Why is My Steam Client Showing Me a Black Screen?
July 7, 2023
One of the most popular gaming platforms, Steam allows access to a huge library of games used by gamers from all over the world. Sometimes, however, it can happen that the client just sends you back a black screen. In this case, the client doesn’t load the shop screen, just sending back a disheartening dark screen.
Needless to say, when it happens it’s frustrating. To avoid it, here is a list of the most common reasons and ways to fix them, so you can go back to enjoying your favorite games without any more disturbances.
Why is my Steam only showing me a black screen?
There can be many reasons why your client has decided to hang on a black screen. The most common ones are:
– The Steam client hasn’t received an upgrade for a long time
– Steam settings have been set incorrectly
– There are corrupted Steam files or the installation is wrong
– Steam cache is corrupted or full
– The operating system files are outdated
– Graphics drivers are corrupted, outdated or overclocked
– Browser cache has accumulated too much data
– External software is interfering with Steam
How to fix it?
There are various ways to fix the client black screen. They include updating graphics drivers, resetting Steam settings, clearing caches, clearing Steam cache, and other fixes. If none of these methods work, you’ll need to reinstall Steam.
But let’s see what methods to follow to solve the problem.
The easiest methods
Sometimes, the most straightforward methods are also the most effective. Start by restarting the Steam client and your computer to make sure it’s not a temporary glitch. If that doesn’t work, I suggest you try triple clicking on the black screen that appears in Steam. Any point is fine. If you can see it, click on the Friends & Chats button in the lower right corner. Also, remember to switch Steam to your primary monitor if you’re using an external monitor. Exit the Steam Beta and disable any hacking and cheating tools if you have them. Close Steam and reopen it as administrator.
If none of these methods work, don’t worry. We have more to try.
1. Update your graphics drivers
Outdated or corrupted drivers can cause issues with the Steam client, including a black screen. Keeping them up to date solves the problem and makes the entire gaming experience more efficient.
- Click on the Windows icon, write Device Management and open it
- Look for Video Cards in the list, double click to open the drop down menu
- Right-click on the card you use to play. Select Update Driver
- Click Search automatically
- If any drivers are found, follow the given steps
- Restart your PC
Alternatively, you can install the drivers manually. Go to the official websites of your GPU manufacturer and download the latest drivers for your card model.
If you also experience problems with your monitor, such as flickering, horizontal or vertical lines, or dim and blurry screens with other games, then your GPU is damaged. If so, a software update will not solve the problem. Contact an expert, but only after updating your drivers, in case it’s a software problem.
Another possibility is that your operating system is outdated or has corrupted data. In this case, try updating it to a newer version or reloading a backup of your data. If that doesn’t work, consult an expert.
2. Start Steam in compatibility mode
Steam compatibility options may conflict with certain programs. To resolve the issue, follow these steps:
- Right-click the Steam shortcut and click Properties
- Go to the Compatibility tab
- Click the button next to “run this program in compatibility mode” and choose a compatible system from the drop-down menu
- Click on Apply and then on Ok to confirm
- Restart Steam
3. Clear the html cache
Since it is stored locally, the Steam library is accessible even without a connection. However, the shop’s interface is taken from the web, and outdated HTML cache files can prevent it from rendering properly. To resolve the issue, follow these steps:
- Press Windows icon + R to open Run, type %appdata% and press OK. File Explorer will open, in the Roaming folder.
- Click on the AppData folder in the address bar
- Open the Local folder inside AppData
- Find and open the Steam folder.
- Right-click on the htmlcache file and delete it
- Restart your PC and Steam
4. Clear your Steam cache
Steam stores all app-related information and settings in its cache. However, a corrupted or overfilled cache can be the cause of the black screen. To solve the problem follow these steps:
- Press Windows key + E to open File Explorer
- Go to C:\Program Files(x86)\Steam
- Look for the appcache folder and copy it to your desktop for safety
- Erase the original
- Restart your computer and launch Steam
5. Clear the Steam Web Browser Cache and all Cookies
The Steam in-game browser is an add-on option that offers many features, such as the ability to access Premium games and create and share your multiplayer games. But like all other browsers, it has a cache that can become overfilled or corrupted. If you encounter lag or problems with your client, it’s a good idea to empty it.
- Open Steam
- Click on Steam → Settings
- Click on Web Browser → Clear Cache and Clear All Cookies
- When done, click ok
- Restart Steam
6. Update the Steam Client
An outdated client may encounter problems that more advanced versions do not, perhaps because Steam released fixes that solved them. Try updating your client to the latest version of Steam.
- Start the Client
- Go to the Steam button in the upper left corner and click on it
- Click Check for Steam Client Updates. If your client is already updated to the latest version, you will receive a message
- letting you know. If it is outdated, download and install the latest update
7. Change your Steam settings
If the problem started appearing after you changed any Steam settings, then the problem is likely there. In this case, undo any settings you’ve changed. If you haven’t changed anything recently, follow these steps:
- Open the Steam Client
- Go to Steam and click on Settings
- Go to Library, select Auto for the size of library UI elements
- Turn off Low-Performance Mode
- Once done, exit and select Interface
- Select <default skin > from the dropdown menu if you use a custom skin. Turn off Big Picture Mode and Use GPU
- Rendering for Web Content if turned on. Turn off DirectWrite
- Finally, go to Shader Pre-Catching. Turn off the Shader
- Restart your PC to apply the new settings
8. Add -no-cef-sandbox to the Steam shortcut
If your client doesn’t work properly even after trying all of these methods, try using the -no-cef-sandbox command parameter. To add it, follow these steps:
- Close Steam
- Right-click on the Steam shortcut and then Properties
- Click link and add -no-cef-sandbox to the end of the Target section. Press Apply and then Ok
- Restart Steam
9. Close Steam Client WebHelper
Some users on Reddit have pointed out that forcibly closing the Steam Client WebHelper or SteamWebHelper.exe can fix the black screen issue. If none of the previous methods worked, try this:
- Press Ctrl + Shift + Del to open Task Manager
- Search for Steam Client WebHelper or SteamWebHelper.exe
- Select and press Close Process
- Restart Steam. If this solves the problem, I recommend disabling the process, as the Steam Client will continue to open it on every startup.
10. Check compatibility
Issues like black screen could be caused by a compatibility conflict between Steam and third-party software. To identify and fix this type of problem, try the following steps:
- Temporarily disable or uninstall any software you’ve recently added that you think might be causing conflicts
- Turn off unnecessary background processes and applications using Task Manager or third-party software
- Open Steam as administrator. Right-click on the Steam shortcut and click on “open as administrator”
11. Reinstall Steam
If none of these methods work, you can try uninstalling and reinstalling Steam. If the problem is corrupted files from a bad installation, this will fix it. Keep in mind that this method will also remove any games you have installed. Follow these steps:
- Uninstall Steam from your computer completely following the standard procedure.
- Download the latest Steam version from the official wesite
- Run the installer and follow the instructions
- After installation, launch Steam, log into your account and download your games again
Experiencing a black screen when launching Steam can be frustrating, especially if all you want to do is play a game, but with the methods outlined in this guide, you should be able to resolve the issue and get back to playing without problems. Remember to try these steps one at a time and test Steam after each step to identify the solution that works for you. If the problem persists, please consider contacting the Steam Support team for further information and assistance.