[#stamalwr]: Handling effects of anti-malware

In some cases, games have been known to have problems with being installed, or updated. One known cause of this is if anti-virus software has interfered with the game being installed.

Unfortunately, in some cases, a problem like this cannot be reliably detected using the “Verify Integrity of Game Cache...” button. The game might run some sort of installer, such as an installer for Visual C++ runtime files that get installed onto the Microsoft Windows system. If that installer fails, the game may fail, but the problem is considered to be with the Microsoft Windows system, and not part of the game-specific files. Therefore, verifying the game-specific files will not work.

The only solution may be to back up the saved game data, and to re-install the game. Note that backing up the saved game data might not be absolutely required for all games (especially games that have the data successfully backed up to Steam's cloud), but may be required for other games. (If Steam does not have a cloud icon by the game, checking the Save Game Locations Wiki at Wikia might be helpful determine this sort of information. Of course, a game supporting Steam Cloud will not be helpful if the Steam software does not have support for the Steam Cloud enabled.) Some games may store data to a user's profile, and such games might not have the saved game data be deleted when the software is uninstalled. However, other games do have the saved game data deleted when the software is installed, so don't just assume safety on this topic.

There may be faster solutions. (If the Anti-Malware software has quarantined a file, running that file might work.) However, those solutions might have a higher chance of problems, and they might not be as easy to perform.

The safe (but time-consuming and bandwidth-consuming) method is to simply re-install the game. The first step to do this is to check whether any saved data needs to be backed up. Once that is taken care of, the next step is to go to the Steam Library and right-click on the name of a game. Then either choose “Delete Local Content...”, or select the same option by taking the long way, which is to choose “Properties”, and then the “Local Files” tab, and then the “Delete Local Game Content...” button.

Of course, if anti-malware software is suspected to have caused any sort of problem, then the anti-malware software should be adjusted before re-installing the game.

Attempting to start the software yields no results

When attempting to start some software, it simply doesn't appear. Or, maybe there is some effect, like the software trying to install VCInst (Visual C++ Runtime libraries) or .NET, but then the main software never shows up.

In the main Steam application, go to the Library. Use the mouse to right-click on the game's title (since access to the game's context menu doesn't seem to pop up using standard techniques like Shift-F10.) Press Up Arrow, and Enter (or use the mouse and click) to choose the last option, “Properties”. On the “Local files” tab, choose “Verify integrity of game cache...”

After a progress bar is shown, if things are working correctly, the title bar will say “Validating Steam files - 100% complete”, and the dialog box shows this message, “All files successfully validated”.

If some files were downloaded, that may have fixed the issue. If you're feeling hopeful, try re-running the software. Or, you can try re-validating again.

If the issue re-occurs (meaning that the software won't restart), then try validating the files again.

If validating the files multiple times keeps showing the same result, which is that a file keeps getting re-downloaded, then the problem is that the file doesn't get successfully saved to the hard drive, or that the file doesn't remain on the hard drive after it is saved. This is likely the result of anti-malware software. (See: Handling effects of anti-malware.)

[#steamwlc]: Steam directories used during software updates

For example, people using Steam on a 64-bit version of Microsoft Windows may wish to add the following as exceptions in anti-malware software:

  • %ProgramFiles(x86)%\Steam\SteamApps\downloading\
  • %ProgramFiles(x86)%\Steam\SteamApps\common\

Also, when Steam updates itself, having an exception for the following location may be useful:

  • %ProgramFiles(x86)%\Steam\package\tmp\

(Users of a 32-bit operating system would want to remove the “(x86)” from those examples.)

Note that doing that would allow malicious software to enter the computer system if that software was provided by Steam. Also, any other malicious people would be able to introduce any malicious content if they have permissions to be able to write to those locations.

Some Steam usage notes

To set your status, use the icon in the “system tray”/“message notification area”, choose “Friends” (which may be the second-to-bottom option, just above “Exit”). On the “Friends” window, the user may click the down arrow next to the user's psuedonym. Statuses to manually change to include “Online”, “Away”, “Busy”, “Looking to Play”, “Looking to Trade”, “Offline”. (The other option is “Change Profile Name...”)

