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Specific Error Messages

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1 files failed to validate and will be reacquired

Why are one or more files failing to verify?

There are many reasons that a file could fail to verify. If you encounter this issue more than once in a row, this failure to verify is intended by the developers of the game.

Files that may not be intended to verify:

  • Custom DRM files that are tailored to your computer only
  • Configuration files that would be reset to default values if verified
  • Saved game files that would cause game progress to be lost if verified


Troubleshooting the issue instead of this file verification message

If you are encountering an issue with a game and seeing this message when verifying the game's files, disregard this message and troubleshoot the issue that you are encountering instead.

A complete list of support pages for Steam games can be found here:

Specific Game Support Articles

If the issue persists, contact the game's support department to troubleshoot the issue further.

See our Third-Party Game Support article for more information.

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ATI and Nvidia Hardware Promotion Issues

This offer has already been activated using a different Steam account.

The offer which you are attempting to register has already been activated on your machine. Please see the Resetting a Lost Password topic for instructions to locate the account the promotion was registered to.


This Steam account already owns the product(s) contained in this offer.

The offer has already been registered to your account. If the games do not appear in your account immediately, please exit and restart Steam to confirm whether or not the registration was successfully completed.

If the games do not appear in the Library section once you have logged back in to your account, please submit a support request.

Sorry, this computer does not meet the system requirements for the offer.

The hardware promotion does not apply for your machine.

If you believe that you have received this message in error, please follow the instructions in the Checking DirectX Settings topic to generate a DXDIAG report.


Sorry! We require DirectX 9 or above to verify the eligibility requirements for the offer.

This error message indicates that the version of DirectX on your machine must be updated. Please see the Checking DirectX Settings topic for instructions to update DirectX to version 9.0c or better.


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Busy Writing to Disk when downloading or updating a game


Downloads slowing or stopping due to hard drive performance is not new. Steam has added the "BUSY WRITING TO DISK" notification to the download page so that users can identify the cause of download interruptions, rather than wondering why a game might not be downloading at their optimal rate.


Steam's bitwise downloading system

Steam uses a downloading system that only updates the update related differences in individual files when downloading or updating a game.

This is advantageous when a game has a very large file that needs an update. Rather than downloading a completely new copy of that file, Steam will instead download only the differences between file versions and then apply them the changes to the existing file.

A side effect of this process is that, when dealing with very large files, Steam's downloading speed can be limited by your hard drive's performance.


Preventing the issue

Ensure that you are not performing any other disk intensive operations while downloading Steam games.

We highly suggest that you avoid installing Steam or its games to an external hard drive. While some external hard drives and connections offer adequate performance, the way in which external hard drives are handled by the operating system can cause issues with Steam.


Upgrading hardware

If you wish to prevent your download speed from being limited by your disk performance, you may wish to upgrade or add an internal, high performance hard drive to your computer.

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Could not load module bin/vgui2.dll

Windows XP users:

Please update your OS to Service Pack 3 before attempting any other troubleshooting steps


This error usually indicates you have accidentally installed multiple Steam installations to different locations. Please complete this guide:

Moving a Steam Installation

If you continue to see this issue, please rename the ClientRegistry.blob.


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Debug Assertion Failed Program: steam.exe

This error message (or a similar error message) will appear in a Windows dialog:

Debug Assertion Failed Program: D:\Progra~1\steam\steam.exe
File:\p4clients\rel_beta\projects\common\misc\win32registry.cpp Line: 447 bCloseRet == 0L
(Press Retry to debug the application- JIT debugging must be enabled)


If you are getting this error and you have X-Fire installed, please uninstall X-Fire from the Add/Remove in your Control Panel. You must reboot after uninstalling to remove the processes that X-Fire installs.


Compatibility Mode Problem

Windows Compatibility Mode may cause this error - please disable Compatibility Mode for Steam.exe:

  1. Exit Steam
  2. Right-click your Steam shortcut and select Properties
  3. Select the Compatibility tab
  4. Uncheck Run this program in compatibility mode and click OK
  5. Restart Steam


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Disk Read or Write Error


The main cause of this error is generally errors on your hard drive. These can either be bad sectors that have not yet been marked as bad by the filesystem, or your hard drive may be failing.

Very rarely, this error may be caused by a bug in Steam.


The first step is to verify that your hard drive is in good health and that all bad sectors have been marked as such by the drive.

To do so on Windows:

  1. Click Start > (My) Computer
  2. Locate the hard drive Steam is installed on. By default, this is C:
  3. Right-click this drive and select Properties.
  4. Click the Tools tab.
  5. In the Error-checking category, click Check now...
  6. In the dialog that appears, check "Automatically fix file system errors" and "Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors."
  7. Click Start.
    • If you are scanning the C: drive, you will be asked to schedule the disk check the next time you start Windows. Accept, restart your computer, and allow the disk check to start—do not press any keys to skip the disk check.
  8. Allow the disk check to complete. This process may take up to several hours, depending on the size of your hard drive and the number of errors.

