How to Restart Steam? (2023)

Steam, developed by Valve Corporation, is a leading platform for digital distribution, multiplayer gaming, video streaming, and social networking services. There may be times when you need to restart Steam, either for troubleshooting purposes, to apply updates, or to refresh your gaming experience. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to do just that.

1. Standard Restart from Within Steam

This is the most straightforward method for most users:

  1. Open Steam Client: If it’s minimized, you can usually find its icon in the system tray or taskbar.
  2. Navigate to the Top-Left Menu: Click on “Steam” (next to ‘View’).
  3. Choose ‘Exit’ or ‘Quit Steam’: This will close the Steam client.
  4. Re-launch Steam: Simply click on the Steam icon on your desktop or start menu.

2. Force Quit and Restart (For Unresponsive Steam)

Sometimes, the standard method doesn’t work, especially if Steam is not responding.

For Windows:

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc or Ctrl + Alt + Del and select ‘Task Manager’.
  2. Look for any processes named ‘Steam’, ‘Steam Client Bootstrapper’, or similar.
  3. Right-click on these processes and choose ‘End Task’.
  4. Restart Steam as usual.

For macOS:

  1. Press Cmd + Option + Esc to open the ‘Force Quit Applications’ window.
  2. Select ‘Steam’ from the list and click on ‘Force Quit’.
  3. Re-open Steam.

For Linux:

  1. Use the command: ps aux | grep steam to find active Steam processes.
  2. Use the kill or killall command to terminate them.
  3. Launch Steam again.

3. Restarting Steam in Offline Mode

There are instances where you might want to run Steam without an internet connection:

  1. Launch the Steam client.
  2. Click on ‘Steam’ in the top-left corner.
  3. Select ‘Go Offline’.
  4. Steam will ask you to confirm your choice. Click ‘Restart in Offline Mode’.

4. Restarting Steam with Clear Download Cache

If you’re experiencing issues related to game updates or installations, clearing the download cache can help:

  1. Launch the Steam client.
  2. Navigate to ‘Steam’ > ‘Settings’ or ‘Preferences’ (on macOS).
  3. Go to the ‘Downloads’ tab.
  4. Click on ‘Clear Download Cache’.
  5. Steam will ask for confirmation. Accept and Steam will restart.


Restarting Steam can resolve many common issues, from failed game launches to connectivity problems. Regular users will often find that many quirks can be fixed with a simple restart. If problems persist, consider visiting the Steam support forums or reaching out to their customer service for further assistance.

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