10 Expert Fixes: Steam Says Game Is Running Issue

Nothing is more frustrating than an interrupted gaming season because of a technical error such as “steam says my game is still running” even when it’s not. That can ruin the everyday gaming experience if not fixed. If you find a Steam game not running but says it is, and steam says the game is running but won’t open, don’t fret. We’ve got you covered with all the fixes and methods. Try these fixes and get back to gaming.

steam says game is running

Why Does Steam Say Game Is Running?

The “game is running” prompt by steam when you try to run a game is a feature to make sure that you do not accidentally run a game twice. This feature is to ensure that, two games are not running simultaneously and putting a strain on your operating system.

When steams displays the “game is running” error, you can check if actually, the game is already running in the background, and close it to save memory. This feature sometimes poses a problem when steam says the game is running not in task manager. Learn more about why this problem is caused and its solution further in the article.

What Causes Steam To Think The Game Is Running An Issue On Your System?

The reason for the “steam says game is running but won’t open” error vary from user to user and computer to computer. For some, it can be that the game was not closed actually, and is running in the background.

whereas for others, it can be due to steam desktop client error, or any other configuration error. It may happen that your game files are missing or damaged causing “steam thinks game is running” problems. In very exceptional cases it can be due to updates or your hardware, which can be fixed by making some configuration changes.

Quick Checks For The Steam Game Not Running But Says It Is – Error

Before you head to the methods for fixing the steam says game is running error make sure that you have the below-mentioned requirements met. You can probably get it solved by doing the check and fixing it.

  • Ensure that you have a stable internet connection
  • Check if your steam is up to date
  • Check if your system meets the minimum requirement for both game and steam

Steps To Fix Steam Says Game Is Running Issue

By this time you must have an idea of what might be causing the problems relating to the “steam says game is running but it isn’t” error. The possible fixes to the problems are listed below in order of prerequisite technical skills for fixing. Some may be as simple as restarting the steam or as complex as an integrity check for files.

If you think you can skip the basic check and fixes by all means go ahead and try the methods that seem most effective for your problem. Nonetheless, we’d suggest you make sure all these below-listed steps are implemented to fix and avoid any further problems.

  1. Restart Steam
  2. Close Steam using The Task Manager
  3. Close Game In Task Manager
  4. Close Game Launcher in System Tray
  5. Restart Your PC
  6. Allow Steam Cloud to Finish Syncing
  7. Reinstall Steam
  8. Run the Game In Compatibility Mode
  9. Verify the Integrity of Game Files
  10. Reinstall Game
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How To Fix Steam Game Running But Not In Task Manager?

1. Restart Steam to fix problems.

Restarting is the most basic, tried, and tested solution for “steam says the game is running on another computer” problems, many users vouch for this solution. Restarting addresses the problem at its core, by closing all the games and processes running in the background, ensuring that the “game is running” message does not appear the next time you run the game or open steam.

  1. Directly click on the close button “X” to close steam.
  2. Since it often minimizes the steam, go to the tray icon.
  3. Right-click on the steam symbol icon and select quit.
  4. This will close the steam completely.
  5. Again click on the steam icon from the start menu to restart steam.
image of start menu showing the steps to run steam as an administrator

2. Close Steam using the Task Manager.

The primary reason behind the “steam says game is running when it isn’t” error is that the background processes may actually be already running for steam when you try to restart. Hence, the problem can be solved if you remove the hurdle by closing the steam application from the task manager itself.

To close all the steam processes through task manager and solve the “steam says game is running not in task manager” error, follow these steps:

  1. Press and hold Ctrl, Shift, and Esc keys until the “Task Manager” window appears on your screen.
  2. In the Task Manager window find the steam processes and select them
  3. Move your cursor to the bottom right and click on “End Task”
  4. In the Task Manager window navigate your cursor to the bottom left and click on more details.
  5. Scroll through all the process lists that are running and find steam processes.
  6. Select the processes and click on “End Task”
  7. You’ve successfully closed steam and can now try restarting.
image of ending steam processes in task manger

3. Close Game In Task Manager

By closing the steam you clear the hurdle for steam launch errors but that keeps the game running. It may happen that the game is independently running, apart from steam which is leading to “steam says game is running but won’t open” error. In such a scenario closing steam alone would not solve the issue, and you would be required to close the steam game itself from the Task Manager.

