3. Clean Boot Windows 10
- First, users need to open the System Configuration window by pressing the Windows key + R hotkey, entering msconfig in Run, and clicking the OK button.
- Next, select the Selective startup option on the General tab.
- Deselect the Load startup items check box, which removes third-party software from the system startup.
- Select the Use original boot configuration option.
- In addition, select the Load system services check box.
- Next, select the Services tab.
- Select the Hide all Microsoft services option on the Services tab.
- Press the Disable all button to deselect the remaining third-party services.
- Select the Apply option.
- Then click OK to exit the System Configuration window.
- Thereafter, select Restart on the dialog box window that opens.
Conflicting software can also have an impact on Steam games launching. Antivirus, VPN, FTP, P2P, and third-party firewall software are the most likely software to conflict with Steam. Therefore, removing conflicting software is another potential fix for the Preparing to launch error.
The best way to do that, without uninstalling the software, is to clean boot Windows. That will also free up RAM and other system resources for games.
4. Keep Windows 10 Update
Players need to make sure that they’re utilizing the latest build version of Windows 10 and that it’s fully updated. That will ensure the platform has all the latest Microsoft .NET frameworks which some games need.
The Windows Update Service automatically updates the platform, so players don’t usually need to do that much unless they’ve turned off automatic updates. Some players might have also chosen to roll back Windows 10 to a previous version after a build update.
Players can manually check for missing updates by entering updates in Cortana’s search box and clicking Check for updates. Then press the Check for updates button on the window that opens.
Users can also manually install the latest Windows 10 build version with the Media Creation Tool.
5. Reinstall the Steam Client Software
- Open the Steam folder in File Explorer.
- Select Steamapps and press the Copy to button. Choose a folder to copy Steamapps to.
- Close the File Explorer window.
- Enter appwiz in Run, and click the OK button.
- Select Steam and click Uninstall.
- Restart Windows before reinstalling Steam.
- Then click Install Steam on the Steam download page to reinstall the software.
As a last resort, try reinstalling the Steam client software. Then players can install an updated Steam client. Note, however, that players will lose game data when uninstalling Steam unless they move the Steamapps subfolder out Steam‘s folder.
Players can move the preserved Steamapps folder into the new Steam directory after reinstalling the software.
Let us know which of these solutions did you try successfully by leaving us a message in the comments section below.
Some of the above tips might kick-start Steam games that get stuck on launch. In addition, turning Windows Defender off and running Steam as an administrator might also resolve the Preparing to launch error.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2019 and has been since revamped and updated in October 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.