How to resolve Steam updates getting stuck on Windows 10?

March 28, 2019 |

greater than 12 minutes

Steam is a popular game distribution platform owned by Valve Corporation. Users get to play and manage their games on the application.

The Steam app is set up to fetch and install updates regularly. Some of the updates are for the installed games, while others are for the parent program itself.

In recent times, though, users are starting to complain that the Steam app freezes when it is checking for, downloading or installing updates. In some scenarios, users find the Steam application trying to update itself, but the process never reaches completion no matter how long they wait.

How do I get Steam to finish updating my game?

Most users who struggled with the Steam update getting stuck issue managed to resolve it by deleting Steam files and installing the application again. Nevertheless, the same problem was reported to reappear not long after. You might want to try what worked for a reasonable number of users and see if the issue goes away temporarily.

In the guide below, we will outline some procedures which should serve as permanent fixes to the problem in view.

How to fix Steam update getting stuck on Windows 10

Go through the solutions in the order they appear below. This way, you get to use the fixes with regards to their relative chances of solving the problem you are struggling with currently.

  1. Run Steam with administrative privileges:

Sometimes, you need to provide Steam with additional powers to ensure the updating process goes smoothly. There is a good chance the updates got stuck because the Steam app tried to execute top-level operations for which it lacked the required permissions.

By granting Steam administrative rights, you allow the application to carry out all the necessary tasks without interruptions or disruptions. Do this:

  • First, you have to launch the Task Manager app. You can use this keyboard shortcut to do it quickly: CTRL + SHIFT + ESC keys.

With the Task Manager window up, you must go through the items under Apps and Background processes to ensure nothing related to Steam is currently running.

  • If you find an active Steam executable or process, you must click on it to highlight it, and then click on the End task button. Windows will now act to terminate its operations.
  • Once you are sure that all Steam-related executables or processes have been rendered inactive, you can proceed with the next phase.
  • Open the File Explorer app. This keyboard shortcut does the trick on Windows 10: Windows logo button + letter E key.
  • On the File Explorer program window, you must browse through the necessary folders to get to Steam’s directory.

Assuming Steam was allowed to install its stuff to the default locations, you should be able to get to your destination by clicking on This PC, and then following things through the following path: C: \ Program Files \ Steam

  • Once you get to the right place, you should see the Steam.exe file. You have to right-click on it, and then select the Properties option.

Your system will bring up the Properties window for Steam.exe now.

  • Click on the Compatibility tab. Go through the options there and tick the box for Run this program as administrator.
  • Click on the Apply button. Now, you must click on the OK button to save the new configuration for Steam.exe.

Here, you have to launch the Steam app or client, try to fetch and install updates, and see how things go this time.

  1. Clear the download cache:

Caches are generally used to hold files temporarily to facilitate quick access to or retrieval of useful data. Even some hardware components – a processor, for example – employ the cache setup.

Steam’s cache serves the same purposes. For this reason, if the update process keeps getting stuck, it is likely that the items contained in the cache have become corrupted, damaged or inaccessible. You do not have to bother yourself with trying to repair the files stored there, though.

To fix the problem, you have to clear the cache (delete all the files currently stored in it). Go through these steps:

  • Open the Steam app. Once its application window shows up, you must click on Settings (one of the options on the menu list).
  • Look to the left of the window and click on Downloads. Now, you should see the Clear Download Cache button, which you have to click on now.
  • A dialog box for the Clear Download Cache operation will come up now to get confirmation for the data removal process.
  • Click on the OK button. Now, you have to log out of your account and close the Steam app.
  • Reopen the Steam program, sign in with your credentials again, and then try to repeat the update operation that got stuck earlier. Things should move normally this time.
  1. Edit the host file Steam uses:

In some scenarios, by altering the content server Steam goes through to fetch stuff, you might be able to trigger changes that should resolve the Steam updates getting stuck issue. This procedure does not guarantee positive results for all categories of users, though.

To change Steam’s content server, you have to make some changes to the host file its application uses. These steps will walk you through the process:

  • Press (and hold) the Windows logo button on your computer’s keyboard, and then tap the letter Q key.
  • Your system will bring up the Windows Start menu with the Search function being present.
  • Type Notepad into the text field present to perform a quick search for this application on Windows. Notepad (Desktop app) should be the main item on the results list.
  • Right-click on Notepad to see some options, and then select Run as administrator.
  • Windows will bring up the Notepad application window now.
  • Click on File (an option situated at the top-left corner of Notepad’s window). Click on Open.
  • The Open function will come up in a File Explorer window now.