Once your hard drive has been checked, verify the integrity of the game cache

Please see Verify Game Cache Files (GCF) for instructions.

If you are still seeing this error, move your Steam installation.

We recommend testing on another hard drive, but you can also try installing Steam in another folder such as C:\Steam\

We also recommend redownloading the game instead of using your existing files—you can back up your steamapps folder in the meantime.

The reasons for doing so are multiple:

  • It ensures a fresh copy of the files are downloaded.
  • It will generally install the files to a new physical location on your hard drive, avoiding the physical location that the issues are occurring at.
  • If there is an issue with your Steam installation, or a bug with Steam, it will reset the state of your Steam installation, possibly preventing the issue from reoccurring.

Please see the article on Moving a Steam Installation and Games.

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Error when accessing Steam on a new machine

This error indicates that there is a network issue affecting your abiliity to communicate with the Steam servers.

For more information, please see the Troubleshooting Network Connectivity article.



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Failed to start game (app already running)

What does "Failed to start game (app already running)" mean?

This error is most commonly seen when launching a game that has closed improperly with a silent crash, or that is failing to launch properly.

Sometimes, the game may already be running under a different user account within your operating system.


Verifying your Game Files

In some cases, this error message will appear when there is an issue with the installation of a game. Complete the instructions as they are shown in the following link:

Verifying your Game Cache Files (GCF)


General Troubleshooting

If the game is failing to launch correctly, or has silently crashed previously, you will need to contact the support team for that game to troubleshoot the crash/failure to launch. You can find a complete list of third party-games here:

Steam Support: List of Games by Title


When contacting the third-party support team for a game issue such as this, ensure that you click the blue "Problem with this game? Contact Support" button on the right side of the crashing game's Steam Support page to access the correct support site.

If you think there may be another user account on your computer that may be running this title, try logging out of all other user accounts, restarting your computer and testing the issue again.


Opting out of the current Steam beta

If you are currently participating in the Steam beta, try opting out and testing the issue again.

  1. In Steam, click on "Steam" in the upper left, then choose the "Settings" menu. (Preferences on Mac)
  2. On the "Account" tab under "Beta Participation" click the "Change..." button.
  3. Select the "NONE - Opt out of all beta programs" from the drop down list and click "OK".
  4. You will be prompted to restart Steam, please select the "Restart Steam" button.

Participants in the Steam beta programs should always test both the beta and normal versions of Steam when troubleshooting an issue.


Forcing a silently crashed/hanging game to close

For Windows computers, try the following:

  1. Press the following keys at the same time: Ctrl  Shift  Esc. This will launch the Windows Task Manager.
  2. Select the Processes tab.
  3. Find and select the game's executable file in the list. You can obtain detailed information by expanding the Description column.
  4. Right-click on the selected process.
  5. Select "End Process".
  6. If Windows asks you to confirm that you wish to quit this game, click the "End Process" button to confirm.

The game should now be closed. You can try launching the title again, or proceed to other troubleshooting options.

If this fails, or Windows is having trouble closing the game with this method, try restarting your computer.

For other operating systems, try restarting your computer. Once your computer restarts, perform any troubleshooting operations that you intend before attempting to launch the game again.

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Failed to Start Game (Missing Executable)

Troubleshooting Steps


Step 1 - Check your anti-virus software

This error is most commonly seen when your anti-virus software mistakenly reports game files as malicious and quarantines them.

There are a couple of ways to resolve this:

  • within the anti-virus software look for game files that have been reported and mark them as safe
  • set your anti-virus software to Game Mode
  • have the anti-virus software exclude that game folder when it scans for malicious content. Here's how to do that with popular anti-virus software.

You should also temporarily uninstall any applications listed in our Programs Which May Interfere with Steam.


Step 2 - Verify Game Files

If it's not caused by anti-virus software, the issue could be a corrupted file or failed download. To make sure you have all the files needed, restart your PC and then verify your game files. You can easily do that from your Steam Settings panel.


Step 3 - Submit a Steam Support ticket

If you've completed Steps 1 and 2 and are still seeing this error, please submit a ticket to Steam Support.

We'll ask you for the following, so go ahead and include them with your ticket:

Our goal is to get you playing your games, so we'll review your information and suggest additional troubleshooting steps.

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Fatal Error: Failed to load platform modules

The cause of this error may vary, depending upon when the error is encountered. Please follow the instructions which correspond to the situation.

Error while Steam is Updating

The error is being caused by a crashed Steam process interfering with the Steam update process.

  1. Hold down the Ctrl and Alt keys on the keyboard.
  2. Briefly press Delete and then release the other keys.
  3. Click the Task Manager button.
  4. Select the Processes tab.
  5. Right-click and select End Process for any instances of Steam.exe which are listed.
  6. Start Steam


Error when Starting Steam

Exit Steam and delete everything under the Steam installation directory except Steam.exe and the \SteamApps folder - then start Steam using the Steam.exe application in this folder (not a previous shortcut) - this will force Steam to update when you log in.



Edit only the Windows registry key specified - editing some Windows registry keys may damage your computer's operating system or cause unpredictable behavior.

