If you’re a part of a multiplayer squad, then you know how frustrating it is to be unable to log into Steam and initiate a match when your teammates need you.
Steam is one of the biggest game stores and DRMs on the internet, with a catalog that is replete with some of the best multiplayer games.
However, these perks cannot be taken advantage of if you can’t log into Steam on your Windows PC. Nevertheless, this guide will provide you with the best solutions to fixing this issue.
Why Can’t I Log into Steam on Windows?
Windows is a complex operating system that tries its best to function on as many systems as possible. Steam is an elaborate application with many moving parts. Running these two very complex entities together is bound to produce errors from time to time.
However, the chief reasons you may be running into login issues are as follows:
- You may not be connected to the internet
- Your credentials may be incorrect
- Steam servers may be down
- Another program may be interfering with Steam
- Steam’s cache may be corrupted
- Your firewall or antivirus may be interfering with Steam’s core functions
- You may be running an outdated version of Steam
- Your Steam cache may be corrupted
The following guide will examine all these root causes and provide a solution (or multiple solutions) for each.
What To Do When You Can’t Log into Steam
The following solutions will not require high technical prowess or astute insights into the inner workings of Windows or Steam. However, it should go without saying that you must follow these steps carefully and at your own discretion.
Restart Your Computer
If you ever run into an error or issue on your Windows computer, one of the first solutions you should always try is rebooting it.
Performing a reboot will allow software or devices to release resources that may be erroneously held. It will also push any changes or software updates that require a restart to complete.
Validate Your Credentials
If you haven’t logged into Steam in a while, it’s easy to forget your credentials or misremember them. Thus, you must ensure that you’re using the correct credentials when attempting to sign in to the Steam client.
It means validating that both your account name and password are valid. Make sure that caps lock isn’t on when entering your password.
Furthermore, it’s important to double-check your username. Make sure you’re entering your Steam username and not your email address. Nevertheless, since the Steam Login dialog doesn’t feature a peak function, checking that your password is correct can be a little challenging.
However, there is a trick you can use to compensate for this:
- Run Notepad (or any other text processor/editor)
- Type your password into Notepad’s screen
- Validate its accuracy
- Highlight and copy it
- Paste it into the Steam dialog’s password field
If this still doesn’t work, you may be misremembering some of your credentials. The next best step is to click on the I CAN’T SIGN IN… button.
Steam will divert you to the Steam Support page. Click on the button marked I forgot my Steam Account name or password.
Next, follow the prompts. The entire process will depend on whether you’ve forgotten your account name or password.
Nevertheless, Steam will require the phone number or email address you used to sign up for Steam. If entered correctly, Steam will find your username and ask you to reset your password.
If you remember your password, you won’t have to go through the entire reset process.
Enter Your Username in Capital Letters
Some users have found that entering their usernames in all capital letters allows them to log into Steam. Usually, the account name field isn’t case-sensitive. However, a bug may be causing the Steam client to validate the case of letters in the account name field.
Alternatively, you can try inserting your username with the same letter case you used to register the account. For instance, if your username is thingymabob21, but you registered it as THingyMabob21, you need to type it out as the latter with all upper- and lower-case letters intact.
Restarting your Steam client may help if you’re having issues with logging in. However, you must ensure that you restart it completely.
- Close the Steam Login dialog (or Steam client)
- Open Windows Task Manager (Ctrl + Shift + Esc)
- Click the Details tab
- Order items according to Name
- Search for all Steam-related processes and terminate them by selecting each and clicking on the End task button
Each Steam-related process is prefixed with Steam. Some common Steam processes are steam.exe, steamservice.exe, steamwebhelper.exe. Depending on which version of Windows you’re running, each Steam-related process will have the Steam icon next to it.
Once you’re sure Steam is completely closed, you can run it again. Try entering your credentials and see if you can log into Steam now.
Check Your Internet Connection
Internet connectivity may be the reason you’re experiencing problems with signing in to Steam from your PC. While you may be connected to the internet, your connection may be slow or unstable. The most accurate way to assess the stability of your internet connection is to run a ping command:
- Open the Windows Run dialog (Win + R)
- Type CMD into the text field and hit the Enter key
ping store.steampower.cominto the terminal window
- Hit enter
If you have a high ping (an average ping of 150ms or more) with packet losses, then your internet connection may be unstable. Fortunately, there is a number of ways you can fix a high ping. Once you’ve implemented these fixes, you can try logging in to Steam again.
Check Steam’s Server Status
If you discover that your internet connection is stable, but you still can’t log into Steam, the fault may not be at your end. Steam’s servers may be down. There are a few ways you can check Steam’s server status.
You can use the official Steam stats page. Alternatively, you can use a third-party tool like SteamStat. We’ve found the latter to be more effective. It’s easier to read and provides a detailed breakdown of Steam’s various services. You can also follow their Twitter page. They have regular updates on the condition of Steam’s servers.
