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As we all know that Steam is a digital platform where we can buy free and paid video games. The software also provides a freely available application programming interface (API) – Steamworks.

This program is designed to integrate steam’s functions like in-game achievements and matchmaking and such other user-created content through Steam.

Many users have reported that they face an issue right after launching a Steam game. If you are facing the same error “Unable to Initialize Steam API” after launching any game from your Steam library you are at the right place.

In this set of a guide, we’ll discuss the reasons causing this error and hot to fix them. Let’s get started.

Common Reasons Causing “Unable to Initialize Steam API” Error

Many reasons can cause this annoying error while launching your Steam game. However, we have listed some of the most common causes to make it easier for you to identify.

  • Your firewall might block the games from connecting to the internet
  • According to many users, Steam beta clients might have caused this error
  • The antivirus program Comodo Internet Security might have put the game to the Auto-Containment list
  • There might be some severe technical issue with you Steam Client

How to Fix “Unable to Initialize Steam API” Error

Now that we know the possible causes that can show the “Unable to Initialize Steam API” error. Let’s get to the solutions to fix them.

1. Disable your Game’s Executable in Firewall

Well, according to many users this method has helped to fix the problem. Any third party firewall or even your “Windows Defender

Firewall” can block your game’s executable. The first solution is to make an exception for your game’s execution in the firewall. Let’s do it-

  • Go to the Windows search bar and type Control Panel
  • Select Control Panel to open it
  • Change the view icon to large and scroll down and select Windows Defender Firewall
  • Click the Allow an app or feature (to the left side of Windows Firewall option) here you’ll see a list of apps

Disable your Game’s Executable in Firewall

  • Head to the game’s app that has some issues with your firewall and checks the boxes next to both Public and Private networks
  • Hit the Ok icon to apply the changes
  • Once it’s done, reboot your PC and Launch the game and see if it runs without showing the error “Unable to initialize Steam API” error

This solution has worked for most of the users facing issues while launching their Steam games.

2. Disable Auto-Containment on the Comodo Internet Security

It is quite possible that Comodo antivirus program on your PC might block some unwanted programs including certain games with its Auto-Containment feature.

You can either delete your game’s executable from the list of blocked apps. Here’s how you do it-

  • Launch Comodo Internet Security
  • Go to the Settings menu and head to the Containment tab. Here, click on the Auto-Containment sub-section
  • After you click the Auto-Containment area, you’ll see a checkbox of Enable Auto-Containment. Make sure to uncheck this box to stop blocking certain program automatically
  • You can also turn off the slider which is under the Enable Auto-Containment option to stop blocking the app

You should disable this option or delete the problematic game’s executable from the list of blocked software to fix this issue.

3. Opt Out of Steam Beta Programs and Relaunch Steam

For those who don’t know, Steam Beta sends you latest new updates but also has buggy or unfinished programs. Follow the steps mentioned below to opt out of all Steam beta projects and solve the issue. Let’s go-

  • Launch Steam PC client
  • Tap on the Steam icon (at the menu to the top of the client’s screen). Choose Settings
  • Now in the Settings window, in the Account tab and hit the Change button (under the Beta participation section)
  • A new window opens up, under the Beta participation and click to open the drop-down list. Select the “Note-Opt out of all beta programs” option and Apply the changes you’ve made

Opt Out of Steam Beta Programs and Relaunch Steam

  • To kill all Steam-related programs, Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys to open Task Manager utility
  • Hit the More details icon (to the bottom-left of the window) to expand your Task Manager
  • Now, search for any Steam-related programs. For example- Steam.exe, Bootstrapper, etc. Ensure that these Steam programs are located under the Background processes
  • Choose all of them one by one and select End task option (to the lower right section)
  • Hit the Yes button to confirm

Relaunch your PC client and check if the error still spears on startup. However, if you still face “unable to initialize Steam API” on your PC, make sure to opt out of all beta programs.

Alternatively, you can also try to run the Steam.exe client as an administrator as it has worked for many users to solve the issue. We suggest you try out these steps as well-

  • Head to the Steam executable and open its properties by right-clicking on it and choose Properties from the pop-up menu
  • In the Properties window, go to the Compatibility tab and check the Run this program as an administrator box before you make and apply any changes
  • Confirm all the dialog boxes which ask you allow admin privileges. Your Steam client should now open with Admin permissions
  • After that, open Steam by double-clicking on its icon and launch your Steam game. Mostly, the “unable to initialize Steam API” error is solved.

4. Uninstall Steam

You can easily uninstall Steam using the Control Panel or Settings app. Here’s how-

  • Ensure that you have logged in your account with admin permission
  • Check that you’ve performed the backup steps for every library folder to add them back when you reinstall Steam
  • Head to the Search bar and Type Control Panel and select it from the results list
  • Now in the Control Panel window, select the View as Category (to the top right corner)
  • Once it’s done, head to the Programs section and tap on the Uninstall a Program icon

Uninstall Steam

Note- If you are using the Settings app, hit the Apps button to see a list of all the installed programs on your PC.

  • Place the Steam entry on this list and tap on it. Hit the Uninstall button (above the list), and tap confirm all the dialog boxes

Follow all the on-screen instructions to make the changes and uninstall Steam. After Steam is uninstalled, reboot your PC.

5. Reinstall Steam

If none of the above solutions fix “Unable to initialize Steam API” error, there might be some serious issue with your Steam client. You’ll have to reinstall Steam to fix this issue. However, the sad part is you’ll lose all your Steam games which you can redownload later. Let’s do it –

  • Go to the Search bar and type Steam
  • Open Steam from the results and hit the Steam button (to the top right side)
  • From the drop-down menu, select Settings and go to the Download tab in the Settings window
  • Click on the Library Folders icon to see a full list of libraries you are currently using and the folders for when you’re backing up

The default folder is C. So, C> Program Files (x86) > Steam >Steamapps. Let’s check out how to back it up.

  • Head to the above location and find the ‘steamapps’ folder

Reinstall Steam

  • Now, right-click on the folder and select the Copy icon from the drop down menu and open any location other than Steam and right-click on the Window on your computer and select Paste to paste the folder
  • We suggest you paste this folder on your Desktop to avoid any confusion.
  • Repeat the same process for all the library folders. As you’ll have to add the folders to your Steam library again after uninstalling Steam.

Once you’ve backed up your game’s installation, let’s uninstall Steam from your PC.

6. Completely Remove and Clean Install Steam

You can easily reinstall Steam by visiting the following link-

https://store.steampowered.com/about/ and run the downloaded executable on your PC by placing it in the Downloads folder and then double-click on it.

Follow all the on-screen instructions to install Steam on your PC again. Now, Launch Steam and Steam game and see if the problem is fixed.

Done! The all-new reinstalled Steam Client is entirely bug-free, and you can now enjoy your Steam games without facing any error as you launch it.

That’s not all! If nothing works for you, we suggest you try any third-party tools including Reimage Repair Tool. It automatically scans for corrupt and missing files and replaces them. It also optimizes your system for better performance.

Have any other issues with your Steam Client? Add your queries or suggestions in the Comments section below.


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