  1. Ensure that Steam is not running (close any error dialog windows).
  2. Go to the Start button and select Run....
  3. Enter regedit and press OK.
  4. Navigate to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Valve\Steam registry folder.
  5. Locate and double-click the Language registry key.
  6. Enter english in the Value data field and click OK.
  7. Start Steam.


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Fatal Error: Steam needs to be online to update

Please exit Steam and browse to your Steam installation folder(see below for default locations for a Steam installation - if you set a different installation directory, you will need to browse to it).

Delete all of the files in this folder except:

  • - \Steamapps\ folder
  • - Steam.exe (this file is listed as an application and features the black and white Steam logo)

Restart your computer.

Then, launch Steam.exe from within the Steam installation folder, and not from a pre-existing shortcut.

With Steam running, re-test the original issue.

If the issue persists, make sure your network is optimized for Steam: Troubleshooting Network Connectivity. Please follow all suggestions in this article, even if your network appears to be functioning correctly.


Default Steam Installation Locations:


  • (32bit) C:\Program Files\Steam\
  • (64bit) C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\


  • Users/[username]/Library/Application Support/Steam
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Game failed to start (Error code 51)


Interfering Applications

This issue can be caused by various background applications interfering with Steam. Please follow the steps found in the Programs Which May Interfere with Steam article before trying anything else.


This issue can be caused by an application called Airfoil. Airfoil is used to re-route audio from computer applications to wireless devices. Airfoil uses a feature called Instant Hijack which may interfere with Steam.

To disable this feature, do the following:

  1. Click Start > All Programs > Airfoil and click the Airfoil application.
  2. Once application launches, click the Airfoil menu and choose Preferences.
  3. On the Extras tab, click Disable Instant Hijack
  4. Then, restart your computer and re-test the issue.

Alternatively, you can add Steam and any games you wish to play to the Exclude List, also found on the Extras tab in the Airfoil Preferences window. If the issue persists, it may be necessary to fully uninstall Airfoil.


F-Secure uses a feature called DeepGuard which may interfere with Steam. If you are seeing the above error, disable DeepGuard and re-test the issue. If the issue continues, you may need to *temporarily* uninstall F-Secure to determine the cause of the problem.

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Game failed to start (Error Code 83)

Verifying your game files and running the title's secondary installers

Follow the instructions in our verifying game cache files (GCF) article:

Verifying Game Cache Files (GCF)

Restart your computer and attempt to launch the game again.


When launching your game for the first time or after verifying your game cache, do not cancel or close Steam's first time setup window. Ensure that all installers that are launched by this process are completed successfully, even if you have completed an installation of that component in the past.

If you need to manually install the game's secondary installers (such as DirectX, .NET, PhysX, etc.), you can find more information about the installers for a specific game by searching for the game by title in the "Search Steam Support" field in the upper right corner of any Steam Support page.


Troubleshooting network connectivity

Follow the instructions in our network connectivity article linked below. Pay special attention to the sections regarding your router and firewalls.

Troubleshooting Network Connectivity

Restart your computer and test the issue again.


Programs that interfere with Steam

If the issue persists, check for any applications on your computer thay may interfere with Steam:

Programs that interfere with Steam


If the issue persists, try removing any applications that can interfere with Steam rather than just disabling them. Ensure that you remove any IP proxy or VPN software, firewalls, web security software, or antivirus applications even if they are not listed in the above article.

After removing all applications that can interfere with Steam, restart your computer and test the issue again.


Troubleshooting the issue further

If the methods listed above have not resolved the issue, the next steps can be used to narrow the source of the problem down.

  • Try installing and launching the game from another computer on your current internet connection. If this is successful, your computer's firewall or security software is likely still blocking Steam.
  • Try bringing your computer to a different location with a different internet connection. If this is successful, it's likely that your router's firewall or configuration is preventing certain essential Steam processes from connecting to the Steam servers.


While there's little chance that outdated drivers could cause error code 83, it's always a best practice to keep your hardware drivers fully updated: 


Submitting a Steam Support ticket for error 83

If the issue is not resolved after completing all steps that are listed above, submit a ticket to Steam Support. Describe any changes that occurred (such as a different error message, longer loading time, etc.) after any specific step in detail. The more information that you are able to provide, the faster we will be able to narrow the cause down.

Attach an MSINFO report (PC) or System Profiler report (Mac) when submitting a ticket for a quicker resolution. You may also wish to attach screenshots of the error to provide context for Steam Support to work with.

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Game is not available on on your current platform

Operating system compatiblity and SteamPlay

This error message means that the game is not supported on the operating system that you are currently using.  You can check each game's system requirements and compatible operating systems on that game's Steam Store page.

Games that list SteamPlay on their Steam Store page can be played on any of the two or more operating systems that are listed next to the SteamPlay icon.



When checking system compatibility with a specific game, ensure that you check the game's hardware requirements in addtion to compatible operating systems.



Most Steam games can be played on a supported Windows operating system. Ensure that you check which versions of Windows are supported for any game that you are interested in purchasing. Most games that support Windows 7 will also work with Windows 8.



