Among Steam users, it happens very often that their Steam client Bootstrapper stops working. That is because Bootstrapper is originally the service you use to start Steam up. So naturally, if it doesn’t launch – Steam doesn’t launch. Considering how often users ask about this problem, we should note right now that there is no single cause for it. That is mainly because each user has a computer with different hardware and software. For this reason, we’ve listed several possible solutions for fixing your Steam client Bootstrapper issue. Give them a read and see which one best suits your needs.
Solution #1: Disconnect your Xbox 360 Controller, Then Disable Data
This is a common bug that occurs between Steam and both the Xbox 360 controllers and PS4 controllers. Fixing this particular Steam client Bootstrapper issue is rather simple. You first need to unplug the controllers. After that, opt out of the beta version and relaunch Steam. Detailed steps are listed below:
- Open the Run application by pressing the Windows key and the R key. In order to bring up your Task Manager, no matter which Windows version you currently have, type taskmgr in the search box. Hit Enter.
- One by one, find and close each and every running Steam process. We repeat – each and every one of them. This is to make sure your changes remain concrete and saved, as well as to prevent any new errors from appearing.
- After the prior step, disconnect your controller. Close every piece of software that manages it. Right-click to refresh and move on with opting out of Steam beta.
- Enter your Steam client, drop down the Steam menu and enter Settings.
- When in settings, click Account and locate Beta participation. Make sure that no beta phase includes your client. Click on the drop-down arrow and see what choices you have.
- Pick the NONE – Opt Out of All Beta Programs option, then close Steam. Enter Task Manager, end all Steam processes, restart your PC and open Steam again. It should do some update installing if it happened to be part of a beta program.
- Should you run into problems with the prior step, you have the option of manual deletion. Go to your default Steam location, which ought to be C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam. You will need to type this into the Run window and find it. This step will work even if you’ve installed Steam somewhere else.
- Go to the Packages folder. Delete anything that starts with the word Beta. Close the window, start Steam again, then follow step 4 for opting out of beta programs.
Before we tell you what this next step entails, let’s talk a bit about opting out of Steam beta. In short, it means you’re choosing not to update the service until an update is officially out. The good side of not disabling this service is that you get the hands-on first experience of new changes. The bad side, however, is that it can get rather buggy and slow your client down. One such problem is Steam crashing when you plug in the controller. So let’s proceed with the remaining steps.
Solution #2: Clear Up Your Downloads Cache
This cache will contain update files for the client or downloaded content from Steam. As its name implies, it is temporary – files go there before they end up in your main directory. A variety of errors can arise from corrupt files, as they can end up here for many different reasons. Of course, this might be what’s causing your Steam client Bootstrapper to act out. Therefore, try clearing this cache and relaunching the client. Most of the corrupt or deleted files will be downloaded anew anyway. Here is how you can do that.
- In your Steam client, find and click Settings.
- Now find the Downloads option and click it.
- Choose the Clear Download Cache option. Click OK for confirmation. Wait a while, as the client will ask you to provide your login details.
- After you log back in, Steam should be working as per usual.
Solution #3: Run Steam With Administrator Privileges
When you’re working with software, it requires a permission to read from a drive, as well as one to write on it. Ignoring any one of these permissions can cause the Steam client Bootstrapper to fail to load, and Steam to crash. What this means is that Steam doesn’t have certain privileges or authorities. You can provide those if you run it as an Administrator.
- You will need Task Manager for this one. So hit the Windows and R keys together, then type taskmgr in the search bar and smack Enter.
- Once again, you will be required to close down each and every Steam process.
- You will then need to right-click on Steam, and choose the Run as Administrator option. After this step, Steam will get all of the necessary options to start up normally.
Solution #4: Disable Cortana
What is Cortana?
Cortana is Microsoft’s answer to digital assistants. It contains administrator privileges, allowing it to observe and monitor all of your actions, as well as gather all possible data to perform at optimal efficiency. Cortana’s programming can often provoke other software to go haywire, including the Steam client Bootstrapper. So, disabling Cortana is probably what you need to do to solve the issue…
…except Cortana is really not something you can disable as easily as before. After the latest Windows 10 upgrade, Microsoft chose to completely remove Cortana’s disable feature. But you can get around this with registry editing – create one restore point and keep it there just in case.
- You will need to enter the Registry Editor for this one. Press the Windows and R keys, then type regedit in the search box. If the system asks you for permission to run regedit, accept and move onward to step 2.
- Now that you’re inside the Registry Editor, navigate down the following chain:
- If you cannot locate the Windows Search folder, don’t be scared. Right-click on the Windows folder and make one yourself.
- Inside Windows Search, feel free to right-click anywhere on the blank background. Click on DWORD (32 bit).
- You will see a brand new listing appear. Name this listing AllowCortana. Double-click it and mark that Value Data with 0 (zero).
- Exit the Registry Editor, close everything, and restart your PC. Now
Cortana no longer works, and you can restart your client as Administrator.
Note: If you want to get Cortana back, simply navigate down the same path and delete the Windows Search folder you made. She will come back to you upon the next reboot.
Solution #5: Disable Your VPN Programs
VPN programs messing with your Steam client Bootstrapper is actually the official explanation Steam has offered. These types of programs can normally be incompatible with their software. That means you can probably uninstall VPN programs and try to boot Steam later on. However, you need to make sure to get rid of them indefinitely. Not a single piece of their programming can remain. For a fully updated registry, you will need to perform a complete system reboot.
