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Steam Community Overlay does not Activate

When I am playing a game or attempting a purchase, the Steam Community Overlay will not open.

Many games require the Steam Overlay in order for certain features to work correctly. These feature can include wallet purchasing, adding friends, party management, or even matchmaking.

If the overlay is not working or disabled, these features will have issues as well (you can test the functionality of the overlay by using shift+tab in-game).

Enabling the In-game Overlay

The first thing you'll want to do is make sure that you have the Steam Community in-game overlay enabled in Steam's settings. To check, go to:

  • Steam > Settings > In-game tab.
  • Check the box next to Enable the Steam Overlay while in-game.

Additionally, each Steam game has the option to remove the In-Game Overlay. Please check your individual games as outlined:

  • Right click the game in your Library
  • Select Properties
  • On the General tab, check the box next to Enable the Steam Overlay while in-game

The default shortcut to open the Steam Community while in game is Shift + Tab. You can change the shortcut in by clicking Steam > Settings > In-Game.


Applications that May Interfere with the In-Game Overlay

Certain background applications, usually firewalls and certain Anti-Virus applications, have been known to cause issues with the Steam Overlay. In most cases, disabling these programs before launching Steam will allow the overlay to work properly.

If you are running other background programs while using Steam and you are experiencing this problem, we recommend following our guide on disabling background applications to troubleshoot the issue.

Known Incompatible Applications

  • ATI Tray Tools
  • EVGA Precision
  • Kaspersky AV or Internet Security
    • Kaspersky 7.0 users must enable the Compatibility Mode for Programs Using Self-Protection Methods option, also disable the option for Application Integrity Control. For more specific instructions, please refer to our guide on Anti-virus software reporting Steam is malicious.
  • RivaTuner
    • Please disable RivaTunerStatisticsServer.exe in order to use the in-game overlay. 
  • sView 3D Image viewer - S3D service
  • The Shield Deluxe Anti-virus
  • Tiny Personal Firewall
  • Ventrilo
    • The issue with Ventrilo has been reported to be a Vista issue and making the involved apps Run as Administrator solved the problem.
  • Windows Blinds
  • X-Fire
    • Close X-Fire, or set it to not attempt to run its in-game portion on games not launched via X-Fire.
  • Zone Alarm

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