A list of featured Mac OSX games can be found here:

You can also perform a search within the Steam Store and then select "Mac" in the operating system dropdown box to filter to Mac OSX compatible results only.

Be sure to check the specific version of OSX that is that required for any game that you are insterested in.


Unbuntu Linux

Steam and its games are currently only supported on Ubuntu 12.04/12.10 with Unity, Gnome, or KDE desktops.

A list of featured Linux games can be found here:

You can also perform a search within the Steam Store and then select "Linux" in the operating system dropdown box to filter to Linux compatible results only.



Some users will deliberately purchase a game that is not available on their operating system with the aim of running the game with emulators or other utilities that simulate the game's system requirements. Be aware that purchases made with this goal in mind are not supported by Steam Support and do not qualify for a refund in any case.

Windows only games are not supported on Mac hardware even if you are using a dual boot utility to launch Windows. Steam Support cannot provide support for Windows games that are running on Mac hardware.

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Incomplete Installation (#) Errors

Network Connectivity Issues

Internet or other network connectivity issues are the most common cause for encountering an "Incomplete Installation" error. Please visit the Troubleshooting Network Connectivity and Required Ports for Steam articles to ensure that your network is properly configured for Steam. Common error codes for connectivity issues include 3, 16, 20, and 35.


Common Error Codes 

Incomplete Installation (2)

Many of these issues were tied to FAT32 drives which has been corrected in a Steam update.

Some users have also reported moving the Steam installation to the default C:\ Drive will correct this issue.

If the issue persists, please contact Steam Support.

Incomplete Installation (3)

Steam can not connect to the internet.  Please see the Troubleshooting Network Connectivity article.

Incomplete Installation (10)

Steam servers are busy.  Please try again later.


Incomplete Installation (16)

Network timeout.  Please wait a few minutes and then try launching the game once more.  If the issue persists, please complete this guide.

Incomplete Installation (20)

Steam servers are unreachable.  This may mean Steam is experiencing technical difficulties. It may also be that your network needs to be properly configured for Steam.

Incomplete Installation (35)

Please ensure that the Required Ports for Steam are open.


Incomplete Installation (53)

Various antivirus applications are known to interfere with Steam and cause this error.  Please try following the suggestions in the Error Code 53 article. 

Incomplete Installation (55)

This issue can also occur on computers with Avast installed. You will need to configure Avast to ignore Steam itself and all Steam game files. Some users have had to uninstall Avast to resolve the issue.

This may also indicate a Steam Service failure.  Please try enabling the Steam Service:

  • Exit Steam.
  • Click Start > Run (Windows Key + R)
  • Type the following command:

    C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\bin\Steamservice.exe /Install 

    (If you have installed Steam to another path, please replace C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam with the correct path.)

    This command requires administrator privileges and may take a few minutes.
  • Launch Steam and test the issue again. 

McAfee Security Scan is also known to create this error for Left 4 Dead 2. 

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Page Fault Found In A Non Paged Area

Anytime Windows says there is a PAGE or DATA error then the problem is almost certainly a memory issue.

There are several possible causes for the following types of error messages:

Page Fault Found In A Non Paged Area BSOD's
Memory Dump BSOD's

(BSOD = "Blue Screen of Death")


BIOS Caching Enabled

The first thing to do is make sure that EPROM CACHE is disabled in the BIOS.  If this is enabled, some versions of Windows can get confused and might display the BSODs randomly.

In fact, for Windows XP (home or Pro) you should disable all BIOS caching options, XP does not use these caching features at all.

If this option isn't set or turning it off doesn't fix the BSOD (or your motherboard doesn't have this option) then the next most likely cause is one of the memory modules.



The next most typical cause of this type of BSOD is overheating.

The fastest way to check this is to remove the sidepanel on your computer and use a room fan to blow air into the case.  If the problem goes away, then you have an overheating problem.

It is also possible for there to be dust or dirt or some other contamination on the motherboard or memory causing this, especially if your warm computer case has become a home for some animal.

Check to make sure that there is no dust or contamination on the ram or motherboard that could be linking pins together and ensure all memory DIMMs are properly inserted into the motherboard memory slots.

Follow the motherboard manufacturer's recommended memory slot order, especially for motherboards that are double rate capable.

At this point, you should run extended memory tests on your computer to locate the faulty memory.  There are several free programs you can use, here is a list with links.


Memory Tests

It's always good to run a memory test or two if you get memory errors of any kind just to make sure it isn't something easy to find.

Here are a few you can get for free:



Overclocking causes heat that can create or aggravate an existing problem, and overclocking also pushes the timing margins which can make your computer system unstable.

Anytime you have errors like this you should immediately revert your system back to normal clock and voltage settings.


Where does the error come from?

Windows reports if there is any error in the transfer of data to or from the Harddrive, Memory or SCSI or IDE controllers. Primarily errors such as these can occur if Windows cannot write to the swapfile.

