Gaming Software

How do I stop Steam from opening on startup?

gaming laptop with Steam
Game time: stop Steam from running every time you switch on

Steam is a brilliant games service, but most people can’t smash away hours on games every time they turn on their computer. Steam doesn’t seem to get this, however, as by default it launches every time you fire up your PC or Mac. If you find that irritating or a waste of valuable computer resources, here’s how to stop Steam from opening on startup – be it on Windows or Mac.

At the bottom of the page, we’ll also give you a few reasons why you might want to leave it to open automatically.

Stop Steam from opening on startup

The easiest way to stop Steam from opening on startup is from within Steam itself.

To do this on Windows 11 or Windows 10, open Steam and then click on the Settings tab in the top left of the Steam window. When the Settings Window appears, click Interface and then untick the box that says ‘Run Steam when my computer starts’.

The instructions for Mac are very similar. Open Steam, then click Steam in the Menu Bar at the top of the screen and then click Preferences. Once again, click Interface and then untick the option for ‘Run Steam when my computer starts’, as shown below.

Reasons to let Steam run at startup

Although it can be very annoying when software such as Steam automatically barges its way into your computer’s startup routine, there are some good reasons to leave Steam to run in the background. These are:

Automatic game updates – Steam will automatically update games in your Library, downloading the latest patches for titles you’ve purchased. Game updates can be hundreds of megabytes or even terabytes these days, and that means you could be facing a lengthy wait for a game to update the next time you come to play it if Steam isn’t able to quietly down a big update in the background because you’ve switched it off. That said, Steam deciding to download a massive update during your work day could interfere with the speed of your broadband connection, so there are pros and cons either way.

Steam updates – Steam itself seems to update fairly regularly. If you don’t have it running on startup, you could face a few minutes of delay when you next fire it up as the Steam client updates itself, again eating into valuable gaming time!

By the way, if you’re looking for a way to get discounts on Steam games, click here.

About the author

Barry Collins

Barry has scribbled about tech for almost 20 years for The Sunday Times, PC Pro, WebUser, Which? and many others. He was once Deputy Editor of Mail Online and remains in therapy to this day. Email Barry at


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  • Followed your instructions, still Steam not only continues to run at startup but opens Tomb Raider as well. TR can not be turned off or deleted. Any suggestions???

  • Unhelpful: literally everyone still googling this question has already unchecked that box, has removed it from the Startup menu as well, and like a zombie the gd thing still opens every time.