Naturally, none of this may work. In that case, you can reset your networking support completely. Bear in mind that all of this is but a last minute resort. Only do this if all else fails. In the meantime, follow these steps.
- First, you need to enter the Command Prompt. Press Windows and R keys, then type cmd in the dialogue box.
- Once inside, type these words in: netsh winsock reset catalog then hit Enter. A message should pop up and say “Successfully Reset Winsock Catalog”
- Now restart your PC. After this, relaunch Steam with Administrator privileges.
Solution #6: Check if Your Steam Client is Running in Compatibility Mode
There are times when your Steam client will run in compatibility mode. This mode makes older programs run in newer Windows versions more smoothly. In other words, Windows presents itself to Steam as an older version, so that there are no bugs in performance. However, other bugs will appear when Steam itself moves towards a new version of itself. Ironically, it’s compatibility that can make the Steam client bootstrapper not load. You will need to disable these compatibility settings if that happens.
- Locate your Steam folder. You can find it by typing it in the Run window after pressing the Windows and R keys. For most users, the directory is C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam.
- Once here, find the steam.exe program shortcut. After right-clicking on it, pick Properties.
- Within the Compatibility tab, make sure that you turn off Compatibility mode. Just uncheck it real quick and save any changes before exiting.
- Launch Steam as Administrator and all should be well.
Solution #7: Whitelist Steam With Your Antivirus Software
It often happens that the Steam client Bootstrapper fails to load because of how the antivirus software treats Steam itself. Steam is by no means malicious software. Hence, you need to add it to the antivirus’ exceptions list. Now, every antivirus software has a different way of whitelisting programs. We will offer the solutions for McAfee, ESET NOD32, and Kaspersky. For your own antivirus program, please visit their official website and check out the steps for marking Steam safe.
Unfortunately, you cannot exclude files and programs from McAfee’s scanning in real time. You do, however, have the option of disabling the antivirus completely while the game updates. You will need to turn off Real-Time Scanning in the Virus and Spyware protection section of your McAfee software.
For verifying game files integrity, do the following four steps.
- Reboot your rig and relaunch your Steam client.
- Navigate to the games library and pick the game that’s bugging you.
- Under Properties, select the tab marked Local Files.
- Click on the button that says Verify Integrity of Game Files. Expect Steam to verify them in a span of a few minutes.
There are times when NOD32 will see a file as corrupt or dangerous, and then it’s off to the quarantine with it. What you need to do then is copy the Steam directory address. Check any of the previous solutions for instructions on how to do it. The minute you’ve copied the directory address, paste it inside of the Exclude From Real Time Scanning option in ESET NOD32. Then follow the four-step verifying integrity instructions from McAfee, and you are good to go.
Steam might seem like some sort of “intruder” to Kaspersky. Thus, the antivirus will mark it as potentially harmful and prevent it from making any kind of change to your hard drive. If this happens, navigate to Kaspersky’s Threats and Exclusions section. Add steam.exe to the so-called Trusted Zone. It is important that you don’t forget two more settings. The first – choose Do Not Restrict Application Activity. The second – choose Do Not Scan Opened Files. And just like with McAfee and ESET NOD32, follow the four-step game file verification instructions. After this, reboot your rig.
Solution #8: Refresh Your Steam Client Files
If none of the previous seven solutions helped you with your Steam client Bootstrapper problem, then one of your Steam operating files is bad. Unfortunately, there is no way to directly locate which file might be causing a particular problem. At best, you can, of course, check the Steam error logs in case any odd activity took place. Just follow these three simple steps listed below.
- First, exit your Steam client. After that, navigate to where your particular Steam client directory is. We’ve described how you can do this in several of the prior solutions.
- Open txt in the logs folder.
- Navigate your way to the lower end of this text file. Search for any recent errors that Steam registered.
- Gallivant over to this mod’s root folder. In other words, the second number in the URL, 769043565. This particular folder has no specified file size. Now that you are here, delete it.
- Now restart your Steam client. Go over to the folder designated for downloads. When you do so, Steam will probably ask you to get the game update. Do so, and all will be well.
- However, if you cannot get any useful info from Steam logs, simply refresh the client’s files. As per usual, you will need to get to your Steam folder location. You already know how to get there, so let’s move on to step 7.
- There are two folders you need to find now. One is steam.exe, the application itself. The other is SteamApps, a folder.
- Keep these two folders and delete absolutely everything else regarding Steam. Restart the client.
- Now you wait for Steam to download all of the files it’s missing. It will launch again when it’s good and set. We advise you to restart your PC first and then relaunch Steam as an administrator.
What Does an Error Look Like?
An error might look something like this:
[2017-04-12 12:47:31] [AppID 346110] Update canceled: File commit failed: failed to move unchanged file “C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\workshop\content\ 328455 \ 769043565 \LinuxNoEditor\NPC\Male\Assets\Nude\Nude_Human_Male_Body_D.uasset.z.uncompressed_size” (Disk write failure)
Observe the two numbers. The first, six-digit one is your so-called AppID. This AppID here is for the game ARK Survival Evolved (it isn’t really, we changed it up for this example, as we did with the second number).
Continue With The Steps, Please
As you can see, there are numerous reasons why your Steam client bootstrapper fails to load. Some of these you can solve easily. Others will require some extra legwork. But considering the feedback from users that have had Steam client bootstrapper issues before, 90% of problems fall under what you’ve just read. So do not fear for your games, merely try one of these solutions and get back to roasting noobs on CS:GO.