This condition would present a typical hard drive timeout error for Windows and thus throw a flag or BSOD and kill all processes to prevent damage to the hardware or from overwriting files on the hard drive. This is a standard memory error protection feature in XP.

Faulty hard drives, graphics cards and sound cards can also cause BSODs, Creative sound cards are known to have problems if they are too far down the PCI bus.

It isn't unusual for cards to become partially unseated from their connectors, especially if the computer has been moved or the screws are not tight.


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Platform Error: bad module Friends/friendsUI.dll, not loading

This error indicates the friendsUI.dll file is corrupted or outdated.

The friendsUI.dll is extracted from the winui.gcf found in your ..\Steam\steamapps\ directory. To ensure you have the most recent working friendsUI.dll, please delete or move the winui.gcf out of the steamapps directory and restart Steam. The process will force Steam to download the latest version of winui.gcf and re-extract your friendsUI.dll.

If deleting winui.gcf does not correct the issue, you must delete all instances of friendsUI.dll to allow winui.gcf to re-extract the file: Run a search for friendsui.dll in your Steam directory and delete the files, then restart Steam.


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Platform Error: Module Failed to Initialize

Disable Steam Community

  1. Load Steam
  2. Click Steam > Settings > In-game tab
  3. Uncheck Enable Steam Community In-Game
  4. Click OK
  5. Run the game and test the issue


Change the language for Steam

Make sure Steam is set to English. For information on how to adjust the Steam language settings, please see the Change Steam Language Setting topic


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Precondition Assertion Failed

Name: ValidPositiveOffset


PreCondition Assertion Failed

Name: ValidPositiveOffset
Program: C:\Steam\steam.exe
File: Src\SplitPath.cpp
Line: 310

( !(nCharsToMove >= 0) || (m_uLocalPathOffset+static_cast(nCharsToMove) <= m_sPath.length()) )
(Press Retry to debug the Application - JIT debugging must be enabled)

This issue is caused by the Unerase Wizard component of Norton Systemworks 2006 (prior versions will not generate this error).

If you would like to disable the Unerase Wizard component, please follow the steps below:

  1. Exit Steam
  2. Go to the Start button
  3. Select the Control Panel option
  4. Open Norton SystemWorks 2006
  5. Select Remove then Modify
  6. Select Customize Norton Utilities
  7. Uncheck the box for Unerase Wizard
  8. Click the OK button, then click Next to uninstall the component
  9. Reboot your machine and restart Steam

Name: EntryIndexInBounds


PreCondition Assertion Failed

Name: EntryIndexInBounds
Program: C:\Program Files\Valve\Steam\Steam.exe
File: Src\ChcheFileFixedDirectory.cpp
Line: 755

uEntry < m_uMaxEntries
(Press Retry to debug the Application - JIT debugging must be enabled)

This specific error message indicates a damaged file in your /SteamApps/ folder.

To correct this issue, please follow the instructions below:

  1. Exit from Steam if it's running
  2. Rename the SteamApps folder to ~SteamApps
  3. Run Steam and let it update the platform files
  4. If that all works, then exit from Steam again, and move back just the game cache files one at a time
  5. Don't replace anything that is already in the SteamApps folder
  6. If the error comes back then the last GCF file you moved is the problem, exit Steam and delete that file
  7. Finally, move your account directory and the rest of your game folders back
  8. Once you have confirmed that the issue has been resolved, you may delete the /~SteamApps/ folder


Name: InRecvMsgData state


PreCondition Assertion Failed

Name: InRecvMsgData state
Program: C:\program files\Valve\Steam\Steam.exe
File: Src\CSClientConnection.cpp
Line: 1769

m_CurRecvState == eRecvMsgData
(Press Retry to debug the application - JIT debugging must be enabled)

If you receive this error there is a very good chance you have a program like BitDefender running which has hooked your internet connection.

You won't be able to disable this program. You will need to uninstall it completely and reboot in order to fix this problem.


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Steam is already running

This error message indicates that Steam is not loading properly. The process is running in the background and is visible in Task Manager's Processes tab, but is not launching the user interface.

Compatibility Mode

Please ensure that Steam is not set to use Compatibility features:

  1. Browse to your Steam installation (Usually C:\Program Files\Steam\)
  2. Right click on Steam.exe, choose Properties.
  3. Click on the Compatibility tab.
  4. Uncheck any boxes that are checked, and click Apply.
  5. Then, click the "Show settings for all users" button.
  6. Again, make sure none of these boxes are checked, and click Ok.
  7. Click Ok to close any open dialog boxes.


Reinstall Steam

If Compatibility features were not inabled, or if disabling them fails to resolve the issue, your Steam installation may be corrupted. Pease follow the instructions below to reinstall Steam files without affecting your installed games:

  1. Exit Steam and go to the folder called C:\Program Files\Steam\ (this is the default location for a Steam installation - if you set a different installation directory, you will need to browse to it).
  2. Delete all of the files in this folder except:
    • •The Steamapps folder and Steam.exe (If 'exe' is not visible, look for the black and white Steam icon)
  3. Restart your computer.
  4. Then, you will need to launch Steam.exe from within the Steam installation folder, and not from a pre-existing shortcut.


