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All gamers know how frustrating it is when Steam says a game is running when you try to start a new game. The taskbar is showing no minimized windows and you’re stuck with an error saying, “failed to start the game (App already running)”.

Steam is the most popular gaming platform with over 19 Million daily users. It gained popularity because it provided a lot of games on a single platform. You can simply purchase games from your Steam wallet instead of making a new account for every game.

In this article, we will discuss why Steam says the game is running and how to fix it. To resolve this error, apply each fix gradually to find one that works for you.

Why Does Steam Say Game is Running?

If you’re wondering why Steam says the game is running, then there is no one answer for you. For different users, the problem and hence solutions are different.

The two common reasons for the ‘Steam failed to start game’ error include:

  • Game running in the background: the error shows when the game you were playing before didn’t properly shut down or a game file is running in the background.
  • Game data: if your game files are incomplete or corrupted, then this error may show up.

Fix 1: Terminate The Game from The Task Manager

The first thing to try when Steam says the game is running is to open the Windows Task Manager.

Mostly, when you can’t open a new game because another game is already running in the background. To start a new game, you need to close the one that’s already running.

To terminate the game from the task manager:

  1. Press CTRL + ALT + DEL or CTRL + SHFT + ESC at once to open the task manager.
  2. Browse the list of running processes to find that game you’re playing.
    Note: the file format may vary but you should look for an acronym or something similar to the game’s name.

  3. If you find a similar process, right-click and select End Process.
    Important: don’t forget to check the background processes section of the task manager for Steam files.

This will immediately terminate the program and you should be able to start another game or close the Steam application. In most cases, the reason for the issue is another game running in the background.


Fix 2: Close The Game Launcher in The System Tray

Some game titles coexist with the Steam client as a launcher. If the game creates a separate intro menu, then it’s probably a launcher and often minimized (into the system try) instead of closing.

Go to your computer’s system tray at the bottom-right corner of the page. Now, click on the arrow icon and look for a launcher.

If you spot a launcher, then right-click on it, and hit close. Restart Steam and try opening the game again.


Fix 3: Restart Your Computer

If closing the game from the Task Manager and system tray didn’t help with the Steam game is running error, then try restarting your system. Rebooting Steam will also close the application properly and any other associated temporary files and data.


Fix 4: Verify Game Data

If Steam says the game is running even after the restart and closing of the game from everywhere, then you should verify the integrity of your game data. Steam offers a built-in utility to verify and repair your game data. It scans all your game files and fixes errors and downloads missing files.

To verify your game data in Steam:

  1. Launch Steam and click on the library in the top navigation bar.
  2. In the library, right-click on the game showing the error and select Properties from the dropdown menu.
  3. In the Properties, open the Local files tab, and click on Verify Integrity of Game Files.

This prompts a new window where Steam will scan your game data and download and repair faulty components. This process may take a few minutes. Once completed, you can reopen Steam and launch the game again.


Fix 5: Reinstall Steam

If restarting the computer didn’t work, then there are no problems with the temporary files. You can try reinstalling Steam to deal with the Steam says game not running error.

To reinstall Steam:

  1. Press Windows + R keys, type control, and hit enter.
  2. Select Programs and Features from the Control Panel items.
  3. In the applications list, locate Steam, right-click, and select uninstall.

Once you’ve uninstalled Steam, go to the Steam official website, and download it. Place the Steam executable file (SteamSetup.exe), double-click on it, and complete the installation process. Now launch the Steam Client, reinstall the game again, and start it.


Fix 6: Reinstall The Game

If none of the above-mentioned fixes worked for you, then you can reinstall the game to see if it works. This solution is time-consuming as you need to download all the game files again. So, make sure that you’ve tried all other solutions discussed before.

To reinstall the game:

  1. In the Steam Client/website, click on Library.
  2. Find the game in the library, right-click on it, and select uninstall.
  3. Confirm to delete the files in the Delete Game Files popup.

Now that you’ve uninstalled the game and deleted the game files, the next step is to reinstall the game and download the game files again.

  1. Restart Steam. Search for the game in the Library and hit install.
  2. Click Play on Steam and nothing else happens. Now, click Next in the install window and Finish.
  3. Let Steam download all game files and relaunch the game.

If your issue remains unsolved, then check if your system is equipped to handle the game. Most games are very heavy and require a high computing power to work. The issue may be related to hardware.

Categories: How To