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Fix Steam Stuck on "Preparing to Launch"

How to Fix Steam Preparing to Launch Loop

Some users have reported a problem where a Steam game gets stuck on the “Preparing to launch” window. To fix this problem, follow the troubleshooting instructions in this article.

Steam Preparing to Launch

Usually, the “Preparing to launch” message briefly appears, after which the game updates and launches. However, it may get stuck during the “Preparing to launch” stage and prevent a game from launching.

This problem usually occurs due to corrupted files of the game you’re trying to launch. Game files may become corrupted due to user action, installation, uninstallation, update, and game mods. Nevertheless, it may also occur due to other reasons as well.

Users reported experiencing the “Preparing to launch” loop when trying to launch particular games, such as Fallout 4, Fallout New Vegas, Skyrim, CS: GO, Rocket League, Elite Dangerous: Odyssey, Saints Row 4, and others.

Before trying any of our solutions, try updating your Windows operating system, graphics card drivers, audio drivers, DirectX,  and as many other device drivers as possible. If this doesn’t work, follow the instructions below.

Video Guide on How to Fix Steam Stuck on "Preparing to Launch"

Table of Contents:

Method 1. Disable Unnecessary Software

1. Hold down Ctrl+Shift+Esc keys to open Task Manager.

right-click each unnecessary process and click End task

2. Identify all unnecessary processes, particularly those that consume a lot of system resources, right-click each of them and click End task.

3. Open Steam and try launching the game.

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Method 2. End All Steam Processes and Relaunch It

1. Hold down Ctrl+Shift+Esc keys to open Task Manager.

Right-click each Steam process and click End task

2. In the processes tab, find all Steam processes, right-click each of them, and click End task. Make sure no Steam processes are running. Also, end all the processes of the game that keeps getting stuck on preparing to launch.

3. Relaunch Steam and try launching the game.

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Method 3. Verify the Integrity of Game Files

1. Open Steam.

Right-click a game in the team Library and click Properties

2. In the Library window, right-click the game and select Properties.

Select the Local Files tab and click Verify integrity of game files

3. In the pop-up window, select the Local Files tab.

4. Then, click the Verify Integrity of Game Files button.

Click Close after verifying game file integrity

5. Click Close.

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Method 4. Delete the appcache Folder and Run Steam as Administrator

1. Open Steam.

Click Steam in the menu bar and click Exit

2. Open the Steam menu in the menu bar and click Exit.

 Right-click the Steam appcache folder and click Delete

3. Hold down Windows+E keys to open File Explorer.

4. In the address bar, type in C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam (by default) and press the Enter key.

5. Find the appcache folder, right-click it and click Delete.

Right-click the Steam shortcut and click Run as administrator

6. Right-click the Steam shortcut and click Run as administrator.

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About the author:

Rimvydas Iliavicius

Rimvydas is a researcher with over four years of experience in the cybersecurity industry. He attended Kaunas University of Technology and graduated with a Master's degree in Translation and Localization of Technical texts. His interests in computers and technology led him to become a versatile author in the IT industry. At PCrisk, he's responsible for writing in-depth how-to articles for Microsoft Windows. Contact Rimvydas Iliavicius.

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