Did you know that you can also play Steam games without an internet connection? It’s perfect for when you’re traveling or if you have spotty WiFi and want to enjoy PC gaming.
Before you go, however, there are some key points you should know about Steam Offline mode. If you don’t set it up beforehand, it won’t work.
Here’s everything you need to know about Steam Offline mode.
What is Steam Offline Mode?
Normally, you need to connect to the internet to start Steam and play games with it. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as the Steam network offers many useful features such as Steam cloud storage, performance tracking, and automatic updates.
With Steam Offline Mode, you can play games through Steam even if you have a spotty or non-existent internet connection. It’s a cool Steam feature that you probably didn’t know existed!
How To Prepare The Steam Offline Mode
You can’t just launch Steam if you don’t have an internet connection and start playing. There are a number of conditions that you must meet.
Start Steam first if you have an internet connection. If Steam asks you to login, check Remember my password so you can log in automatically next time.
Once on Steam, go to Steam > Settings > Account from the main menu. Ensure that Do not store account information on this computer is not checked. If it is checked, you will not be able to use the Steam Offline mode. Click Okay once done.
Then, in the lower pane of the main Steam window, click Downloads† Make sure there are no pending downloads, whether that be new games you download or updates to your existing games. You want the download queue to be empty.
Then launch the games you want to play offline. This ensures that there are no further updates or installation requirements that you need to perform before you can actually play it. Once you’ve done that, close the game.
That’s all the preparation that’s been done. Now it’s time to launch Steam in offline mode. To do this, from the main Steam window, go to Steam > Go Offline† A message appears explaining what you are going to do. Click Reboot in offline mode†
Voila! You are now running Steam in offline mode and you can play your games without an internet connection. Remember that many Steam features are not available, so don’t be surprised if you navigate to areas like the store or your profile and see the warning: “Steam is currently in offline mode.”
When you’re ready to go back online, click Steam > Go Online† While you can stay in offline mode indefinitely, you’ll need to return online periodically so you can get game updates, sync your achievements, and download new games.
Starting a Steam game in offline mode
Once you’ve enabled Steam’s offline mode, you don’t need to do anything special to launch your games. Select one from your library, click Playand there you go.
That said, any game that requires an active internet connection or uses an external launcher will not work with offline mode. There is no way to get around this.
Troubleshooting Steam Offline Mode
Hopefully your experience with Steam Offline Mode will be smooth, but you may run into some issues every now and then.
The most common problem is when you try to start a game and see the error message “This game cannot be started in offline mode”. This is probably because you didn’t fully update or launch the game before activating offline mode. Most games need to be synced to the Steam network before you can use them offline.
If the offline mode doesn’t work completely, Steam may not have shut down properly the last time you turned off your computer. This can cause loss of data that Steam’s offline mode needs to run. To avoid this, make sure Steam is completely closed before exiting. Do not force the Steam application; just right click the Steam icon in your taskbar and click Exit†
Alternatively, your firewall may be interfering with the Steam client and causing problems with offline mode. See our guide on how to fix when you can’t sign in to Steam, as many of the tips here apply.
Finally, your computer may think you have an internet connection even if you don’t, and this causes confusion for Steam. In Windows, press Windows key + I to open Settings and go to . to go Network & Internet > Change adapter options† once here, right click your connection and select Turn of†
How to appear offline on Steam
While we’ve covered Steam’s offline mode so far, what if you just want to use Steam but appear offline to your friends? This is great if you just want to have a gaming session in peace, without friends messaging you.
In that case, click in the top toolbar on friends† Here you will find various status options. The relevant choices are: Invisible and offline†
Invisible makes you appear offline to everyone, but you can still see your friends list and send messages. By comparison, offline completely disconnects you from the Steam community.
These statuses purely affect the social element of Steam. Whichever you choose, you can still play online, download games, get updates, and so on. Simply put, you keep the connection to the Steam network.
When you’re done, you’ll return to the friends menu and select Online (or Awayif you want to appear inactive, which your Steam status automatically changes to over time).
Play your Steam games wherever you are
Thanks to the Steam Offline mode, you can play your games regardless of your circumstances. Deep in the wilderness? Flying in an airplane? Suffering from an internet outage? It doesn’t matter – as long as you have everything prepared, you can enjoy your entire Steam library.
The inclusion of offline mode is one of the many reasons it’s great to buy games on Steam. It’s the de facto market for PC games for a reason, and features like the offline mode make it clear why.
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