To solve the “steam says game is running on another computer” error, close the steam game by using Manager by following these steps

  1. Press Ctrl+Alt+Delete in your windows operating system.
  2. A screen will appear with the list of options, select Task Manager from the list.
  3. The “Task Manager” window will appear on your screen.
  4. In the Task Manager window find the Game processes and select them.
  5. Move your cursor to the bottom right and click on “End Task”
  6. In the Task Manager window navigate your cursor to the bottom left and click on more details.
  7. Scroll through all the process lists that are running and find Game processes.
  8. Select the steam game processes and click on “End Task”
  9. Once you’ve successfully closed both steam and game, you can try restarting, the issue will be resolved.

4. Close Game Launcher In System Tray

Some games run with an accessory game launcher that may cause the game to run in the background even when you’ve exited the game leading to steam saying the game is already running in error. These launchers have little memory use and may not be found easily in the task manager.

The game launchers are often accessible through the system tray and can be closed from there. To close the game launcher in the system tray follow these steps

  1. Navigate your cursor to the bottom right of the window’s screen
  2. Click on the “^” symbol on the taskbar
  3. A box will appear with tray icons of applications that are running
  4. In the box find the icon of your game launcher, right-click
  5. from the list click on close.
  6. your game will exit completely and the “game is already running”problem will be solved.
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5. Restart Your PC

Restarting your operating system is a go-to solution for many users, and they vouch for its effectiveness in solving the “steam says the game is already running” issue. It is suggested to restart your computer only after attempting the above fixes to ensure that the problem is solved at its roots.

Make sure to restart directly and not shut down and then restart. Restarting will close all the game processes and steam processes, as they’re not part of system processes, evidently solving the problem of the game running in the background and steam saying the game is running issue. Follow these steps to do a successful restart.

  1. Manually close all the windows through the taskbar by right-clicking and then clicking on “close all windows”.
  2. Move your cursor to the start icon, and then on the power button.
  3. Left-click on the “Restart” from the list, to restart your computer
  4. Alternatively, you can press “ALT+F4” simultaneously.
image of restarting computer with alt+f4 keys
  1. A dialogue box will appear, select restart in the dialogue box, and click on ok.
  2. Wait for the computer to restart and then open steam, the issue will be resolved.

6. Allow Steam Cloud To Finish Syncing

When you close your steam game, it is a standard process for steam to upload your offline progress for the game from local files to the servers. This process takes time depending on your internet speed and it may happen that you are quitting steam before the synching is finished.

Incomplete steam cloud sync is one of the reasons for the “steam says game is running but it isn’t” error. Waiting for the cloud sync to finish once you’re done gaming can help you avoid the problem when running the game next time.

It may appear to be taking extra time sometimes when synching, as it depends on your internet connection speed but being patient helps. You’ll be unable to play the game while the syncing process is executed, to let it synch completely do not exit the steam window and wait till the “synching” text disappears.

7. Reinstall Steam

Reinstalling the steam desktop client is one of the last resorts which you can options none of the above methods work in solving steam says the game is already running error.

You may wonder how does reinstall fixes the “game is already running error? well, it’s a less technical way of fixing all the corrupt files of steam which is a primary reason for the “game is already running” error. By reinstalling you get the default files that may be missing as well as it gets automatically updated to the latest.

To uninstall the steam follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Start menu in your operating system and left-click.
  2. type on your keyboard “Control panel”
  3. In the control panel go to “Programs” and then uninstall programs.
  4. Scroll and search for “Steam”, and right-click and click on uninstall.
Uninstall or Change a program window
  1. Follow-through will uninstall setup and click ok, the uninstall we be complete.