Nevertheless, if a downed Steam server or service is causing your account issues, all you can do is wait until it’s restored. In most cases, Steam’s servers are down for maintenance.
However, it’s also possible that they’re down because of an error. Valve and the good folks at Steam are probably aware of the issue in either case.
Clear Steam’s HTML Cache
Steam keeps a cache to help load the store and its other web components. In addition to sign-in errors, a corrupted cache may result in other annoyances such as Steam disk write errors or cause loading issues with the Steam store.
To fix this, you’ll need to clear the Steam cache. You can perform this fix through the Steam client or manually using Windows File Explorer. Since you can’t log into the Steam client, you’ll have to delete the Steam cache manually.
To accomplish this, you’ll need to be able to view hidden items:
- Close the Steam account dialog
- Open Windows File Explorer
- Click on the View tab
- Tick the option marked Hidden Items
Following the above steps will allow you to see all hidden items on your computer. Now you can clear Steam’s HTML cache:
- Open the Windows Run Dialog Box (Win + R)
- Type the following into the text field:
- Click on the OK button
- Select all items in the folder (Ctrl+A)
- Delete them
You can either send them to the recycle bin (Del) or permanently delete/shred them (Shift+Del). We suggest the former, just in case you need the cache files and folders in the future.
Run the Steam Flush Config Command
If you’re still having issues logging in to Steam’s client on your Windows PC, you can try running Steam’s flush config command. According to Valve, it will refresh Steam’s files. To run the command:
- Make sure that Steam is completely closed
- Open the Windows Run dialog (Win + R)
steam://flushconfiginto the open text field
- Click on OK
Wait a few minutes and try running Steam and signing in again.
Reinstall Steam Client
Refreshing the Steam client using the flush config command may not be enough. The next best option is to reinstall the Steam client. The advantage of this solution is it will update the Steam client to the latest version.
All you need to do is download the Steam installer, run it and overwrite your files. If you want to be thorough, you can first uninstall Steam before running the installer.
Perform a Malware Scan
Windows 10 comes equipped with its very own software security suite that includes a real-time malware scanner. Unfortunately, while it’s serviceable, it may not always have the latest virus definitions.
You can download a free antivirus scanner and removal tool. You don’t have to subscribe to any of their services or products to use their scanning tools.
After performing the scan and removing any suspicious files and applications, you can then run the Steam client. Try logging in once again.
Log in Via Your Web Browser and Change Your Password
Historically, the Steam client has been shown to have issues with high ANSI characters. If you’re using an overcomplicated password with many different symbols, you may have to change it to log into the Steam client.
While it is a good idea to have a complicated and varied password, it may cause issues with some applications. If you’re deadset on logging into the Steam client through the Windows application, then you may have to change the password.
However, you can temporarily use Steam’s online store until the next update.
Note: Change your password to something that uses simple alphanumeric characters. You can also use shift key symbols. The trick here is to refrain from using any letters or symbols that aren’t on your keyboard.
Change the Shortcut Configuration
Again, if you’re locked out from signing into your Steam client, you can try creating a shortcut that has your credentials as launch options. Steam will then use them to sign in automatically.
- Open a run dialog box (Winkey + R)
- Type the following text into the Open field:
- Click on the OK button
- Scroll down until you find the Steam executable (Steam.exe)
- Right-click on it
- Highlight the Send to option
- Click on the Desktop (create shortcut) item
Note: By default, Steam’s files are located in the Program Files (x86) folder. However, it’s possible to install it in any other folder. If it’s not in the default location, you’ll need to open the Windows file explorer, navigate to the Steam folder and then create the shortcut that way.
- Show the desktop (Winkey + D)
- Find the Steam shortcut you just created
- Right-click on it
- Select Properties from the context menu
- Click on the Shortcut tab
- Add the following flags to the target field
-login *Your Username* *Your Password*
- Click on the Apply button
- Click on the OK button
Note: *Your Username* and *Your Password* are placeholders. You must replace them with your own account username and password without any other characters.
If you’ve reached this point and still experiencing issues logging into the official Windows Steam client, another good troubleshooting suggestion worth trying is creating a new temporary test Steam account.
It’s easy enough to perform in 8-steps. Once you’ve created your secondary account, you can try logging into the Windows version of the Steam client.
This test will help you figure out if there’s something wrong with your credentials or the Steam client. If you still can’t log into Steam using your secondary account details, this can allude to an issue with the Steam client.
However, if you can, the root cause of woes is your primary account credentials. You can also try unblocking any background apps and processes that may be interfering with the Steam client.
Steam keeps a helpful list of these programs. It’s also important to check your firewall settings. They may be preventing you from logging into the Steam client.
If this doesn’t remedy the issue, the only solution left is to contact Steam support. Steam may be aware of an issue regarding the login feature of the Steam client.
Which fix worked for you? Leave a comment down below.