Steam Download Keeps Pausing (Reasons and Fixes)

Is your Steam Download Stuck? Here are the Fixes!

For almost 10 years, Steam users have been reporting that their download keeps pausing and is unable to complete sometimes. The problem can be at the user’s end or there could be a problem with Steam servers.

Anyway, this is very frustrating especially when the downloads pause when they are just about to complete.

Before we move to the causes and solutions, do note that Steam downloads will pause if you are playing a game from Steam while another game is downloading.

So, if that is the issue, then simply go to Steam > Settings > Download. Now check the box that says “Allow Downloads During Gameplay”.

This is the most common reason why downloads pause, so make sure you check this first before moving on to the other fixes.

Why Does Steam Download Keep Pausing?

Steam pauses downloads mainly because of a bad internet connection, no space on the hard disk, or cache buildup. However, some other reasons include too many background apps, download restrictions, and an outdated Steam version.

  • Bad Internet Connection: Steam requires good internet signals and speed to complete the downloads. If the signals are unstable and the speed is too low, the downloads will constantly pause.
  • Cache Buildup in Steam: Too much cache buildup makes Steam inefficient and directly affects the downloads. This is why you should regularly clear Steam’s download cache.
  • Not Enough Space on Your Hard Drive: This is the problem mostly when your hard drive’s space is 90% filled or more. If you’re downloading heavy games, then they will keep on pausing because there will be no space for the game files.
  • Outdated Steam Version: Older Steam versions have a few performance issues which you won’t find in the most updated version. Therefore, make sure your Steam app is always up-to-date.
  • Many Apps Running in the Background: Having several processes or applications eating up your RAM and internet speed can significantly affect Steam downloads.
  • Download Restrictions on Steam: Limiting bandwidth restricts the download speed and as a result, they can pause if the speed is too low.

How do I Fix a Paused Steam Download?

Above were the main causes why Steam keeps pausing or stopping your download and below are a total of 11 fixes that can solve this issue.

Before we move on to the actual steps, let’s look at how these methods can help your downloads complete without any interruption.

  1. Add Steam as an Exclusion in Antivirus: Your antivirus can consider some game files as viruses and therefore stop/pause the download. So, make sure you add Steam to the exclusion list or disable/turn off the antivirus altogether while downloading from Steam.
  2. Clear Steam Download Cache: As I told you earlier, cache buildup slows down Steam and pauses your downloads. This is why regular cache clearing is necessary.
  3. Restart Steam and PC: There can be a small bug or glitch on Steam on your PC and restarting them can fix the problem.
  4. Reboot your Router: If your internet signals are weak or not stable, then reboot your router and connect to it again.
  5. Have Enough Hard Drive Space: You must have at least 3 times the space on your hard disk as the game’s size. So, make sure you clear some space before proceeding with the download.
  6. Change Steam’s Download Region: Steam servers might be having a problem in your region. In this case, change your region to another city/country and continue with the downloads. Also, start off by selecting a region that is close to you. If that doesn’t work, then shift to others.
  7. Change Steam Download Restrictions: Make sure the option that limits your Steam download speed is always disabled so the games get enough speed to download.
  8. Change Steam’s Download Location: If the default drive to which Steam downloads the game files is full, then you must change the downloading location to another drive. Otherwise, the downloads will stop no matter which method you try.
  9. Use Steam in Big Picture Mode: Using Steam’s big picture mode has resolved the problem for many users and you should try it as well.
  10. Update Steam: Make sure you are using the latest version of Steam for the downloads to complete effectively.
  11. Reinstall Steam: If nothing else works, reinstalling Steam should be your next move. A clean reinstallation will remove any faulty files that might be the reason why Steam keeps pausing downloads.

1. Add Steam as an Exclusion in Antivirus

  1. Open Windows Security.
  2. Select Virus & Threat Protection.
  3. Select Manage settings.

  1. Now click on Add or remove exclusions after scrolling down. It will be under the Exclusions section.

  1. Select Add an Exclusion.
  2. Click on Folder.

  1. Select the folder where Steam is installed.
  2. Now open Steam and start your download again.

2. Clear Steam Download Cache

  1. Open Steam and select Steam on the top-left.
  2. Go to Settings.

  1. Click on the Downloads tab.
  2. Select Clear Download Cache.

3. Restart Steam and PC

A simple restart will refresh Steam and your PC and get rid of any glitches that were pausing the downloads. First, restart Steam and see if the downloads resume. If not, restart your PC and check the same.

4. Reboot your Router

  1. Unplug the router followed by the modem.
  2. Wait for 30-35 seconds.
  3. Plug in the modem.
  4. Plug in the router.
  5. Turn on the power.
  6. Wait for the internet lights to show up.
  7. Once they do, connect to your WiFi again and start the download.

5. Have Enough Hard Drive Space

If a game’s size is 50 GB, then you must have at least 150 GB of free space on your hard disk. This is because many game files are encrypted and compressed. If they don’t get enough space, the Steam downloads will keep pausing.

6. Change Steam’s Download Region

  1. Open Steam and click on Steam on the top-left.
  2. Go to Settings > Download.
  3. Now click on the Download Region’s drop-down arrow.

  1. Select a new region that is closer to yours.

7. Change Steam’s Download Restriction

  1. Go to Steam > Settings.
  2. Click on Downloads.
  3. Ensure the “Throttle Downloads while Streaming” and “Limit Download Speed” options are disabled.

8. Change Steam’s Download Location

  1. Go to Steam Settings.
  2. Go to Storage.
  3. Click on the “+” sign on the right of your existing hard drive.

  1. Click on the drop-down arrow and select the drive you want to include.

  1. Once selected, it will be added as a download location.
  2. Now while downloading any game, you can click on the new drive to select it as the download location.

9. Use Steam in Big Picture Mode

  1. Launch Steam.
  2. Click on the Big Picture mode icon located on the top-right.

  1. Continue with your downloads.

10. Update Steam

  1. Launch the Steam app.
  2. Click on the Steam icon.
  3. Click on Check for Steam Client Updates.

  1. The update will automatically install if there will be any.

11. Reinstall Steam

Note: Before uninstalling Steam, make sure you back up your games by moving the Steamapps folder out of C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps. Once Steam is reinstalled, you can move the folder back to its location.

  1. Click on the Start/Windows icon.
  2. Type Uninstall a Program and click on Apps & Features.

  1. Look for Steam and click on it.
  2. Select Uninstall.

  1. Now go to the Steam installation page and install it.
  2. Move your previous Steamapps folder to C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam again and replace the newer one that was installed.

If you’re still facing some problems having gone through the methods above, contact Steam support and let them know that your download keeps pausing. They will ask you for your system’s and Steam client’s information before giving some instructions to solve the problem.


Abdullah Iqbal

Abdullah is a Google IT certified Help Desk Technician with extensive experience in providing technical support to system users. He has a proven track record of effectively resolving IT issues, and is adept at working with tools like Jira and ZenDesk to efficiently manage support tickets. Abdullah is committed to staying up-to-date with the latest technological advancements and constantly seeks to improve his skills and knowledge through professional development opportunities.