Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Troubleshooting Steam

When something goes wrong, and you have trouble getting your Steam games to launch, and play properly, there are many potential causes. Sometimes these “causes” can be “cured” by simply “rebooting” (turn off, then on again (aka “restart”)) your computer.

Other times it will take a bit more effort and research.

And, sometimes, it may take a total re-Install of the Steam Client.. (and, I’ve heard, sometimes that just makes things worse.) Or it might take something in between.

As a good ‘first step’ in resolving your issue you can (should) look in the Steam FAQ’s for Troubleshoot and How-To’s for previously posted answers for your particular trouble (you should be seeing an error message..)

Next, rest assured you are not the first person to have your problem, so use the ‘search feature’ in the Steam User forums. Try to use your error message as your “search term”. You should find others who have experienced your glitch, and others will have posted ‘fixes’ and steps for how they solved the trouble. If you should be unable to find your particular error (highly unlikely) you can post your question (seeking help) there. Other users will/may reply with a cure.
(Here is a good example of a helpful ‘thread’ for “cannot connect” errors: http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=976072.)

Of course, you can “google it”, and get results such as: on Ask.com, someone answered: “To fix steam, you need to restart it every now and then or delete its configurations. This includes the favorite servers and games that you have downloaded in the past.” Which may (or may not) help you cure your glitch.

In those ‘worse case’ situations, you can contact Steam directly for tech support, (here: Steam Support) but be aware you will be waiting for their email reply (of dubious helpfulness..)

Further, you may need to disable, or remove, some “incompatible” programs (or settings in certain programs) which may be causing ‘conflicts’ with the Steam Client software. An alert reader sent me a copy of a list that Steam Support sent them. I am pasting it here.

Important:

The list below does not address every firewall application that could cause an issue, nor does it address viruses/spyware. Please see the Using a Firewall with Steam article and the Spyware, Adware, and Viruses Interfering with Steam article for further instructions if the issue persists after checking for the programs listed below.

Any applications running in the background may negatively affect your games or Steam itself. Certain applications can lead to more serious issues such as limited connectivity and game crashes. It is highly recommended that you close all background applications before launching Steam to ensure the best performance and stability. After you are done playing, feel free to re-enable these applications.

The applications listed below have been known to interfere with Steam and Steam games:

Hidden Processes

Certain applications may load when Windows starts and are not obviously indicated. For example, they may not appear in the Windows task bar but they may be among some of your active processes, using your system’s resources. These programs may cause crashes and other difficulties using Steam and playing games.

Please see the How to Disable Background Applications  article to see instructions for disabling non-essential background programs and preventing background applications from silently loading when Windows starts.

 Software to Look For

The following applications have been known to cause issues with Steam and playing games:

Anti-Virus Applications – Any Anti-Virus program could potentially block Steam and Steam game access, especially when not properly configured for use with Steam. Please make sure that Steam and all Steam games are listed as exceptions in these programs. If the issue persists, please try disabling or temporarily uninstalling the program to test the issue.

  • Avast!
  • AVG Anti-virus *
  • BitDefender
  • F-Secure
  • Iobit Advanced System Care *
  • Kaspersky Anti-virus
  • McAfee Anti-virus
  • Nod32 Anti-virus *
  • Norton/Symantec Anti-virus
  • Panda Anti-virus
  • Threatfire
  • Trend Micro
  • VIGuard Anti-virus

Anti-Spyware Applications

  • Ad Aware
  • CA Pest Patrol
  • PC Tools Spyware Doctor with AntiVirus (may need to disable Full-Screen detection in the Advanced settings)
  • Spybot Search & Destroy
  • Spycatcher Express
  • Spyware Doctor
  • Spyware Terminator
  • Webroot Spy Sweeper *

Firewall/Security Applications

  • CA Internet Security Suite
  • Comodo (With Portal 2 running the firewall in Defense+ in training mode allows the game to run)
  • CYBERsitter
  • ESET Smart Security
  • Netlimiter
  • McAfee Personal Firewall
  • Nvidia Network Access Manager/Firewall *
  • Nvidia ForceWare Intelligent Application Manager
  • Outpost Firewall (Disabling System Guard under Proactive Protection allows Portal 2 to run)
  • Panda Internet Security
  • Peer Guardian
  • PeerBlock
  • Tiny Personal Firewall
  • Verizon Internet Security Suite
  • Zone Alarm
  • Constant Guard by Comcast
  • Online Armor