Here, you have to locate the host file you seek to edit. By default, you should get to the folder housing it after you navigate through this path: C: \ Windows \ System32 \ drivers \ etc \ hosts.

You should see the host file now. If it is missing, you must try to confirm that you are in the correct directory. You must also verify that the checkbox for All files (one of the options from the bottom right drop-down box) is currently selected.

  • Once you have found the needed host file, you must click on it to select or highlight it, and then click on the Open button.

The file will open in the Notepad program window now.

At this point, you must copy these three lines of code:

  • Paste the copied text at the bottom of the host file contents.
  • Click on File again to see some options. This time, you must select Save. Your system will now store the changed file, and you are free to exit Notepad.
  • Now, we recommend that you reset some of your internet parameters. Continue with the instructions below:
  • Use this keyboard shortcut to bring up the programs and options that make up the Power User menu quickly: Windows logo button + Letter X key.
  • Click on Command Prompt (Admin). Windows will fire up the Administrator: Command Prompt window now.
  • Type in the following code:

ipconfig /flushdns

  • Tap the Enter key. Your system will now execute the inputted code.
  • Close all the programs running currently and open Steam. There, you have to reattempt the update operations and see if things turn out differently this time.
  1. Delete the Package folder:

Steam is known to freeze when its update package files become corrupted. While it is far too hard to figure out the cause of the corruption, we do know that Steam is programmed to download the package items again once it notices that its Package folder is missing.

To this end, to resolve the issue in view, you have to delete the Package folder. Here are the instructions on doing this:

  • First, you have to ensure that Steam is not running currently.

You will do well to verify that no Steam executable or process is active. We walked you through the steps on doing this earlier in the first fix, so you can consider scrolling up to check.

Once the necessary verifications have been made, you can move on to get rid of the Package folder.

  • Press (and hold) the Windows logo button on your PC’s keyboard, and then tap the letter E key.

Your system will launch the File Explorer app now.

Go through the necessary directories until you reach the Steam folder. You should be familiar with this step.

If you are in the right place, you should see the Package folder. Before you move on to delete it, we recommend you create a backup for it. Of course, if things go south, this backup will come in quite handy.

  • Right-click on the Package folder to see some options, and then select Copy.

Now, you have to think of the location where you want to place the backup. Navigate there, right-click on any blank area to see some options, and then select Paste. A copy of the Package folder will be stored in your current location.

  • Assuming you are done creating a backup for the Package folder, you can proceed to delete it — Right-Click on the Package folder (the original one in the Steam folder), and then select the Delete option.

Windows will now act to get rid of the unwanted folder.

Close File Explorer, restart Steam, and then try to download updates again. Given the operation you executed, the download process should run smoothly this time.

  1. Turn off Windows Firewall:

If you got to this point with the Steam updates getting stuck problem still in play, then it is time you considered the possibility of the issue being down to Windows Defender Firewall blocking Steam updates or tampering with your internet connection.

Windows Defender uses your system firewall to monitor program connections to the internet. Well, this setup is designed to stop suspicious applications or processes from reaching the web, but it sometimes fails to make the correct distinction between threats and harmless programs. The Steam is probably a victim of the described shortcoming.

To ensure that your system allows Steam to use your internet connection without blockages or interruptions, you have to turn off Windows Defender Firewall. Do this:

  1. Press the Windows logo button on your PC’s keyboard. Your system will bring up the Windows Start menu screen now.
  2. Input Firewall into the text box (that becomes visible once you start to type). Some results will appear with Windows Defender Firewall being the main item on the list. Click on it.Your computer will now bring up the Windows Defender Screen in the Control Panel app.
  3. Look to the links on the left pane and click on Turn Windows Defender Firewall on or off. On the screen that follows, under Private network settings, you must click on the radio button for this parameter to select it:
  4. Perform the same action for the Turn off Windows Firewall (not recommended) parameter under Public network settings.
  5. Click on the OK button to save the changed configuration. Minimize the window you are on currently.
  6. Now, you must test things to find out if Windows Defender Firewall had anything to do with Steam updates becoming stuck.
  7. Open the Steam app, and then try to execute the update operations.

If you can now get Steam to fetch or download updates without issues, then you can take this positive change as confirmation that previous update operations failed because Windows Defender Firewall was tampering with them.

