Steam FAQ: Common Problems and How to Solve Them

In this guide, we explain how to deal with most common issues that users have with Steam: what to do with error codes, how to trade and sell items, how to share game library, and much more
Index

Library

How to activate a key on Steam

To activate your Steam key you will need to click "Add a game" in the left-bottom corner. In the drop-down menu choose "Activate a Product on Steam". From there Steam will lead you through the process. You can also do that by clicking on "Games" in the bar located on top of the Steam app and selecting "Activate a product on steam" in the opened drop-down menu.

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How to share your Library in Steam

To enable Library sharing you first will need to have Steam Guard security active. To do this you will need to go to Steam settings by clicking on "Steam" drop-down menu in the top-left corner and then choosing "Settings". From there you need to click "Manage Steam Guard account security" and make sure that "Turn Steam Guard off" is not picked.

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Now when that has been taken care of, you need to log in on your family member’s or friend’s computer with your own steam account and open the "Family" tab in the settings menu and choose "Authorize Library Sharing on this computer".

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Log off your account and let the person you want to share your Library with log in their account on the same computer and repeat the process. From there they will be able to see your account’s name in "Eligible Accounts" and then put a tick near it. From now one they will be able to install games from your Library.

Note that you can only share your library with no more than 5 other accounts and 10 different computers. You will not be able to play a game if the same game is played by someone sharing your Library. Some games are not possible to share due to Steam policies.

How to use Steam backup feature

Many games that use third-party installers will not work with Steam's backup feature. This includes many MMO style or third-party free-to-play titles. Only games that completely download, install, and patch through Steam are compatible with Steam backup.

To create a backup file, you will need to select a game in the Library that you would like to backup later and right-click on it. In the opened menu choose "Backup game files".

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In the opened window select any other games you would like to backup in the same session. Click next and follow Steam instructions. Later you will be able to backup files from the chosen folder.

To restore a game with the existing backup file, you will need to open the "Steam" tab in the top-left corner of the application and select "Backup and Restore games…". In the opened window select "Restore a previous Backup", click "next" and navigate to the folder you have installed your backup files in earlier. Carry on with Steam instructions until the backup is complete.

How to broadcast Steam games PC-to-PC or PC-to-Mobile

First of all, to have a truly enjoyable experience, you will need to make sure that you have a very good internet connection on both of the devices you are going to be using. It may not be a problem if you are streaming to the other room of your house, but when you are going outside to stream via Steam Link Anywhere you will need to have a very stable connection.

Before you do any streaming, you need to download the beta version of the Steam desktop client. If you want to stream games to your phone, download the Steam Link beta client to your Android phone using Google Play Store. (At the moment there is no iOS version, unfortunately) If you will be streaming to another Windows computer, you need to have the Steam beta client installed there as well.

  1. You can update your desktop Steam client to the beta build by clicking “Steam” in the upper left corner of the client window. Select "Settings", then "Account" and then click the "Change" button under “Beta Participation". Select “Steam Beta Update” from the drop-down menu. Your Steam client will restart.
  2. If you’re streaming to an Android phone, you will need to connect your devices. Go to the Steam Link app settings on your phone and select “Other Computer.” A PIN will appear on your screen that you need to enter on the desktop version to complete the process. If you’re using two PCs, you won’t need to connect them. All that you will need to do is to log in the same account on both computers working in the same network.
  3. On your desktop Steam app navigate the “In-Home Streaming” menu in Steam settings, select “Pair Steam Link,” and then enter the PIN from your phone. Make sure you are on the same network. Follow the setup until the process is complete.
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From now on you will be able to do in-home streaming, as long as your devices are connected to the same network. If you want to use Steam Link Anywhere and stream from your home PC to your mobile while you are out, see the steps below. At the moment Steam Link Anywhere doesn't support PC-to-PC streaming, sadly.

  1. To start streaming from mobile, start up the Steam Link Android app and select the computer you have connected to earlier.
  2. Select “Start Playing” and enter your four-digit PIN, then press “Connect.” It should change to Steam Big Picture mode, while delivering a picture from your PC to your phone. Your computer should be on and run Steam while you do that.
  3. Select different control methods within the Steam Link mobile app. From the start screen of the app, tap on "Settings", and then "Controller". From there you can pick a controller connected to your phone or continue using touch controls.

