Main Menu

Steam is not a registered protocol

I get the error "Steam is not a registered protocol" or "This file does not have a program associated with it" when attempting to make a purchase through Steam - what can I do to resolve this issue?

Common Symptoms
  • Nothing happens when steam:// links are clicked
  • Purchase buttons do not work on the Steam Storefront
  • Install buttons for demos do not work
  • Steam News links do not work
  • Links on Steam system tray icon do not work
  • Desktop shortcuts for Steam games do not work

Alternative Web Browsers

If you are using a browser such as Firefox or Opera, you may experience this issue. Try using Internet Explorer and see if the issue persists. Internet Explorer must be fully up to date.

 

Windows Vista and Windows 7 Users

Problems with the Steam Client Service can cause recurring issues with steam:// protocol registration. It is recommended that you try the following solution prior to using the methods provided below.

  1. Click Start ▶ All Programs ▶ Accessories
  2. Right-click on Command Prompt and then click "Run as administrator..."
  3. In the command prompt, enter the following command, including quotation marks: "C:\Program Files\Steam\bin\SteamService.exe" /repair
  4. Note: C:\Program Files\Steam\ is the default installation directory for Steam - change this to the correct directory if you installed Steam to a different location. 64-bit systems will use Program Files (x86) instead of Program Files.
  5. This process will take a few minutes to complete. Once finished, the message "Steam Client Service repair completed." will appear.
  6. The issue may be fixed at this point, however it is recommended you reboot your computer before testing if the repair resolved the problem.

Further resolutions for Vista- and 7-specific issues are available in the following article: Windows Vista Issues.

 

Run Steam Installation Again

To install over your existing Steam installation, download a new copy of the Steam installer from the link below:

Get Steam Now

Run the installation program and specify your new Steam installation folder (if this folder has been moved).

 

Repairing the Registry (32-bit and 64-bit Operating Systems)

Note: 64-bit operating systems require further entries as listed below.

If reinstalling Steam does not resolve the issue, there may be something preventing the registry from being updated. In this case, you will need to create a new registry key that will be added to your system registry. Please follow these steps:

  1. Exit Steam
  2. Open your text editor of choice and create a new text file. Notepad is a good example.
  3. Copy and paste the following text into your new text document:
    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\steam]
    @="URL:steam protocol"
    "URL Protocol"=""
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\steam\DefaultIcon]
    @="steam.exe"
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\steam\Shell]
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\steam\Shell\Open]
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\steam\Shell\Open\Command]
    @="\"C:\\Program Files\\Steam\\steam.exe\" \"%1\""
    
    
  4. Save the text file as steam.reg
  5. Double click Steam.reg to run the file

 

Repairing the Registry (64-bit Operating Systems)

If reinstalling Steam does not resolve the issue, there may be something preventing the registry from being updated. In this case, you will need to create a new registry key that will be added to your system registry. Please follow these steps:

  1. Exit Steam
  2. Open your text editor of choice and create a new text file. Notepad is a good example.
  3. Copy and paste the following text into your new text document:
    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Wow6432Node\steam]
    @="URL:steam protocol"
    "URL Protocol"=""
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Wow6432Node\steam\DefaultIcon]
    @="steam.exe"
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Wow6432Node\steam\Shell]
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Wow6432Node\steam\Shell\Open]
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Wow6432Node\steam\Shell\Open\Command]
    @="\"C:\\Program Files\\Steam\\steam.exe\" \"%1\""
    
    
  4. Save the text file as steam.reg
  5. Double click Steam.reg to run the file
     

     


Note:

If you have installed Steam into a directory other than the default location:

C:\Program Files\Steam

You will need to change the last line of the registry to match the folder where Steam is installed.

For example, if you have Steam installed in C:\Games\Steam, the last line of the registry will need to be changed to this:

@="\"C:\\Games\\Steam\\steam.exe\" \"%1\""

 

 

 

Problem with Steam?

Contact Steam Support