Why does Steam always update on startup? Can I stop it?

Are you annoyed by the constant Steam auto-updates? Besides being forced to download large files, the process slows your PC, affecting other programs.

In some cases, you may get a pop-up that requires you to download an update when you are already using the cloud-based gaming library. Even though updates are necessary, too many of them can hamper your gaming experience.

So, why does Steam always update on the startup?

Steam updates regularly so that you may get the latest version of the cloud-based gaming library. The updates also patch up loopholes and bugs that may cause a vulnerability that hackers may have otherwise exploited.

Even with good intentions, Steam auto-updates may affect your gaming schedule. For example, if a steam update is so slow, you may have to wait for an extended period for Steam to launch.

Besides, constant updates may be expensive if you are using a metered internet connection.

How to stop Steam from updating

Steam hasn’t provided an official way to stop auto-updates every time the app launches. However, there are several working alternatives that you can try out.

They include:

1. Disable the startup process for Steam

By default, Steam launches when you power up your Windows PC. While there are many advantages of this default setting to gamers, it allows auto-updates to run in the background.

Therefore, disabling the startup process is the best way to disable updates.

To disable the startup process:

  • Launch the Steam client
  • Go to Steam/View on the top menu.
  • Select Settings
  • Choose the Interface option.
  • Disable “Run Steam when my computer starts.”
  • Save the changes and exit.
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Once you have unchecked the startup process, you will need to launch the Steam client when you need it manually.

2. Change the future update schedule

Changing the update schedule is the best way to stop interruptions. To customize the time for future updates:

  • Launch Steam on your PC
  • Click Steam/View (on the top menu)
  • Go to Settings
  • Scroll down to Downloads
  • Select Download Restrictions
  • Change “Only auto-update games between” to your preferred time

Rescheduling also works if Steam keeps updating during your gaming sessions. Once you have pushed the updates outside your gaming hours, you’ll now be able to play games instantly.

3. Limit the bandwidth of your downloads

In addition to rescheduling the auto-updates, you can limit the bandwidth. Changing the download speeds solves two problems.

First, it slows down unnecessary updates on Steam. Secondly, it lowers download speeds to prevent Steam from downloading the same update every time.

To limit the bandwidth:

  • Launch the Steam client
  • Click the ‘Steam’ option on the top left.
  • Scroll down to ‘Settings.’
  • Tap the ‘Downloads’ tab
  • Go to Download Restrictions
  • Select the Limit Bandwidth option
  • On the drop-down menu, select a lower download speed.
  • Save the changes

Once you have lowered the download speed, you will have control over auto-updates.

Also, any game update will not change your playing experience, especially regarding losing frames due to limited bandwidth.

4. Limit auto-update for a game

In some exceptional cases, a particular game may have countless updates in a week. If that happens, you can isolate the game and limit the updates without affecting other games.

See Also:  Why does Steam download so slow? How to speed it up

To limit updates in a single game:

  • Launch the Steam client
  • Go to the Library tab (at the top of the screen)
  • Look for a game you want to limit its updates.
  • Right-click the game
  • Open the game’s settings.
  • Change the updates option to “Only update this game when I launch it.”
  • Save the changes and exit.

Once you have limited auto-updates for a specific game, you will not get all the new features, and you must manually debug the game if it fails. Limiting the updates does not mean you should not update the game regularly.


There are numerous reasons why Steam always updates during startup. However, the auto-updates may affect your gaming experience, mainly if you have limited bandwidth and a slower PC.

Fortunately, the outlined ways to stop the updates work, regardless of what you are playing.

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