How to Fix Steam Preparing to Launch Error

Wondering how you can fix Steam preparing to launch error on Windows 10 or macOS?

Anyone who religiously plays games will recognize how big Steam is in the video game industry. The online platform is arguably the biggest online video game distributor in the world. At the same time, Steam also has a reputation for offering generous sales to its players.

Despite that, it’s no secret that bugs and errors are commonplace, even in the best programs. If you’re reading this article, then you must’ve encountered the “preparing to launch error” from Steam on Windows 10 or macOS.

Thankfully, there are a lot of methods that you can do to try and fix this error. We’ll be going over various fixes like updating your graphics card, verifying game files, and even reinstalling Steam. Here’s how you can fix Steam preparing to launch error on Windows 10 or macOS.

Let’s get started!


1. Check Your Specs.

Before anything, you’re going to want to see if your computer can handle the game you’re trying to launch. Computer systems that don’t have the capabilities to run a game will cause the game to fail upon launching.

This is particularly a big issue if you have an old computer or a PC that can’t handle big games. New games require much more computing power, which can’t run on a computer with low specs.

With that said, try to compare your computer specs with the minimum required specs of the game you’re trying to launch. Keep in mind that just because you reach the minimum specs, doesn’t mean the game will run.

Although it’s counterintuitive to think of it this way, you will require a tiny bit more than the minimum requirement. This way, you can guarantee that the game will run on your system.


2. Update Your Computer Drivers.

Moving on, perhaps your drivers are outdated or corrupted. In cases like this, having an outdated driver will compromise your gaming experience. This is especially true for graphics card drivers, where having the most updated version is a necessity.

For this method, we’ll be redirecting you to Steam’s article on how to update your drivers. This way, you can read through their detailed guide, which does a superb job at highlighting the steps.

The process will be different for AMD and NVIDIA, so keep that in mind when updating your drivers. This can take a couple of minutes to half an hour, depending on the size of the update and the speed of your internet.


3. Terminate Steam’s Process and Reboot.

Common software errors and bugs can occur during the launching process. Unfortunately, another error that adds to your problems is when these faulty bugs don’t exit together with Steam.

This leaves you with a software error that’s running in the background, compromising Steam’s future launching processes. To remove that, we’ll be eliminating Steam’s running process in your computer through the Task Manager or Activity Monitor.

We’ve already published the detailed steps to this before, so we’ll link you to that article instead. Keep in mind that while the steps there are for Spotify and not Steam, the process is still the same.

Simply look for Steam instead of Spotify and terminate that process. Here’s how you can terminate Steam’s process through the Task Manager or Activity Monitor. Hopefully, this fixes your Steam preparing to launch error on Windows 10 or macOS.


4. Delete Steam’s Appcache.

While on the topic of the previous method, there’s something you can delete in Steam’s file directory that might help. The Appcache folder holds the cache files of Steam’s applications.

Deleting this might clear out any software errors or corrupted files that are responsible for the errors you’re facing. Before you proceed, you’ll have to repeat the previous step and terminate Steam’s process before deleting the Appcache.

Here’s how you can delete Steam’s Appcache folder:

  1. Start by terminating Steam’s process. You’ll find the steps to do this in the previous method.
  2. Once that’s done, navigate to the directory where Steam is installed. Referred below is the default directory, which should be where your Steam files are located.

C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam

  1. When you’re there, you’ll see the appcache folder at the top if you’ve arranged the files in alphabetical order. Delete this folder by pressing on the Delete key on your keyboard.

  1. With that out of the way, go ahead and run Steam. You can also run it as an administrator by right-clicking on the program and selecting ‘Run as Administrator’. Alternatively, you can also set it up so that Steam always runs as an administrator.

steam's preparing to launch error on windows 10

Hopefully, all these steps will fix Steam preparing to launch error on Windows 10. Feel free to let us know in the comments below if this was the fix for you!


5. Verify The Game’s Cache Files.

A great feature that Steam added to its platform is being able to verify your game files. This essentially lets Steam scan through your local directory and check if you have any corrupted or missing game files.

Doing this helps you iron out any software or game file errors that could be messing with your launch, which is causing the error. This step can take as little to a couple of minutes to half an hour, depending on your internet and the size of missing files.

