How to Open Steam Games in Windowed Mode?

Certain games may cause certain issues for the users, especially if the game has not been optimized yet for the PC. Additionally, a lot of users are trying to run a game with high system requirements on a low-end PC resulting in low-quality performance. Even with all of the graphic settings turned off or set to low, users sometimes still experience a lot of issues and they fail to get a playable frame rate which starts at 25 FPS (frames per second) which is considered to be the lowest acceptable frame rate.

The game’s artwork

Playing Steam games in Windowed mode sometimes manages to fix certain issues regarding low performance but certain developers have not included this setting in their games and a lot of users are wondering whether there’s a way to make all Steam games start in windowed mode. It turns out there is and there are several ways you can make a game run in windowed mode!

Method 1: Using in-game Settings

First of all, you check the in-game settings in order to see whether the specific game has a built-in option of playing in a window. These settings are usually located in the game’s video settings.

Changing the default mode to Fullscreen

Note that a lot of these settings depend on the mode you play. For example, if you set the fullscreen resolution to 1024 x 768, then the size of your windows is going to have the same dimensions after your turn the fullscreen off.

Method 2: Using Steam Client

However, certain games simply won’t allow you to switch between fullscreen and windowed mode in-game since there are games that don’t allow a lot of changes to their settings, or they must be changed via an external config file. Luckily, the solution to this problem is rather easy and it involves using the Steam client.

The first thing we are going to explain is using the game launch options which allow the users to set a lot of different options before even running the game.

  1. In order to set various game launch options, open the Steam library and right-click on the game you want to set to windowed mode.
  2. Open properties and click Set Launch Options on the General tab.
    There are various launch parameters you can set so be sure to check them all out on Steam’s site
  3. If you want to add the windowed mode parameter, you need to type in –windowed in the field that opens. Note that you need to separate this parameter from the others if you have them by a space.A useful parameter to add next to the –windowed one is the parameter that defines the width of the game’s window. If the game starts in fullscreen the following parameter is going to define the resolution of the screen.
    Make sure you leave one space blank and type in –w <width> where <width> represents the total width in pixels, for example, 1024. There is no need to set the height since the width already determines the matching height.
These settings will make the game run in a window with a width of 1024 pixels and height of 768 pixels.

Method 3: Using Game Launcher

Unfortunately, users have reported that these launch options only work for games that use Source and Goldsrc engines.

  1. If you want to edit another game, you might want to try right-clicking the game launcher’s shortcut and selecting Properties.
  2. In the shortcut tab, you should see a field called Target. This field represents the original location of the shortcut.
    The Target box is where these parameters are added, just after the closing quotation marks in the same manner as the ones you have written for Steam.
  3. Simply add –windowed or –w after the quotation marks and your game should run windowed.

Note: If none of the above methods work, then the last option is to simply try clicking Alt + Enter while in-game.


Kevin Arrows

Kevin Arrows is a highly experienced and knowledgeable technology specialist with over a decade of industry experience. He holds a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification and has a deep passion for staying up-to-date on the latest tech developments. Kevin has written extensively on a wide range of tech-related topics, showcasing his expertise and knowledge in areas such as software development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. His contributions to the tech field have been widely recognized and respected by his peers, and he is highly regarded for his ability to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and concise manner.