It looks like this might also be related to: Settings, Interface, “Set Taskbar Menu / Jumplist Preferences” button.

Often in a game, a Steam overlay can be seen. Perhaps try Shift+Tab. This can probably be edited: “Settings”, “In-Game”, has a “Press shortcut keys” section that defaults to “Shift+Tab”.


Screenshots: Screenshots are taken by pressing F12 in a game that supports Steam's Screenshot functionality. That is the default value for the Steam standard, which can be seen by going to Steam Sttings, “In-Game” settings.

To view screenshots taken with Steam, go to the “system tray”/“message notification area”, and choose “Screenshots”. The “Show on disk” may point to screenshots stored on disk: check under "C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\userdata\ for a folder. The name of this folder can also be seen (or changed) by going to “In-Game” settings, and pressing the “Screenshot folder” button.

(In other games, pressing “Print Screen” may make a screenshot, or perform the standard action of copying an image to the system's clipboard, which then allows the image to be pasted.)

Presumably that folder identifies a specific Steam account. e.g., “Orcs Must Die! 2” App ID is 201790; it stores screenshots in 760\remote\201790\screenshots\.

It looks like that is customization: Use the icon in the “system tray”/“message notification area”, choose “Settings”. On the “In-game” tab, is a button that says “Select External Screenshots Folder”. Another location for an screenshot-related option is on the “Cloud” tab: “Open the screenshot uploader after a closing game if screenshots were taken” [sic] (should be “closing a game”).

Some recommended Settings

Use the icon in the “system tray”/“message notification area”, choose “Settings”.

On the “Cloud” tab, it may be desirable to choose “Enable Steam Cloud synchronization for applications which support it”. That allows saved games to be accessed by a different computer. To see which purchased games support Steam Cloud, go to the Library, and choose the “View” menu, and view “Games List”. One of the columns will show a cloud icon. If a game shows a question mark in a circle on top of the left side of the cloud icon, this means “means the last cloud sync wasn't completed, or” the game “hasn't checked the cloud saves recently.” (Quoted material from: GameFAQs forum post.) Disabling and re-enabling the cloud support of that game might make the question mark go away (according to forum post.

On “Voice” tab, it may be set to “Automatically transmit my voice whenever I speak”. Determine if that is desired: the other option is “Use a push-to-talk key to transmit voice” (default “Push-to-talk key” value is “Alt”).

If voice isn't working, check this tab to make sure the right device is chosen. It may also be useful to check out whether the microphone is working at all; see the section on enabling Speech in Microsoft Windows.

In “Friends”, “Display timestamps in chat log”. Also, do you really want to “Display a notification” “When any friend joins a game”, but not “When any Friend comes online”? That is the default, but means that you don't get to know about a friend who comes online until after the friend has started playing a game.

In “In-game”, in the section related to screenshots, “Save an uncompressed copy outside of Steam”

Misc notes
Redeeming keys

Sometimes, an organization may provide you with some Steam keys. There are multiple ways to redeem such a key.

Redeeming via the web

Note: This was written after a successful activation using this method. The web browser was already logged into the Steam account on another web browser tab. The result was that this method ended up connecting to the Steam Website, logged into the correct account, and everything worked out prett smoothly. (This method was found when using which sells Steam keys.)

One method to redeem keys is to go to a hand-crafted URL which starts with:

(And then, right after that, is the key. For example, a key might contain three sets of characters that are separated by hyphens. Include the hyphens and everything...)

Redeeming from the software

Another way is using the Steam program itself. On the menu called “Games”, choose “Activate a Product on Steam...” Then choose “Next >”, and if a “Steam® Subscriber Agreement” screen shows up, choose “I Agree”. Then you will get an opportunity to enter the code. After entering the code, be wary about proceeding past the next screen if you are just trying to activate the code, and are not trying to also install the software at that moment of time.

[#stmcmprf]: Steam Community Profile

In the Steam Settings, the “Friends” page has a “View my Steam Community Profile” button. For example, when logged in and the “Profile name” shows as “TOOGAM”, the hyperlink will go to TOOGAM's Steam Community profile which can be seen at

Steam Buying Tips

Some of the best ways to get keys at greatly discounted prices can be to use one or more bundles provided by and/or