To Re-install steam follow these steps

  1. Go to the official site of Steam and from the top right corner click on “Install steam”
Steam download webpage
  1. On the next page select your Operating system and proceed with the download.
  2. Once downloaded got the download folder and run the setup
  3. Follow through with setup instructions and location of install, and finish.
Steam setup
  1. Now run Steam and your game. The issue will be resolved
install completion for steam setup


8. Run The Game In Compatibility Mode

Compatibility mode is one of the most effective solutions for any window client, especially for such errors. Running the game in compatibility mode will allow you to find the reason behind “game is running” message by steam as well as fix it in real-time.

The steps to run the game in compatibility mode are

  1. Right-click on the game icon and select properties.
  2. From the properties click on compatibility.
  3. suggested: Either you can troubleshoot for compatibility
  4. Or check the box for “Run this program in compatibility mode for”.
  1. Select Windows 8 or older and rest settings as per your judgment.
  2. Click on “Apply” and the “Ok”
  3. Run the game, the game will open with ease.
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9. Verify The Integrity Of Game Files

Verifying the integrity of game files basically means checking for missing files or corrupt files in the game. You can verify the integrity of the game by using the steam itself.

Steam offers an in-built utility to scan the files of your game and check for corrupt and missing files. If Steam says the game is running even after you’ve tried the above mentions fixes. Then Verifying and fixing the game files on your computer is the solution to your problem

To verify game files integrity in Steam:

  1. Open steam and go to library options.
  2. Select your game, right-click and go to properties.
  3. In properties click on the local files tab.
  4. Now click on “Verify Integrity of game files”
  5. The process will start, and you’ll get a prompt once done.
  6. If it shows a file missing or corrupt, you can either download that file specifically
  7. Or you can try reinstalling the Game

10. Reinstall The Game

Even after trying the above-mentioned steps, your games fail to load and steam says the same “game is running” prompt. Perhaps reinstalling the game would solve the problem. We suggest you only try this step after you’ve tried all the rest above mentioned methods.

Reinstalling the game means a lot of data and time consumption as well as the complete deletion of game files. It rarely happens that you’d be required to do this, but if nothing works, this surely will, as once all files will be deleted, all games processes will automatically terminate preventing steam from saying “the game is already running”

To reinstall a game through steam:

  1. Open Steam and go to the steam library.
  2. Select your game, Right-click on it, and then select “Uninstall”
  3. A “Delete game files” warning prompt will appear.
  4. Click on “Delete” and the uninstall will begin.
  5. Once complete, restart steam as well as your computer.
  6. Re-open steam, again go to your steam library and select the recently installed game
  7. Right-click on the game and click on “Install”
  8. Follow-through will process and click on finish
  9. The game files will start downloading
  10. Once done, relaunch the game, the issue will be resolved.


Try all the above-mentioned fixes, preferably in order of listing and you are sure to get the “steam says the game is running when it isn’t” error fixed without diving into more technical solutions.

Since these problems are common among steam users, we suggest you join the official steam thread on Reddit or the thread of your game. Joining the official threads will allow you to stay up to date with new game changes and some unique solutions to the problems you are facing and others are facing regarding steam.


Why Is My Steam Game Not Closing?

It may be happening that steam is still syncing the local game save files with the server and you’ve hastily exited the game. Evidently, the process switched to the background to complete the synching. Other possible reasons are corrupt steam and game files. The short solution to this problem is closing the game processes using a task manager.

What To Do When Steam Says The Game Is Running But Actually It Isn’t?

This prompt usually appears when you’ve exited your game but it is still running in the background. It may happen because of steam cloud sync delay or corrupt files, hasty closing of game. To fix this problem you can try closing the game process from the task manager or restarting steam as well as your computer.

What Can I Do If The Steam Games Are Not Launching?

If Steam games are not running, it may be due to an error in steam or in your game. This error can be fixed by either reinstalling steam or your game. Some sort-term solutions are running a game as an administrator, ending game processes using task manager, and verifying the game file’s integrity of your game through steam.