Interfering Applications and Malware

To test if there are interfering applications, please review the information provided in Programs Which May Interfere with Steam and try the solutions outlined in Disabling Background Applications

In some cases, malware may be to blame for this issue. Please ensure your computer is free from any possibly malicious software.

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Steam is no longer supported on this computer's operating system

Microsoft has ceased development for Windows 98 and Windows ME. Steam includes features that these operating systems can not support.

In order to continue using Steam, you must upgrade your operating system to a more recent version of Windows.


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Steam is not a registered protocol

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
    @="URL:steam protocol"
    "URL Protocol"=""
    @="\"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
    @="URL:steam protocol"
    "URL Protocol"=""
    @="\"C:\\Program Files\\Steam\\steam.exe\" \"%1\""
  4. Save the text file as steam.reg
  5. Double click Steam.reg to run the file



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\""




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Steam repeatedly updates or verifies game files

To resolve this issue please do the following:

On Windows

  1. Restart Steam
  2. If the issue persists, exit Steam, rename your ClientRegistry.blob, and restart Steam. The ClientRegistry.blob can be found in your Steam installation directory. C:\Program Files\Steam by default.
  3. If the issue still persists, you may have issues with your local Steam files. You may refresh these files without deleting your game files. Please follow this process to refresh your Steam files:
    • Exit Steam
    • Navigate to your Steam installation directory. (C:\Program Files\Steam\ by default.)
    • Delete everything in that directory EXCEPT the following:
      • steam.exe
      • steamapps directory (All of Steam's game files are kept here.)
    • Restart Steam to test the issue

On Mac

  1. Restart Steam
  2. If the issue persists, exit Steam, rename your ClientRegistry.blob, and restart Steam. The ClientRegistry.blob can be found in your Steam installation directory. ~/User/[username]/Library/Application Support/Steam by default.
  3. If the issue still persists, you may have issues with your local Steam files. You may refresh these files without deleting your game files. Please follow this process to refresh your Steam files:
    • Exit Steam
    • Navigate to your Steam installation directory: ~/User/[username]/Library/Application Support/Steam
    • Delete everything in that directory EXCEPT SteamApps 
    • Restart Steam to test the issue


Note for Dialup users

Ensure that you have your internet connection speed properly set in Steam's Steam > Settings > Download menu.



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Steam.exe (main exception): To run Steam, you must first connect to the internet

Refreshing your Steam configuration files

This can resolve issues with corrupted configuration files that can result from Steam crashing or being forced to close.

Exit the Steam application completely.

Open Internet Explorer, Safari or Firefox and type steam://flushconfig into the web address bar and press Enter. (If asked to allow this website to open a program, please click 'Allow' or 'OK')

When prompted by Steam to reset your configuration, click 'OK.'

Once done, log in to Steam and test the issue again.

If you have multiple installation folders for your Steam games, performing this process will remove them. You will need to add the folders again before your games will appear as installed.

In order to add the folders to Steam, do the following:

  1. Open Steam
  2. Click Steam > Settings (Preferences on Mac)
  3. Navigate to the 'Downloads' tab
  4. Click the 'Steam Library Folders' button
  5. Click on 'Add Library Folder' and add the directory that contains your games
  6. Click 'OK'
  7. Restart Steam


Troubleshooting Network Connectivity

If you still encounter this issue after refreshing your Steam configuration files, ensure that there is nothing on your computer that could be preventing Steam from accessing the internet.


Applications such as software firewalls, antivirus or security applications, VPN or IP proxies, or anything else that could modify a program's access to the internet should be temporarily removed from your computer while you are troubleshooting this issue.

If you still encounter the issue after completing all possible steps in the article linked above, ensure that your internet hardware and connection are configured for use with Steam.


Further troubleshooting

Test the issue on a different computer on the same network and internet connection.

If the issue is resolved on another computer:

  • There is likely software or an operating system configuration issue on your primary computer that is blocking Steam's access to the internet.

If the issue persists on another computer:

  • The issue is likely caused by your network hardware (router, modem, etc.), a hardware firewall, or an issue with your ISP. This does not rule out configuration/application issues that are uniform across both computers, such as an antivirus application that you use on all of your home computers.


Submitting a Steam Support ticket

If you cannot resolve the issue with the information provided on this page or the linked articles, open a ticket with Steam Support.

Always provide as much information as you can regarding the troubleshooting steps that you have already completed, screenshots (Windows) (Mac) of error messages or other relevant information, and an Msinfo (Windows) or System Profiler (Mac) report with your technical support ticket.

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Steam.exe is not a valid Win32 Application

This error can be the result from several causes:

  1. You had a virus or trojan on your computer and removed it with an anti-virus tool, but the Steam executable was damaged.

    If you were infected with a virus or trojan and your Steam installation was damaged, the best thing is for you to uninstall Steam and do a new clean install once you are certain you've removed the infection.

