerous different methods that you can implement on your system to get around the error code 16 on Steam.
Use a Different Connection
The first thing that you should do when encountering error code 16 is to change your network connection. The issue occurs when your requests are not reaching Steam servers, and thus there is no communication in the established connection.
Since the issue is occurring due to a network anomaly, switching to a different network temporarily can help you isolate the problem. If the problem occurs while trying to edit your profile, switch to your mobile network on your computer by enabling the hotspot on your smartphone and proceed with the changes you need to make.
Alternatively, if the error code occurs while trying to launch a game, use a different connection to launch the game. After that, you can revert to your original network connection and the problem should not bother you.
Disable Any Security Program
The security program on your PC can also cause the Steam error code 16. This happens when the security program intervenes with the connection established with the Steam servers, and it results in the loss of packets or termination of the link altogether.
These cases are common with modern antivirus software as they come packed with network security features that allow them to interfere with your network connections. In such an instance, you will need to disable the third-party security program on your computer to resolve the issue.
If the problem goes away after disabling your antivirus program, you can add Steam to the whitelist in your antivirus settings to prevent the program from interfering with it in the future. This will allow you to enable the security program, should you want to.
Verify Game Files
If you encounter Steam error 16 when trying to play a game, the issue can be related to the game files on your computer. Such instances are possible due to inconsistencies with the game files, which prompts the Steam client to drop the connection.
In such a scenario, you will have to verify the game files on your PC with the help of the scan and repair feature on Steam. To do this, follow the instructions below:
- First, open the Steam client on your computer.
- After that, navigate to the game library and right-click on the game. Select Properties.
- Then, switch to the Installed Files tab and click the Verify integrity of game files option.
- Wait for the Steam client to scan and repair your game files.
- Once done, see if the error code still occurs.
Clear Steam Download Cache
The download cache of your Steam client can also trigger the error code in question. This happens when the download cache is corrupted or damaged which results in the Steam app malfunctioning.
The download cache on your Steam client is supposed to store any content when you are installing a new game or downloading an update. To clear the Steam Download Cache on your PC, follow the instructions below:
- Start by opening the Steam client on your PC.
- After that, click on the Steam menu in the top-left corner and choose Settings.
- In the Settings window, navigate to the Downloads tab.
- Then, click the Clear Cache option next to Clear Download Cache.
- This will remove the download cache on your PC. See if that resolves the issue.
In some instances, a firewall on your network can result in error code 16 while altering the connection between your PC and the Steam servers. This is because firewalls have the capability to manage the incoming and outgoing requests in the network, thus they can block or interfere with specific requests that can break certain functionality.
As such, you will need to disable the firewall on your PC to resolve the issue. In the case of Windows, you will have to disable the Windows Defender Firewall. In addition, if you have a network firewall in place in your router configuration, you will need to disable that temporarily too to see if that resolves the issue.
If the problem goes away after doing so, you will need to whitelist the Steam app through the Windows Defender Firewall to resolve the issue. Follow the instructions below to disable the Windows Defender Firewall:
- First, open the Control Panel with a simple search in the Start Menu.
- In the Control Panel, go to System and Security > Windows Defender Firewall.
- After that, click the Turn Windows Defender Firewall on or off option on the left-hand side.
- Then, select the Turn off Windows Defender Firewall options under Public and Private network settings.
- Click OK.
- Once you do that, restart the Steam client and see if the problem goes away.
- In case the problem does not persist, you will have to whitelist Steam through the Windows Firewall.
- Go to the Windows Defender Firewall settings in the Control Panel.
- Then, click the Allow an app or feature through Windows Defender Firewall option.
- Click the Change settings option.
- After that, click the Allow another app option and select the Steam.exe file.
- Once you do that, click on the Network types and select Public and Private checkboxes.
- Then, click the Add option to whitelist the Steam app.
- Finally, click OK to save the changes.
The Steam installation can be another culprit in error code 16. This happens when the Steam installation on your system is damaged, in which case you will need to uninstall the Steam app and perform a reinstallation.
A fresh installation will help you subside the problem in question quite easily. To do this, follow the instructions below:
- First, use the Start Menu to open the Control Panel.
- Navigate to Uninstall a program in the Control Panel window.
- After that, locate and double-click on the Steam option from the list of apps.
- Go through the on-screen prompts to finish the removal of the app.
- Finally, open the Steam website and download the official client.
- Install the Steam app and see if that resolves the issue.
Clean Boot Windows
If none of the remedies above help in isolating the issue for you, the problem is likely due to the interference of a background app on your PC. When this happens, you can verify the issue by performing a clean boot which will turn on Windows with only the required system services running in the background.
If the Steam client functions properly in a clean boot, it will be evident a background app is resulting in the error code 16. In such an instance, you will have to find out the problematic app by enabling the services one by one.
Use the instructions below to execute a clean boot:
- Open the Run box with the help of the Win key + R shorthand.
- Then, type in msconfig and hit Enter.
- Go to the Services tab in the System Configuration window.
- Use the Hide all Microsoft services option to remove system services from the list.
- After that, click the Disable all option to prevent third-party services from running on startup.
- Click Apply.
- Once you do that, go to the Startup tab and click on the Open Task Manager option.
- This will open the Task Manager in the Startup tab. Highlight the apps one by one in the Task Manager and select Disable.
- Finally, restart your PC to do a clean boot.
These solutions should help isolate the issue for you. To prevent the issue from occurring in the future, ensure that you have a working connection and that your connection to the Steam servers is not being blocked by a running service.
Steam error 16 persists?
If you still stumble upon the error 16 on Steam, you will need to reach out to the official Steam support team. In case you are encountering the error while opening a game, you will have to reach out to the relevant support team of the game. Steam does not handle individual game issues themselves, so keep that in mind. For any issues with the Steam client, check out the Steam support page here.