Steam has the option available to set launch options which allow tweaking when Steam launches. This can be used to fix many solutions and also provide convenience to those who wish to open their client in a different way. We have listed down a number of different launch options along with their description. First, we will show you how to launch Steam using the launch options using the file “steam.exe”.
Please note that this guide is meant for advanced Steam users who know their way around commands. Newbies are advised to stay away from altering things they don’t know about.
How to set launch options:
We have added the ‘-offline’ launch option to help you understand the mechanics involved. You can replace ‘-offline’ with any other launch option you wish.
- Locate your Steam client. The default location is C:/Program Files (x86)/Steam.
- Create a shortcut of Steam in the same directory.
- Click ‘Properties’ and head over to the ‘General’ tab.
- In the ‘Target’ dialogue box, add ‘offline’ in the end. The final result looks like this “C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\Steam.exe” -offline
- Open task manager and end all Steam processes like explained above.
- Re-launch Steam using the shortcut and click Go Offline by clicking Steam located on the top left side of the client.
There is also a way you can set launch options for any game.
- Select the Library tab present at top of the Steam client. Here all your installed games are listed.
- Right click on the game and select Properties from the list of options available.
- Navigate to the General tab and here will see a Set Launch Options button. Click it.
- A small new window will come forward with a dialogue box present. Enter the launch option you wish to apply and save changes. Now whenever you launch the game, it will launch keeping these options in mind.
Different launch options ( for steam.exe in windows)
This option lets you opt out of beta participations. Beta participations allow you to get some content beforehand but it may contain some bugs and it is also updated regularly to fix them.
This option enables the Steam debug console tab. It can help users debug the problem and fix it. It is mostly used by advanced users.
This options runs the installation completion over HTTP by default.
This spews details about the localized strings we load.
Enables logging of Steam API functions
This function sets the developer variable in the client to “1”. It can also be used to launch the VGUI editor and the VGUI zoo by pressing the keys F6 and F7 respectively. It is also intended for developing skins.
This logs file system accesses.
It sets the target syntax.
This command logs the binaries we load during the operation.
This command forces the Steam client to run even if Steam has administrator privileges.
This command lets you set the method on how the GameOverlay is injected.
This lets you install a product from a specific path (such as “D” can be a path if D is the DVD-ROM present in the computer).
This changes installing a retail game to emit all files to install_validate instead of emitting to the Steam cache.
This sets your Steam language to the one you specify in the <language> such as German or English. You can write “german” in the language place in <language>.
This logs into Steam using the specific Username and Password. This will only work is Steam is off.
This logs all the P2P networking info into the file logs/netapi_log.txt.
This writes all the voice chat data into the logs/voice_log.txt.
This disables the async files operations. Instead, it tells the client to use the synchronous ones instead.
This starts Steam without its cache (it doesn’t access its cache folder). Note that Steam must off for this to work.
This prevents the Steam client from verifying the integrity of files. This comes in handy when you are testing localization.
This forces the vgui to use GDI text even if there is a support for DWrite available.
This runs a Steam script already stored in the Steam directory. All the scripts must be in a subdirectory of the main Steam’s folder. They are called test scripts. Steam must also be off for this to work.
This forcefully closes steam and shuts it down.
This helps suppress the dialogue box that opens automatically when you start Steam. This is mostly used when you have Steam set to auto-start when you turn on your computer.
This forces Steam to run and consume your primary CPU only and leave the others vacant.
This forces Steam’s connection backend to be via TCP.
This sets the audio quality and range to [1,3].
This command only allows “relay” connections for voice (testing).
This starts Steam in the Big picture mode so it covers your entire screen.
Different launch options for games
These launch options work for almost all the games. They may not sometimes work with third party applications and nor they are always compatible with everyone present in the Steam store.
This enables the console so you can use it in-game
This also enables the console in-game and opens it up when the game starts.
This gives the game priority CPU usage so it runs more smoothly. However, this options also consumes a lot of processing power.
This allows the usage of –noforcemspd and –noforcemaccel.
This allows the use of Windows mouse acceleration settings.
This allows the use of Windows mouse speed settings.
This starts the game in a full screen from the start.
This forces it to start at the resolution set to <height> value. This value is in pixels for example “-h 739”.
This forces it to start at the resolution set to <width> value. This value is in pixels for example “-w 1024”.
-x <position horizontal>
This places the borderless window along the horizontal axis of the screen. This is very useful if you are using multiple monitors. For example, you can use “-x 1921”. If you are using three monitors, it will place it on the middle screen.
-y <position vertical>
This places the borderless window along the vertical axis of the screen. This is very useful if you are using multiple monitors. For example, you can use “-y 0”. This will place the game window on top of the monitor, over the task bar.
This will help in restoring the video and audio configuration to their default settings for the current hardware which is detected. This will completely ignore any settings present in the .cfg files until this parameter is removed.
This will force the Steam engine to search for custom game content which is placed inside the game’s installation directory instead of loading the default game files from the VPK files. However, do note that this feature cannot be used in matchmaking and is limited for single player only.
This will force the Steam engine to search for whitelisted custom game content which is placed inside the game’s installation directory instead of loading the default game files from the VPK files. This can be used in matchmaking games. The whitelisted list includes many items such as HUD, icons, custom cursor images etc.
This enables the alt-tab function in some Linus devices where the game is running full screen and grabbing mouse won’t allow the players to use the alt-tab function while in-game.
This changes the language of the game and the menus. You can place the name of the language in place of code. The command line will look something like “-language Italian”.
This forcefully disables the Windows Aero DirectX extensions. This is used to enhance performance in some cases.
This stops the game from changing the microphone output values when the game launches. This is particularly useful for people who are using third party applications such as Skype where their microphone value will get forcefully maxed out when they run the game.
This turns off the sound in-game.
This will force the game to run on DirectX 9
This will force the game to run on DirectX 11.
This forces the game to run on OpenGL. On Windows, the OpenGL DLC must be present in the system and should be installed for this feature to run.
This applies the Vulcan support.
This will force the game to use the desktop color profile.
This will force run the game on a 32 bit client as running on 64 bit is the default.
This adds an uptime clock so you can see how much time is passing by while you are playing. This is very useful for keeping track of minutes passed while in-game.