Trade

How to trade items and cards

To trade items with a person they must first be in your friends list. If they are, you can send them a trade offer through your inventory. To do so, click on your nickname in the top bar of the Steam app and choose "Inventory". From there choose "Trade offers" in the top-right corner.

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You will be sent to the trade screen where you can see incoming trade offers and trade history. To offer a new trade, click "New Trade Offer" and select a friend you want to trade with. Next, you will be able to navigate your own and their inventory for tradable items from different games. Drag items from your inventory into the column under your profile picture to determine items you will be trading. Then drag the items you want to get from your friend’s inventory in their column and press "Make Offer". Now you will need to wait for your friend to accept or decline the offer.

Why can’t I trade?

  1. If you are logging onto Steam from a device that has not been previously authorized by Steam Guard, you will not be able to trade or use the Community Market from this device for 7 days.
  2. If you choose to cancel any of your accepted trades that are in a trade hold, your account will be unable to trade for 7 days.
  3. If you have not had Steam Guard enabled for 15 days, you will be unable to trade or use the Community Market. Accounts that currently have Steam Guard disabled will be unable to trade and use the Community Market as well.
  4. If you have changed your password recently or had to reset it you will be prevented from trading for 5 days.
  5. If your account has not had any activity for more than two months you will be prevented from trading for 30 days.
  6. Changing your account email address will restrict trading for 5 days.
  7. You will be unable to trade if your account has been banned from trading and using the Community Market by Steam Support.
  8. Your account must have a successful purchase older than 7 days, but not older than a year in order to access the Community Market.
  9. Unverified payment methods will be subject to a 3 day waiting period before purchases can be made on the Community Market
  10. Adding or removing new Steam Guard Mobile Authenticator will prevent you from trading for 15 days. The effect only triggers within the first 7 days after the change.

How to sell and buy items on the Community Market

To sell an item that is available for trade and sale, you will need to locate it in your inventory (see "How to trade items and cards") and select it. In the opened window to the right of the screen click "Sell".

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You will be able to set your own price for the item and place it in the community store after e-mail confirmation. You will receive an e-mail again when the item is sold and from there you will be able to process the payment and receive funds on your Steam wallet. The confirmation is also possible via Steam mobile app in the "Confirmations" tab.

To buy an item from Community Market you will need to go to the community market by clicking "Community" in the top bar of the Steam client and selecting "Market" in the drop-down menu. From there you can search for items you need by games or names. Once you find an item you need, select it and you will be sent to the item page. From there you can buy or sell that item. Click "Buy" to choose a price of the offer and pay for the item with the selected payment method.

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How to sell multiple items on the Community Market

As of now, there is no way to sell multiple items at once on steam without using additional applications.

Account

How to get a refund for a game or DLC

To get a refund for a game or DLC you will need to request a refund through Steam support, which can be done via Steam itself or official Steam website. Within a week your request will be processed and accepted, if all of the further conditions have been followed.

It is important to know that a refund should be requested within the first 2 weeks (14 days) after the product has been purchased, as well as the play time should not exceed 2 hours. If these conditions are not applied, your request will most likely be denied or will not be processed. (There is, however, a chance, that your request will be accepted, if you are off just a little, since the requests are checked manually).

  • Log in your steam account and open the "Help" window in the top left bar. Then navigate to "Steam support".
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  • Now that you are on Steam Support page you can pick a game or a subject that you need help with. In this case, you need to pick "Purchases", which is located top second under the "Recent activity" column.
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  • You will be navigated to the page listing all of your steam purchases in the last 6 months, as well as the date of a purchase, the price and payment method. Among them, you will need to choose a purchase that you would like to get a refund for.
  • On the opened page you will be asked to select a problem you are having with the product. (Such as: "I purchased this by accident") Select one that suits your situation most and click "I’d like to request a refund".
  • Now you will see the information about the product you are getting a refund for and the refund itself. Please do make sure that everything is listed correctly. You can change the reason for a refund in a drop-down menu lower, as well as add a note, if needed. After you made sure everything is correct, click "Submit request".
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Now you will just need to wait. You will receive an e-mail confirming your request shortly after the request is submitted. If all conditions are met, your refund will be sent within a week.

How to change Steam password or e-mail

Steam password and e-mail can easily be changed through steam settings. For that navigate to "Steam" in the top-left corner of the client. In the drop-down menu click "Settings". In the opened window select "Account" in the left bar. From there you will be able to change your contact e-mail address or password. From there Steam will lead you through the process.