  2. Your hard disk had a bad sector and some of the Steam.exe was lost or damaged.

    If you are having problems on your hard disk, make sure you run scandisk in thorough mode, checking for bad sectors and defrag your disk once there are no further problems. If you are unable to run scandisk or it fails to complete, your hard disk might be having problems, please contact your hard disk manufacturer for further assistance.

  3. Your internet connection or Operating system had some problem during a Steam update that damaged the Steam executable when it was being downloaded to your system. This might include running out of disk space.

    In this case, you can try doing a repair of your Steam installation using the Wise installer tool in your Steam directory or from your O/S control panel add/remove programs option. When you select Steam, you are given the option to remove or repair the installation. Repair will replace the basic install files that might be damaged, and then Steam will update itself to the current version when you run it again.

    If you are out of disk space, you will need to do disk cleanup (use the wizard in your operating system) or perhaps uninstall applications that you no longer need. Always be sure to run scandisk and defrag after removing applications from your computer.

  4. You might have a bad download of the SteamInstaller.exe program.

    In this case, uninstall Steam from the control panel add/remove option and then get a new copy of the latest installer (always get the latest installer from Steam only).


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SteamStartup(0xf,0x12fc74) failed with error 108: The local steam service is not running

This error might happen if there is an extra copy of Steam.dll in one of the game directories or in the system path.

There should only be one Steam.dll in your Steam install directory, typically:

C:\Program Files\Steam\steam.dll
C:\Program Files\Valve\Steam\steam.dll

The fastest way to find errant steam.dll files is to use your O/S search function from your Start button:

Start > Search > For Files or Folders > all files and folders

then enter steam.dll in the all or part of the file name: box and click on the search button.

You should only have one Steam installation on your system so you should only have one copy of steam.dll. If you find any others then delete them.


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The MSS DLL Is Incorrectly Installed in the Windows System Directory


It is strongly recommended that you create a system restore point and backup your important files before making any changes to your system directory. If you are not comfortable editing files in the Windows directory, we recommend seeking assistance from your computer's manufacturer or from Microsoft Support.

If you receive this error message then you most likely have the mss32.dll file either in your C:\Windows\System32 folder or somewhere else in the system path.

You need to delete that file from your system. After you have deleted the file, it is recommended that you reboot your computer.

If you are unable to find the file in the System32 folder, use the Windows search function and be sure to enable searching in hidden and system folders in the advanced options.


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The registry is in use by another process, timeout expired

This issue can be caused by a third-party application interfering with the normal operation of Steam - one process which has been identified with this crash is the Tuneup WinStyler Theme Service. Other applications such as BitTorrentDNA have also been confirmed to cause this issue.

Please see the Disabling Background Applications article for instructions on how to disable background applications. If disabling the application does not allow Steam to function correctly, you may want to consider completely uninstalling any applications that you believe may be causing the conflict to test Steam again.

If the issue persists, please see the list of Programs Which Interfere with Steam and Spyware, Adware, and Viruses Interfering with Steam in order to ensure that any programs known to cause issues with Steam are disabled.


This issue can also be caused by an incorrectly set BIOS clock. Please refer to the manual for your computer or motherboard or contact your computer or motherboard manufacturer for more information on checking and adjusting BIOS settings.

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The Steam Browser is Disabled

The Steam Web Browser requires a CPU that supports the SSE2 instruction set. Intel added support for SSE2 instructions in the Pentium 4 (c.2001), and AMD added these instructions in c. 2003 Opteron and Athlon 64 processors.

If your CPU or computer lacks the SSE2 system requirement, you will need to view Steam-related web content in your default web browser.

We recommend upgrading your computer with a CPU that has SSE2 support if you would like to use the Steam Client web browser.


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The Steam servers are too busy to handle your request. Error Code (53)

Server busy errors, Steam connection errors, and error 53 can often times be caused by anti-virus or other background programs that are preventing Steam from launching your game. Please disable background programs and try launching the game again.



If you are running McAfee, disabling real-time scanning may resolve the issue.

If disabling real-time scanning doesn't resolve the issue, try temporarily but completely removing McAfee from the computer to test the issue again.


Steam Client:

If you are still having trouble, please exit Steam and delete your ClientRegistry.blob file and restart Steam.


Hard Drive Format (Windows Users):

If installing to a separate drive from your main Steam directory, please ensure that your additional hard drive is set to the NTSF (NT File System) format. If you have questions regarding this process, we would recommend contacting your Hard Drive manufacturer for further assistance.


Additional Steps:

The steps in the following FAQs have also solved these errors for some users:

This Game is Currently Unavailable.

Troubleshooting Network Connectivity.


If the steps in the above links do not resolve your issue, please contact Steam Support and provide us a screenshot of the error and an msinfo report:

MSINFO32 Reports


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There was an error accessing YouTube to retrieve your username. Please try again.

There was an error accessing YouTube to retrieve your username. Please try again.


First, ensure that you are entering the correct credentials for your YouTube account.

If your entered credentials are correct, this error can be caused by YouTube's two-factor authentication system. You can resolve this issue by setting up a unique password for your YouTube account. Refer to Google's documentation for more information:

Sign in using application-specific passwords

Once your unique password is set up, test the issue again. Your accounts should now link without issue.

