How to restart Steam – Quick Guide

Steam is a video game platform for PC devices. The platform distributes a large range of video games, and allows users to both purchase and install these games from within the Steam application.

This Steam client can be installed on both Windows and Mac devices using the Steam website. In some cases, like when you want to switch from offline mode to online mode, you may need to restart your Steam client.

How to restart Steam

Due to their large userbase, Steam usually undergoes regular maintenance to ensure that there are no issues with its performance.

However, the client can still experience difficulties at times, even when you’re playing games.

Related: How to Return Games on Steam

In these cases, it’s often recommended to try and restart Steam in case the issue is just temporary or due to a minor bug. In this article, we’ll explain how you can restart the Steam client.

Close Steam

The first step in restarting the Steam client is closing the Steam client. It’s relatively easy to open Steam and close it, and if it’s not closing, you may need to force it too. There a few ways to close the client which we’ll cover.

Close Window

The simplest method for closing the Steam client is by clicking the ‘x’ in the upper right corner. You must be on the Steam app window to access the ‘x’.

Using Steam Settings

Another method for closing Steam is by going on the Steam client, and clicking the ‘Steam’ option in the upper left. Then, select the ‘exit’ option to close Steam.


Using Task Manager

Another method for closing Steam is by using the Task Manager. This is also a good way of checking whether Steam is actually closed.

Sometimes, when programs are closed, they will continue to run in the background. That means that they’re not actually closed.

The Task Manager will show you a list of programs that are currently running. You can also choose to stop those programs from running using the Task Manager.

To open the Task Manager, press Windows-key + X and select the ‘Task Manager’ option.


If Steam is listed in the Task Manager, it means the client is currently running. To fully close the program, click on it and select ‘end task’ in the lower right.

Using Notification Area

You can also exit the Steam client by using the notification area. This should be located to the far right of your taskbar. Click on the upwards-facing arrow and find the Steam icon.


Right-click on the Steam icon, and select the ‘exit’ option to close the Steam client.

Start Steam

After closing the Steam client, relaunch it by double-clicking on the Steam desktop shortcut – this is the quickest way to open Steam on your device.

If you don’t possess a desktop shortcut for Steam, you can double-click the Steam .exe file in the File Explorer. It should be located in This PC > Windows (C:) > Program Files (x86) > Steam.

Alternatively, you could find the Steam app by searching ‘Steam’ in the Start Menu. The Steam client should show up as the top search result. Click on the ‘open’ option to launch Steam.


You should have now restarted the Steam client, and if successful, you’ll be able to use Steam as you wish.

What if Steam is frozen?

One of the most common reasons why users have issues with restarting Steam is that their client has crashed. This is a fairly common issue that you may face when you’re using Steam.

If your Steam client is frozen and you’re unable to close Steam using the methods above, there are ways to force close Steam.

Restart Device

The first method for force closing Steam is by restarting your device. When your device shuts down, any programs that are currently running will also be forced to shut down.

To restart your device, select Start menu > Power Button > Restart.


Alternatively, you could choose to just shut down your device and restart it manually. Select the ‘shut down’ option to do so.


If your whole screen is frozen and you’re unable to access the Start Menu, press Ctrl + Alt + Delete. You should be able to do this even if you’re mid-game or in overlay mode.

Read: Steam Overlay not Responding

Then, click on the power button icon in the lower right corner. Select either ‘restart’ or ‘shut down’ to close your device. You can also do this if you’re getting the Friends network unreachable error that’s so common with Steam.


In conclusion, restarting Steam is a very simple process. You just have to close Steam, and then reopen it.

You can close Steam through a variety of methods, but the simplest is by clicking the ‘x’ on the Steam window. You’ll need to do this if you want to switch from offline mode to online mode in Steam.

Make sure that Steam is no longer running by using the Task Manager, and relaunch the client by double-clicking the Steam shortcut. If you don’t have a shortcut for Steam, double-click the .exe file or search for the app in the Start Menu.

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I love reading, writing, drawing, and other creative pursuits. I wish to travel more and do extreme activities, such as bungee-jumping and skydiving. I'm a casual gamer with an affinity for narrative-driven games and unique art styles. I like watching a variety of different media, but I particularly enjoy animations and musicals. My favourite genre, for both books and visual media, is psychological-thriller.

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