You must understand that you cannot leave your firewall turned off. We are against you leaving your system in its current state. To this end, you must alter your firewall settings and instruct it to allow Steam to use your internet connection as it likes. Continue with the steps below:

Here, you must return to the Windows Defender Firewall menu in Control Panel by maximizing the application window we asked you to minimize earlier.

  • Click on the back icon to return to the Windows Defender Firewall main screen. Look to the links on the left side of the window, and this time, you must click on Allow an app or feature through Windows Defender Firewall.
  • Click on the Change settings button to continue.

If you notice the Change settings button is grayed out, then you have to restart your PC, sign in with the administrator account, and recheck things. You are probably signed into Windows currently with a regular user account, which lacks the privileges necessary to alter top-level settings.

  • Click on the Allow another app button.

The Add an app window will be displayed now. There, you have to select the application that you want Windows Defender to allow through its firewall.

  • Click on the Browse button. Navigate through the necessary directories until you find the Steam folder. We pointed you to its location earlier.

Locate SteamService. Click on it to choose it, and then click on the OK button.

  • Now, you must go a step further and select Steam Client Service to add it (on the Add a program window).
  • Click on the Add button, and then click on the checkboxes for the Steam Client Service.
  • Click on the OK button. With these changes – provided you did everything correctly – Windows Defender Firewall will no longer bother your Steam client when the app is checking for or downloading updates. This way, the update operations become less likely to get stuck.
  1. Disable or uninstall your antivirus:

Antiviruses are typically equipped with a firewall or a similar powerful component, which they use to watch the connections programs make on Windows and block them (when necessary). For the most part, this setup works fine. In the rare scenarios where issues come up, applications end up struggling to access the web because antiviruses decided to act against them.

Antiviruses are not perfect. Moreover, their job (of keeping computers safe from threats) is hardly an easy one. Given these considerations, it is easy to see how mistakes come to be. There is a reasonable chance your antivirus misidentified a Steam executable, process, or service and determined it to be a threat.

Fortunately, you can make things right by either disabling your antivirus or moving on to uninstall it. Go through these instructions:

  • Open your antivirus application, go through its menu and check for a turn off switch. Use the switch.
  • If such a switch is missing, then you must navigate to your antivirus settings screen and turn off its most useful features.

We recommend that you deselect or disable all the functionalities or components that your antivirus employs to do its job. We want you to reduce your antivirus’ powers or abilities by every means possible.

  • Once you are done weakening your antivirus, you must open the Steam app, check for updates or download them, and see if things go smoothly.

If the updates get stuck again, you must consider uninstalling your antivirus.

In Windows 10, you can get rid of an app through the Apps menu (in Settings) or the Programs and Features screen (in Control Panel).

Only through the uninstallation operation can you learn the truth about your antivirus having anything to do with the problem in view.

In any case, after you finish uninstalling your antivirus, you have to restart Windows.

  • Here, you have to launch Steam, retry the updates and take note of the changes that occur.
  • If you notice that the Steam update process now runs smoothly (without the operations involved getting stuck like before), then the removal of your antivirus has apparently delivered the long-expected result.

Unfortunately, you had to uninstall your antivirus to get things to work. Nevertheless, you must move on from regrets and think about how to secure your computer since your primary security program is no longer active on Windows.

  • Install Auslogics Anti-Malware. With this program in place, your system enjoys first-rate protection components and superb defense setups against threats. Furthermore, this security program, given the way it was designed, is unlikely to cause Steam update issues. It hardly interferes or tampers with the operations of harmless third-party applications.

Other things you can try to resolve the Steam getting stuck while downloading or installing updates issue

If you are yet to find out how to fix the Steam stuck on checking for available updates problem or a similar issue, then you may want to continue the troubleshooting operations with these additional procedures.

  1. Do a clean boot:

If any application or third-party process or service has anything to do with Steam being unable to download or install updates without its operations becoming frozen, then a clean boot will help you find out the truth.

With its help, your PC gets to boot up in an environment or platform where only core Windows processes or services get to run.

  1. Change your download region:

While a change of region is not an outright fix to the issue, we have to tell you that some users managed to circumvent the problem through it.

In any case, if it works, you are always free to revert to your original region (once you are done with the updates).

  1. Disable Windows Auto detect feature for proxies:

First, you have to terminate all Steam operations, processes, or services. Then, you can proceed to launch the Settings app, get to the Proxy screen there, and finally turn off the required parameter.

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