How to Fix Steam Needs to be Online to Update

Steam displays the issue where it prompts the user to Go Online in order to update itself. This is a problem with Steam if you are connected to a valid internet connection and other internet applications are working. However, if your very internet is broken, you should get a valid internet connection and then try again.

Steam Needs to be Online to Update

1. Disabling Proxy Settings

Proxy settings intercept the network traffic going/coming from your computer and redirects them through the proxy tunnel accordingly. This setting is mainly done in organizations where open internet access is not available. We will guide you on how to disable this setting.

1.1 Chrome

  1. Open Chrome browser and click on the Chrome menu (top right) upon opening.
  2. After the drop-down comes, click on Settings.

  1. Once the Settings page is opened, type “proxy” in the search dialogue bar present on the top.
  2. From search results, select the result which says “open proxy settings”.
  3. When the settings are opened, click on “LAN Settings” in the Connections tab, present in the bottom.

  1. Uncheck the line which says “Use a proxy server for your LAN”. Save changes and exit. Restart Steam.

1.2 Through Network Settings

  1. Press Windows + R button to bring up the Run application.
  2. In the dialogue box, type “inetcpl.cpl”.

  1. The internet properties will open. Navigate to the Connections tab and click on LAN settings.
  2. Once in the LAN settings, uncheck the line which says “Use a proxy server for your LAN. Save changes and exit to re-launch Steam.

Close Steam properly (using the task manager) and re-launch it using “Run as administrator”.

2. Disabling Anti-Virus and Firewall

It is a well-known fact that Steam conflicts with the Windows Firewall. As we all know, Steam tends to download updates and games over the background while you are using Windows for something else. It tends to do so you don’t have to wait for the download to finish when you want to play your game or use the Steam client. Steam also has access to a number of system configuration and it alters it so you can get the best experience available for your gaming. Windows Firewall sometimes marks some of these processes as malicious and tends to block Steam. There may even be a conflict going where the Firewall is blocking Steam’s actions in the background. This way you won’t know it’s even happening so it’ll be hard to pinpoint it out. We can try disabling your Firewall temporarily and checking if the error dialogue goes away or not.

You can check our guide on how to disable the firewall.

Like in the case of Firewall, sometimes your antivirus can also quarantine some of Steam’s actions as potential threats. The obvious solution would be to uninstall your antivirus but it isn’t wise to do so. If you uninstall your antivirus, you will be exposing your computer to a number of different threats. The best way is to add steam to the list of applications which are exempted from scanning. The antivirus will treat Steam as if it wasn’t even there.

You can read our guide on how to add Steam as an exception to your antivirus.

3. Granting Administrator access to Steam

There can be another case where you may be experiencing the error because Steam doesn’t have enough administrator access to make amendments.

Steam requires full access in order to provide you with the optimal gaming experience. This means changing system configuration files and having a lot of resources and memory at its disposal. By default, Steam doesn’t have full administrator access.

We can grant Steam full administrative privileges and check if the problem gets solved. First, we should make the changes to the Steam.exe file and later grant the whole Steam directory access as there are various configuration files present in the main directory.

Read our guide on how to grant Steam administrative access.

4. Adding the parameter of –tcp

Steam originally uses the UDP (User Datagram Protocol) for transmission of data. We can try changing it to TCP (Transmission Control Protocol). As we all know TCP is more reliable whereas UDP is mostly faster. If we encounter an error, we can try changing protocols to see if the problem at hand gets fixed.

You always have the option to resort back to the default setting by removing the launch option/command line.

  1. Navigate to your Steam directory. The default Steam directory is “C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam”. If you installed Steam to another one, you can browse there.
  2. Once in the main Steam folder, locate the file “exe”. Right click on it and select Create Shortcut.
  3. Right click on the shortcut and select Properties from the drop-down menu.

  1. In the target dialogue box, write “-tcp” in the end. So the entire line looks like:

“C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\Steam.exe” –tcp

Remember to give a space after the default line in the target dialogue box.

  1. Apply the changes and close the window. Launch Steam using the shortcut and hopefully, it will run as expected.

5. Using Ipconfig

IPconfig (internet protocol configuration) is a console application which displays all the current IP/TCP configurations on your screen. You can also modify DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) and DNS (Domain Name System) settings using it.

Another feature that ipconfig does is forcefully refresh the DHCP IP address of the host computer to request a different IP address. This is done in three stages. Follow the steps listed below.

  1. Press Windows + R button to launch the Run application. In the dialogue box type “cmd”. This will bring up the command prompt.
  2. Once the command prompt is up and running, type “ipconfig /release”. This forces your computer to give up its lease and it sends a notification to the server. This notification is a DHCP release notification which updates the server’s status information so it can mark the client’s IP address as available.

  1. Once this is done, type “ipconfig /renew”. This command requests a new IP address from the server. If the computer is connected to a DSL modem or a cable, it may have to be connected directly to the modem network to bypass the router before using “ipconfig /release” and turning off the power for a couple of minutes. This ensures that the old IP gets taken by another computer.

  1. After this, type “ipconfig /flushdns”. This is used to clear the DNS cache and is to ensure that any future requests have to be resolved from scratch because they have to use the fresh DNS information.

  1. Restart your computer and press Windows + R to launch the Run application. Type “services.msc” in the dialogue box and press Enter. This should launch all the services currently running on your computer.
  2. Locate the service “DNS Client” and double-click to open its properties.
  3. Stop the service by pressing the button and then start it again.
  4. Run Steam using administrator and check if the problem got solved.

6. Refreshing Steam files

Now there is nothing left except to reinstall Steam and see if that does the trick. When we refresh your Steam files, we will preserve your downloaded games so you won’t have to download them again. Furthermore, your user data will also be preserved. What refreshing Steam files actually do is delete all the configuration files of the Steam client and then forces it to install them again. So if there were any bad files/corrupt files, they will get replaced accordingly. Do note that after this method, you would need to log in again using your credentials. Don’t follow this solution if you don’t have that information at hand. The process may take a while so avoid canceling once you start the installing process.

You can read our article on how to refresh your Steam files. Also, update all your Microsoft redistributables using the official Microsoft website (C++ and .NET framework).

After refreshing your Steam files, follow the below steps:

  1. Press Windows + R button to bring up the Run application.
  2. In the dialogue box, type “inetcpl.cpl”.

  1. The internet properties will open. Navigate to the Connections tab and click on LAN settings.
  2. Once in the LAN settings, uncheck the line which says “Automatically detect settings”. And also uncheck the line which says “Use a proxy server for your LAN”. Save changes and exit to re-launch Steam.

Now start using the option “Run as administrator” and check if the problem got solved.

Note: You can read our guide if you are having a connection error where your entire Steam client refuses to connect to the internet.

Kevin Arrows
Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.

Expert Tip

How to Fix Steam Needs to be Online to Update

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