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This game is currently unavailable


Windows 7 and Vista Users

Please complete the  Windows 7 and Vista Troubleshooting guide before attempting any other troubleshooting steps.


Windows Troubleshooting Steps

After each step, please re-test the issue.

  1. Exit and restart Steam
  2. Update All Drivers - including DirectX, PhysX, and Visual C++ as found at the bottom of the guide
  3. Exit Steam and rename the ClientRegistry.blob and restart Steam
  4. Exit Steam and delete everything under the Steam installation directory except Steam.exe, the ClientRegistryOld.blob, and the \SteamApps folder - this will force Steam to update when you log in
  5. Complete the Verifying GCF Cache Files process to repair your game cache files.
  6. This error may be caused by having certain Steam files set to Read Only. To resolve this:
    • Exit Steam.
    • Navigate to the directory where you have installed Steam. (Typically C:\Program Files\ or C:\Program Files\Valve\.)
    • Right-click on the Steam folder.
    • Select Properties.
    • Check the Read-Only checkbox and press Apply.
    • Uncheck the Read-Only checkbox and press Apply.
  7. If this issue is only happening on a third party non-Valve game, please try launching the game's .exe directly from its installation folder: C:\Program Files\Steam\SteamApps\Common\<Game Title>.  You may also try other .exe's such as Launcher.exe in the game folder to see if a different error message is found.
  8. If the issue persists, it may be caused by a network configuration issue.  Please complete the Troubleshooting Network Connectivity guide to further assess the problem.


Data Execution Prevention

  1. Go to Start > Control Panel > System > Advanced > Performance > Data Execution Prevention.
  2. Select "Turn on DEP for all programs and services except those I select:"
  3. Select "Add", navigate to C:\Program Files\Steam (or your default Steam directory), and add Steam.exe to the exception list.
  4. Additionally, you will want to add any .exe's for the game you are seeing issues with.  These files will either be in Steam\steamapps\common\<Game Title> or in \Steam\steamapps\<Your Steam Account Name>\<Game Title>\


Mac OSX Troubleshooting Steps

After each step, please re-test the issue.

  1. Exit and restart Steam
  2. Make sure your Mac is fully updated
  3. Exit Steam and rename the ClientRegistry.blob and restart Steam
  4. Exit Steam and delete everything except SteamApps under the Steam installation directory, ~/Users/[username]/Library/Application Support/Steam, this will force Steam to update when you log in
  5. Complete the Verifying GCF Cache Files process to repair your game cache files.
  6. If the issue persists, it may be caused by a network configuration issue.  Please complete the Troubleshooting Network Connectivity guide to further assess the problem.


Secondary Installers

Many Steam games include installers for features and services required by the game. These include installers for DirectX, PhysX, Games for Windows Live, C++ components, or Windows updates required by the game.

Steam is designed to run these installers when the game is first launched. If an installer is canceled by a user or prevented from running by another application on your system, the game may not launch correctly.  If this occurs, these installers will need to be launched manually.

These installers are found in the game's installation folder, or a subfolder, found in the following location by default:

C:\Program Files\Steam\steamapps\common\<Game Title>\

Note: Your installation path may differ from the above location.

Third Party Games

In some cases, this issue can be resolved by installing or reinstalling the Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 Redistributable Package.  These installers can be found at the bottom of this guide.

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Unable to find Steam.dll entry point InternalSteamStartEngine

This is typically caused by a bad Steam installer or corruption in your existing Steam installation.

The easiest fix for this problem is to rename the ClientRegistry.blob in your Steam folder (the default location for the Steam folder is C:\Program Files\Steam).

If that does not resolve the issue then please uninstall Steam using Add/Remove Programs in the Windows Control Panel. Once Steam has been uninstalled, please download the latest Steam installer here: Get Steam Now.


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Unable to load Authentication Library

Authentication Library errors are related to outdated video drivers or environment variables which are not properly configured.

Update Video Drivers

Please see the Updating Drivers topic for instructions to update to the latest drivers or your video card.


Check Environment Variables

  1. Right-click on My Computer and select Properties.
  2. Click on the Advanced tab.
  3. Click on the Environment Variables button near the bottom of the window.
  4. Scroll through the variables looking for anything that references your Steam installation directory.
  5. If you find a reference to Steam, select the variable where it is present and press the Delete button.
  6. Click the OK button twice to exit.
  7. Restart your computer.


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Unable to load filesystem_steam.dll

Verify GCF files

Please see the Verifying GCF Cache Files article for instructions to repair your game cache files.

Extra filesystem_steam.dll or steam.dll copies

  1. Navigate to your Windows folder (default: C:\Windows)
  2. Right click the Windows folder and select Search 
  3. Search for any files named "filesystem_steam.dll" or "steam.dll"
  4. Delete or rename these files.


PC Tools Spyware Doctor

PC Tools Spyware Doctor is known to cause this issue. Please see Programs Which May Interfere with Steam for more information on resolving this issue.



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