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Spyware, Malware, Adware, or Virus Interfering with Steam

Spyware, malware, or adware is interfering with Steam's functionality. How do I...

Ads are appearing in the Steam browser or mouse clicks within Steam are opening external websites


Steam has a strict privacy policy and will not share your information with other companies. Steam's only advertisement popup will appear in an instant message that displays upcoming and new releases or changes to games that you own. If you would not like to see this instant message, you can disable it in Steam's settings menu.

If your computer has become infected with malware/adware that targets Steam, you may see one or more of the following issues:

  • Obvious garbage ads appear over the Steam application
  • An external application appears to be subtly hijacking clicks within the Steam application to send you to external advertisement websites
  • Ads are randomly appearing in Steam Web Browser windows



Disable Your Anti-Virus and Adware Programs Before Launching Steam

Anti-Virus (AV) applications can utilize system resources that Steam games require to function properly. Since some AV software cannot release these resources, this may result in a system or game crash once your computer has run out of resources. It is recommended that you disable all AV programs before launching Steam to ensure all games have access to the system resources. Once finished playing these games, you can re-enable the software to ensure that the computer is protected.


Spyware, adware, virus, trojans and worms may directly impact your ability to access Steam - if you have exhausted other troubleshooting steps, or have noticed unexpected behavior and decreased performance on your machine, please download and install a spyware and adware scanner and a virus scanning utility.


Remove Virus, Trojans and Worms

The most common virus are transmitted through e-mail attachments, downloading files from resources that are not entirely trusted, or peer-to-peer (p2p) file trading applications such as BitTorrent.  With any Anti-Virus program, it is important to keep Anti-Virus definitions updated and run a system scan regularly.

Free Anti-Virus Software for Personal Use
Commercial Anti-Virus Software


Many commercial Anti-Virus software packages include much more than an Anti-Virus application. Packages such as Norton/Symantec and McAfee often include Internet Security components that have been known to interfere with Steam. Please disable your Anti-Virus software before launching Steam and re-enable it once you are done playing games.


Remove Spyware/Adware

A common source of Spyware/Adware is installing unknown software from untrusted websites.  These programs can cause system slowdown and/or connectivity problems.

Some malware removal tools may interfere with Steam - make sure that you set up the application appropriately and create exceptions for Steam and its games.


When searching for or choosing a malware removal tool, ensure that you research the tool before making a decision. Download the tool only through official, trusted websites. Many self-described malware removal tools are actually malware themselves.

Problem with Steam?

Contact Steam Support
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