Other Applications

  • IOBit Advance System Care
  • Airfoil
  • Alcohol 120%
  • AMD External Event Utility
  • AOLacsd.exe (AOL connection driver)
  • ATI Hotkey Poller
  • ATI Tray Tools
  • BitTorrent/uTorrent (all clients)
  • Creative Software (Alchemy, MediaSource 5 on Asus G60VX models specifcally)
  • Catalyst AI
  • Daemon Tools
  • Download Accelerators (all clients)
  • EVGA Precision
  • Garfield Daily Desktop Comic
  • GhostSurf 2007
  • Google Toolbar, Google Updater
  • GSC
  • Hamachi
  • HotSpot Shield
  • HydraVision
  • iZ3D DirectX injection
  • K-Lite Codec Pack
  • LimeWire, BearShare or other Peer 2 Peer applications
  • LogMeIn
  • Microsoft Screen Magnifier in Windows 7 (magnify.exe – may cause in-game cursor issues)
  • MSI Afterburner
  • nProtect GameGuard *
  • PC Time Limit
  • Skype
  • Slysoft AnyDVD
  • StarDock KeepSafe
  • SteamWatch
  • iolo System Mechanic
  • TeamSpeak (can lead to mic issues)
  • Total Recorder
  • Tuneup WinStyler Theme Service
  • UPEK Protector Suite
  • Ventrilo (can lead to mic issues)
  • VirtuaGirl 2
  • Western Digital Backup Anywhere
  • Whitesmoke Translator (may cause the Source engine to crash)
  • WindowBlinds
  • Xfire

* We recommend that applications listed in bold with a ( * ) symbol are fully uninstalled from your system if disabling them does not resolve the issue

 Details

Issues related to any of the programs listed below may be resolved by exiting and/or disabling the program and then exiting and restarting Steam. For certain applications, a system reboot may be required after you have shut down or disabled them.

  • Antivirus Software

    Incorrectly configured antivirus software may prevent proper operation of Steam and Steam games.

    • VIGuard anti-virus software has been found to conflict with Steam games – an error message stating “Failed to duplicate pipe handle” will be generated when attempting to load the game. Add the contents of your Steam installation folder to VIGuard’s authorized folder exceptions list to correct this issue. 
    • AVG 7.5, Norton/Symantec and Nod 32 software has been known to cause game crashes. AVG 7.5 must be fully removed from your system in order to prevent these crashes.
    • F-Secure’s “DeepGuard” feature is known to cause Error Code 51 when launching Steam games.
  • Anti-Spyware Software

    Aggressive spyware detection software may block the normal operation of Steam. We have received reports that Spycatcher Express, Webroot Spy Sweeper and CA Pest Patrol (bundled with AOL’s Security Center) may prevent Steam client application updates and connecting to game servers.

    PC Tools ThreatFire software (which is also contained in PC Tools Spyware Doctor) can prevent the normal operation of loading of Steam games, including common errors such as Unable to load filesystem_steam.dll and Engine Error: Could not load library client. If you are encountering Steam errors and have ThreatFire or Spyware Doctor installed, please do the following:

    • Disable Behavior Guard via PC Tools My Account service. Disabling the service through Intelli-Guard will not resolve the issue.
    • If this fails to resolve the issue, fully disabling or uninstalling ThreatFire or Spyware Doctor may be necessary.
  • Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Clients

    P2P programs such as Kazaa, LimeWire, BitTorrent, E-mule, and Exeem can consume a large portion of your bandwidth, which may prevent Steam from connecting. Do not run file sharing applications while you are using Steam.

  • Firewalls

    Newer versions of COMODO Internet Security includes a sandbox feature that may disable services that Steam needs to run on. Make sure important services are not being run in the sandbox mode.

  • FTP and Web Server Applications

    As with P2P programs, these programs are generally very bandwidth-intensive and may generate errors in Steam. Examples include IIS services for Windows, Apache web server and MySQL servers.