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How to change Steam account name

As of today, account name that you use to log in and complete other steam operations cannot be changed even by Steam staff members. However, it is possible to change your nickname that is shown to everyone when you play a game. To do that, you will need to navigate to your steam profile page by clicking on the drop-down menu with your current nickname and profile picture on it in the top-right corner of the client and click "View my profile". You will be redirected to your profile page. From there, click "Edit Profile" to open your profile settings.

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There you will be able to change your nickname, as well as many other options regarding your profile.

How to use Steam Account calculator

To see your account’s stats and total value, as well as play time, you can go to the Steam Account calculator page and enter your Steam URL (You can copy it from the address bar on top of your profile page) or your Steam nickname. After that, your account will be processed and you will be given your stats.

Notice that your account should be set to "Public" in account settings so that the service can access the list of your games and play-time.

Steam errors

Error code 118

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This error is most likely to appear when you have an unstable connection to the internet or when Steam servers are particularly busy. If any of the following solutions don’t help, then it must be an issue on Steam’s side, which you can only wait for to be fixed.

  1. Check your internet connection and make sure you are connected to the internet.
  2. If your connection is alright, try closing all of the applications that might be interfering with Steam or make your connection unstable.
  3. Make sure that your antivirus and firewall don’t block Steam.

Error code 105

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This error might appear when you are trying to browse Steam Store and the Steam server fails to complete your request because it has been interrupted.

  1. Make sure that your antivirus and firewall don’t block Steam.
  2. If you are browsing Steam through the website version and use an ad blocker, try turning it off and reloading the page.
  3. Navigate to Steam settings (you can see how to do it in previous guides) and select "Web Browser" in the left bar. There you will need to click "Delete Web Browser Cache" and "Delete all Browser Cookies".

Error code 7

This error is mainly due to the corruption of steam update files and can be fixed by reinstalling the Steam client and backing up all of the game files you’ve had. The universal solution is to check if firewall or antivirus is blocking Steam at any instance.

Could not connect to the Steam network

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This issue appears when you are trying to log in your account on Steam, but corruption in files or network may prevent you from doing so.

  1. In case some of the Steam files are damaged or corrupted you will need to reinstall Steam by deleting all of the Steam files or using an uninstaller and then installing Steam back on your PC. Before doing so you should create a backup of all of the game files you have.
  2. Try updating your network drivers. This issue may also appear when your network drivers have gone far out of date and simply can’t manage to connect to Steam network.
  3. Scan your network for problems with windows troubleshooting and see if there are any apparent problems that prevent you from using not only Steam but also other applications.

Application load error

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The error is often caused by the game’s installation not being in the same folder as the Steam’s installation, resulting in Steam not being able to recognize it as its own files, as well as corruption in game files.

  1. Reinstall or redownload game files to ensure that all files are intact.
  2. Delete the game files located in "My games" in documents on your PC.
  3. Copy "Steam.exe" from your Steam directory and paste it in the game folder.

Error Code 41

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This often appears when you are trying to launch a game. Despite the error description, this problem may not always be caused by steam servers being too busy to handle your request. If it appears constantly, something in game files or your PC is stopping you from launching the game.

  1. Your antivirus might be stopping Steam from downloading update files for the game, resulting in a failed update. To solve that, try disabling your antivirus when you are launching the game.
  2. Your graphics drivers may be too old to launch the game. To solve that, try updating your graphics drivers.
  3. Missing or corrupted game files may also prevent your game from launching. To fix that, simply reinstall the game.

Error Code 107

This problem appears similarly and has similar roots to Error Code 105. Try to apply methods offered to solve Error Code 105.

Steam does not start or launch

If your Steam application does not start, it most likely means that your Steam files are corrupted or missing. It may also be caused by Steam already running unfinished processes and tasks.

  1. Open your Windows task manager (ctrl+alt+del) and end all of the Steam related processes. This will ensure that there are no left-over running tasks or processes. After that, try launching the Steam application again.
  2. You may not have enough rights as a user to let Steam update and download files to your PC. Try launching Steam as Administrator.
  3. Your Steam files may be corrupted or missing. In this case, you will need to reinstall Steam. Note that you will not be able to create backup files in this case, so it is better to have them prepared in advance.

John Davis