Steam won’t download updates – How to fix

Steam is a well-known gaming platform, where users can both purchase and play a large variety of video games. Steam has its own app, which is available for download on their website. The app is free to download and use.

Due to Steam’s large userbase, its app often undergoes maintenance and updates.

Usually, the Steam app will automatically download these updates upon launching. However, there are instances where Steam may be failing to download these updates.

Steam won’t download updates

The most common ways to fix your Steam client when it won’t update is to clear your Steam download cache, restart Steam and make sure your firewall or antivirus isn’t causing the issue.

In some cases, it could also be due to a hardware failure, or that something needs adjusting in your Steam settings. Making sure you’ve got a stable internet connection is always a good idea too.

There’s nothing more frustrating than having your Steam update stuck when you’re trying to game. We’ll discuss possible reasons behind such behaviour, whilst also going through some solutions.

Clear Download Cache

The Steam client may be failing to download updates because of your download cache. As you download games in Steam, you can accumulate download cache.

In order to remedy this problem, you can clear your download cache in the Steam settings. Open the Steam app, and go to Steam > Settings. Click the ‘downloads’ option in the left side tab.


Click the ‘clear download cache’ option near the bottom. This should clear the cache. Once the cache has been cleared, click the ‘ok’ option and close the settings window. Now, close the Steam app and re-launch it.

Related: How to Restart Steam

After you’ve done this, Steam should be able to download updates. Doing this will also get rid of any corrupted game files that you’ve saved, as they could be causing your download issues.

Change Region

Steam could be unable to download updates due to its current download region. Steam has different servers for different regions.

The server in your region may be experiencing difficulties, which could be preventing your Steam app from downloading updates. Try changing your download region in the Steam settings.

Open the Steam app, and go to Steam > Settings. Click the ‘downloads’ tab, and look underneath the ‘download region’ section.

There should be a drop-down menu showcasing the different regions available. Click the drop-down menu and select a different region. Once you’re done, click ‘ok’.


Now, relaunch the Steam app to see if Steam can download updates. If not, trying changing your download region to another region. You can test a few different servers to see if any of them remedy the issue.

Run as Administrator

Steam may be struggling to download any updates due to the app not having the correct admin rights.

Some apps require admin privileges in order to execute certain actions. In order to ensure that the Steam app has all the admin privileges it needs to download updates, run the app as an administrator.

To run Steam as an administrator, first right-click on the app’s shortcut. The Steam shortcut should be available on your desktop. If this is not the case, right-click on the Steam app file.

You can find the file in the File Explorer. Open the File Explorer, and go to This PC > Windows (C:) > Programs (x86) > Steam. Once you’ve right-clicked the shortcut/file, select the ‘properties’ option.


This should open the Steam properties settings. Navigate to the ‘compatibility’ tab. Then, check the box next to ‘run this program as an administrator’. When you’re done, click the ‘ok’ option to confirm the changes.


Now, try launching Steam once more. Allow the Steam app to have access to admin privileges. Steam should now be able to download updates.

Disable Firewall

Your Windows Defender Firewall program could be interfering with the Steam app, which may be preventing it from downloading any updates.

Windows Firewall will block some programs from undergoing certain actions as a security measure.

At times, the firewall can block something that is completely harmless to you. Try disabling Windows Firewall for the Steam app. This should prevent the firewall from interfering the Steam app’s functions.

Open the Start Menu, and search for Windows Defender Firewall. Click ‘Windows Defender Firewall with Advanced Security’. It should appear as the first result.

Once you’ve opened the program, click ‘allow an app or feature through Windows Defender Firewall’ on the left side tab.


This should take you to a list of different applications. Beside each application are two check boxes – one for private network connections, and one for public network connections.

A checked box means that the application has been allowed to bypass the firewall.

Search for the Steam application. When you find Steam, check if the two boxes beside it are checked. If they’re not, click on the boxes to check them. Make sure that both of the boxes are checked.


Now, try relaunching Steam. The app should be able to download updates.

Disable Antivirus Software

If you possess any antivirus software on your PC/Laptop, it may be the cause for your Steam app being unable to download updates.

Antivirus software works similarly to firewall programs – they block certain program functions in an attempt to protect your device from any threats.

They can sometimes end up blocking harmless functions. Try disabling your antivirus software before relaunching Steam once more.

Make sure to be extra wary about what you’re downloading, or what sites you’re visiting, whilst your antivirus software is disabled.

You can re-enable it after Steam has finished updating, and disable it again when you want to update Steam.

Restart Device

The Steam app may be failing to download updates because of some slight bug issues. Try restarting your device as a way of rebooting everything.

Click on the Start menu > Power Button > Restart.


Then, open Steam once more to see if the issue still remains – at this point, if you have a stable internet connection then you should have no download restrictions on your Steam client.


In conclusion, Steam failing to download updates could be due to cache build-up or your region’s servers. It could also be due to the Steam servers, which may go down occasionally but are usually back up and running within minutes.

You can fix these issues by clearing your cache, and changing your download region. If these are not the cause, the problem could lie with your other programs interfering with Steam.

Related: Steam Friends Network Unreachable error

Try disabling any firewall or antivirus programs, before attempting to update Steam once more. If all else fails, try restarting your device.

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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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