How to Fix Computer Freezing Issue When Launching Steam?

Multiple factors can cause a PC to freeze when launching Steam. This issue mostly arises from a corrupted Steam download cache. When you download or update a game, all the data is first stored in the Steam download cache. So, if the download gets paused, Steam can resume it from where it stopped, rather than starting from scratch.

Occasionally, the Steam download cache becomes corrupted, causing the PC to freeze when launching Steam. Here’s how corruption causes freezing:

  1. System Access: When launching, Steam tries to access the download cache.
  2. Faulty Access: If the cache is corrupted, Steam struggles to process the data.
  3. System Response: This struggle overwhelms the system resources.
  4. Outcome: Overwhelmed system resources lead to PC freezing.

Additionally, outdated GPU drivers, interference from third-party applications, and hard drive problems can also lead to PC freezing issues.

Since the issue freezes the whole PC for a moment, fixing it is essential to maintain the system’s stability and performance.

1. Update or Reinstall Graphics Drivers

The graphics driver manages the graphical operation when you launch Steam. If the driver is corrupted or outdated, it may fail to manage operations, potentially leading to freezes upon launching Steam. That is why it is recommended to reinstall or update the graphics driver before trying any further solutions.

  1. Open the Geforce Experience or AMD Radeon Software.
  2. Then, go to the Driver section and click Check for updates.
  3. If the updates are found, simply download and install them.
  4. If this does not work, you can reinstall the GPU driver from the manufacturer’s site.

2. Clear Steam Download Cache

Steam download cache stores the game data and updates in parts so that Steam can continue downloading where it left off if the download is paused for some reason. This eliminates the need to restart the download from the beginning. However, if this Steam download cache becomes corrupted, it could interfere with the Steam startup operations, which could end up freezing the PC.

Therefore, we can try clearing the cache to see if the problem is resolved.

  1. Open Steam and go to Settings at the top.
  2. Go to Downloads from the left sidebar and click Clear Cache.
  3. Once done, restart Steam and see if the freezing issue is fixed or persists.

3. Perform a clean boot

Running too many applications consumes a significant amount of memory resources, which can cause freezing. Therefore, you can perform a clean boot to disable third-party applications and services from running at the startup.

  1. Press the Win key and type msconfig in the Windows Search bar.
  2. Hit the Enter key to run the system configuration utility.
  3. Now go to Services from the top and tick Hide All Microsoft services.
  4. Once done, click Disable All.
  5. Now go to Startup and click Open Task Manager.
  6. Select Startup apps from the left.
  7. Right-click the third-party applications one by one and select Disable.
  8. Once done, close the task manager and restart your computer. The issue should be resolved.

4. Check your Hard Drives

The freezing issue is often seen when the connected hard drives experience hardware problems, causing the PC to freeze, especially if the multiple hard drives are connected with the Steam libraries. In such cases, you can disconnect all the hard drives except your system drive to check if the problem is resolved.

If you don’t want to check the hard drives physically, you can use a third-party utility like CrystalDiskInfo to check their health status and temperature. If the health is too low, your hard drive is likely causing your PC to freeze when launching Steam.

5. Reinstall the steam

Lastly, if none of the solutions helped resolve the issue, we can try reinstalling the Steam. The issue might be occurring due to a problem with the Steam application files, leading to PC freezes. Therefore, you should at least try reinstalling the Steam if you have come this far and the issue persists.

If your applications and games are located under the Steam application folder, you can either backup the Steamapps folder and reinstall Steam or you can delete all the Steam application files except the Steam.exe and Steamapps folder and then run Steam.exe to install all the deleted files. This way, you will be able to reinstall Steam without backing up the Steam apps folder.

  1. Right-click the Steam application and select Open file location.
  2. Here, select all the files except the Steam.exe and Steamapps folder.
  3. Then, press the Delete key to remove all the files and folders.
  4. Once done, run the Steam.exe to install all the files. This should fix the freezing issue.

Hamza Mohammad Anwar

Hamza Mohammad Anwar is an intermediate JavaScript web developer with a focus on developing high-performance applications using MERN technologies. His skill set includes expertise in ReactJS, MongoDB, Express NodeJS, and other related technologies. Hamza is also a Google IT Certified professional, which highlights his competence in IT support. As an avid problem-solver, he recreates errors on his computer to troubleshoot and find solutions to various technical issues.