Here’s how you can verify your game’s cache files:

  1. First, bring out the Steam app and go to the Library section. You’ll find this at the top part of your screen.
  2. You should be redirected to a window with all your currently installed games. On the left side of your screen, look for the game that you’re having a problem with. Right-click the game title and select Properties at the bottom part of your pop-up menu.
  3. A window should open up, go to the Local Files tab and select Verify Integrity Of Game Files.

steam preparing to launch error on windows 10

After you’ve completed all the steps above, Steam should begin checking your local files for errors. The process from here on is fairly automatic. If Steam finds some missing files, then it will download these right away.


6. Clean Booting Your Computer.

There’s a big chance that you have a lot of built-in or third-party programs that are hindering Steam’s launch. Your antivirus could be mistakenly marking Steam as malware, since Steam often makes a lot of network connections.

Additionally, your firewall could also block Steam by mistake. This is because your firewall monitors network activity, which Steam uses a lot of. Using a VPN can also, instead, let Steam block you from opening their software.

Point is, there are a lot of programs that are possibly hindering Steam from opening up on your computer. We’ve linked articles on how to fix these issues for those specific problems above. However, you can also skip that and just do a clean reboot.

Here’s how you can clean boot your computer:

  1. To start, we’ll need the Run dialog box, so bring that out by pressing the Windows + R keys simultaneously. In the text box, type in ‘msconfig’ and press Enter.

steam preparing to launch error on windows 10

  1. A new window should open up on your screen, click on Selective startup from the General tab.
  2. Uncheck or deselect the Load startup items box. Doing so will remove any third-party software from starting up on your next reboot.
  3. From there, select the Use original boot configuration option.
  4. At the same time, also select the Load system services option.
  5. Now, go to the Services tab, and click on the Hide all Microsoft services option.

steam preparing to launch error on windows 10

  1. The remaining services there should now only be third-party programs. Click on the Disable all button to stop these from opening on startup.
  2. Finally, select Apply to save the changes and click OK to exit the window.

Before everything closes, you’ll be asked to restart your computer. You can either restart your device right away or exit all your other programs first before rebooting your PC. Whatever the case, after rebooting your computer, open up the Steam client and see if that fixed your problem.


7. Update Your Operating System.

If running an outdated version of your graphics drivers is a problem, think about what happens if your Windows version is outdated. In this method, we’ll be going over the simple steps of updating your Windows or macOS.

The entire process can take as little to a few minutes and all the way up to half an hour depending on your internet speed. Make sure that your laptop has enough battery to last the allotted time and that your computer is connected to a stable internet connection.

Here’s how you can update your Windows OS:

  1. Start by pressing on the Windows key and searching for ‘Update’.
  2. Click on the Check for Updates option that’s returned from your search query.

steam preparing to launch error on windows 10

  1. Now, if an update is available, a clear indication on your screen should alert you to download it. Simply click on Download and let your computer do its thing.

Expect your computer to restart after the update has been downloaded. This will allow your PC or laptop to install the update without any issues.

Alternatively, here’s how you can update your macOS:

  1. Go ahead and click on the Apple icon at the top-left corner of your screen.
  2. From there, click on System Preferences and go to Software Update.

steam preparing to launch error on windows 10

  1. If an update is available, there should be a clear indication on your screen. Click on the Upgrade Now button to begin updating your macOS.

Again, expect that your Mac will restart after downloading the update. Hopefully, updating either your Windows or macOS will fix your preparing to launch error on Windows 10 with Steam.


8. Reinstall Steam Completely.

Finally, if you’ve exhausted all the methods above with little to no luck, then try reinstalling Steam. Unlike other programs, reinstalling Steam is a very meticulous process.

If you aren’t careful enough, you’ll be forced to re-download all your games when you install Steam again. Due to this, we’ve made a comprehensive guide on how you can reinstall Steam on your computer.

steam preparing to launch error on windows 10

We’ve included multiple steps that will help you remove any residual Steam files after uninstalling the program. Additionally, we’ve also provided a guide on how to back up and restore games, so you don’t have to re-download them again.

That about wraps up this article. Hopefully, this has helped you fix your Steam preparing to launch error on Windows 10. If you have any concerns, leave us a comment down below!

If this guide helped you, please share it. 🙂


  • Mako Young

    Mako is a staff writer at Saint. He's been writing about tech for more than a decade. When he isn't reading about the latest news on Apple, he's busy studying cybersecurity, cryptocurrency, cloud computing, and other IT-related sectors. His exceptional work graces technology and Apple-related blogs like How-To Geek,, Macgasm, onMac, PhotoWorkout, GameRant, and many more. He also has a Bachelors in Computer Science and has been writing since 2018, with over 400 posts published. LinkedIn X (Twitter)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *