As gamers, we are aware that there is nothing more annoying than coming home ready to enjoy a good game with our friends while we communicate through Discord and when we are about to start the game we find an error that prevents us from being able to enjoy our game. favorite video game immediately. Especially when that annoying window appears that says: Steam must be running to play. Worst of all, if we are running Steam!

We cannot deny that Valve’s platform is the best for acquiring PC games, not only because of its general prices but also because of the enormous number of offers that we constantly find.

However, despite being the most popular video game platform for PC, it does not mean that it is perfect and from time to time we are going to find one or another inconvenience.

In the case of this error, it usually happens if we download the game from its official website and install it with its standalone installer. There are many games that require one way or another to have Steam installed. Although we must consider that there are also other factors that can cause this problem, even if we really have the Valve store installed on our PC.

Luckily, this one in particular is not too complicated to solve either and this is something that we will see a little further down.

Steam must be running to play

Check that Steam is installed on the computer

Yes, we know that it is something quite basic, but it is very important. Perhaps some files got corrupted after installing some related application or a Windows update.

The first thing we will do is verify if we really have Steam installed and if we can run it normally. Above all, if it opens as usual, we will try to use the different options provided by the platform.

Close Steam and run it as administrator

Execute as an administrator.

The next thing we will have to try is to completely close Steam, even log out of our account and restart it. In the same way that it happens with many games that do not depend on platforms such as Steam or the Epic Store, which work when running with administrator permissions. The same thing happens with these platforms; so we will proceed to close Steam completely and then we will run it with administrator permissions.

  • The first thing will be to go to Steam and click on the Account drop-down menu, then click on Log out of the account.
  • Next, click on the Close session button to confirm.
  • Once we have done this, we close the Steam client and we will have to make sure that no instance of the app is running in the background. To verify this we will use the Task Manager.
  • When we are sure that no instance is maintained. We are going to locate the Steam application on the desktop, right-click it and choose Properties.
  • A new window opens, we are going to go to the Compatibility tab and at the bottom we will click on the check mark Run this program as administrator.
  • Now we click Apply > OK.

Now we will have to launch Steam as we normally would from the desktop shortcut. We log in with our credentials, as we normally would, and the problem should be a thing of the past.

Update the Steam client

update client

It is evident that an application that is not updated can have not one, but several problems, especially with the passage of time and not to mention the inconveniences related to the security of our operating system and our confidential data.

That is why we always recommend keeping Windows and all the applications that we have installed on it updated. Updates not only add new features, they also fix different problems, prevent us from suffering from security vulnerabilities, etc.

  • We open Steam as we normally would and log in.
  • Next, we go to the Steam menu at the top and among the different options we are going to choose Check for updates from Steam clients.
  • If we find available updates, we will have to follow the instructions on the screen to install them.

Once we finish, we will proceed to restart the computer and check if the problem persists.

Delete custom content

In case we have custom content like: Scripts, cheats, mods and certain extra things in the game installation folder, we recommend removing them to avoid the “Steam must be running to play” error. So we are simply going to have to delete the installation folder of these custom modifications and other files. Simply, we are going to have to navigate to the installation folder of the game and delete the custom files manually.

Check the integrity of the game files

Check local files.

This is highly recommended that we do it every time we have a problem. If any game file is corrupted or directly not found. So it is very possible that we will find an error like this or even several more. So we are going to have to verify the integrity of the game files and if this is the source of our problem, Steam will fix it for us.

  • We open Steam and go to the Library tab at the top, the idea is to go to the library where we have all our games already installed.
  • Once we’re here, we’re going to find the problematic game in the left sidebar and right-click on it.
  • In the contextual menu we will have to choose Properties.
  • Next, we are going to go to the Local files tab and click on the Verify integrity of game files button to start the automatic scanning and repair of related files.

Once it is finished, we will proceed to run the game as we normally would, to see if the error persists. With any luck, this problem won’t bother us again.

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