  • IP Filtering Programs

    Peer Guardian, CYBERsitter, and Netlimiter have been found to cause Steam connection issues. These programs are not compatible with Steam and must be disabled or permanently removed from the computer in order to avoid conflicts.

  • IP Masking Programs

    Programs designed to mask your IP (GhostSurf 2007, Anonymizer, etc) will impact Steam’s ability to send and receive data.

  • Download “Accelerator” and Download Manager Programs

    These programs may interfere with installing and/or downloading updates through Steam. Download accelerator programs should be disabled while using Steam.

    Additionally, Internet Download Manager has been found to cause crashes when the Steam Storefront is loaded.

  • Windows Theme Editors

    Tuneup WinStyler Theme Service has been found to cause a crash with the Steam client application and WindowBlinds may cause crashes with Source games.

  • Virtual Private Network (VPN) Software

    VPN software will prevent the Steam client application from accessing the Steam network.

  • Other Applications
    • Look’n’Stop has been reported to cause issues with Steam when its “Unknown UDP Packet” filter is enabled.
    • PowerStrip custom display modes software may cause issues with load time and crashing in games – it is recommended that you select the “Restore to default” setting in PowerStrip before playing (you may resume using PowerStrip normally once you are done).
    • The nVidia Network Access Manager has been found to cause problems as described in the Nothing appears on the Storefront screen in Steam topic.
    • Airfoil will cause the error “Game name failed to start (error code 51).” if “Instant Hijack” is enabled. You will either need to disable “Instant Hijack” (you do not need to restart your computer when prompted) or add Steam and all Steam games to the excluded programs.

In-Game Overlay Application Incompatibility List

  • X-Fire

    The in-game overlay may not function if X-Fire is running and also trying to draw its in-game chat interface on the game you have launched.

    Workaround:

    Close X-Fire, or set it to not attempt to run its in-game portion on games not launched via X-Fire.

  • Windows Blinds

    Reported as possibly preventing the in-game overlay from functioning in some games.

    Workaround:

    We are currently investigating a solution to this issue. In the mean time, please do not use Window Blinds with Steam.

  • Ventrilo

    Reported that the in-game hot-key bindings for Ventrilo may stop working with the overlay.

    Workaround: This has been reported to be a Vista issue and making the involved apps Run as Administrator solved the problem.

I do hope you get your issue resolved without having too much gnashing of teeth, hair-pulling, etc., as gaming is vital. But please note: I am not a Steam tech support guy, and if you write in with questions seeking help, I will simply refer you to the links and advice in this article. (I have stopped using Steam altogether.)

And thank you, Dear Reader, for sending me that list.

If you made it down this far, here’s a reward: a reading reco: Save our Internet before we go off the digital cliff

The Internet is a public good — indeed, a public necessity — that is being abused by profiteers. Through their greed, they’re driving us off the Internet cliff.Read more..

Today’s quote:I told my psychiatrist that everyone hates me. He said I was being ridiculous – everyone hasn’t met me yet.” ~ Rodney Dangerfield

Copyright 2007-2013 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

January 22, 2013 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, Internet, performance, software, tech, troubleshooting | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Go, Niners!

I just want to take a moment and wish my team good luck in today’s big Championship game — Go, Niners!

(And I’m taking the Pats.)

[update: Yay! The 49ers are heading to a Super Bowl for the sixth time in franchise history. They will seek their sixth Super Bowl title when they face the winner of the Baltimore-New England game in New Orleans on Feb. 3.]

January 20, 2013 Posted by | computers | , , | Leave a comment

I Like Fridays Better Than Mondays..

I do not have a lot of time today, but here are a few things..

* MediaFire Launches Android App With 50GB Free Storage

MediaFire is rolling out the red carpet for Android owners, unlocking 50GB of free storage along with its new Android-based storage application.

The app joins its iOS counterpart in providing on-the-go productivity for people who need to access and share files from anywhere.” Read more..

[update: for a review of MediaFire from a man I trust, click here.]

And sometimes, I do not know whether to laugh, or cry.. (but it is an interesting read): Facebook Posts Easier to Remember Than Actual Faces, Books

Your memory of Facebook posts is likely stronger than your recollection of actual faces or actual books, according to a new study.Read more..

After yesterday’s article, a reader wrote and asked..

Q:Hi Paul, How about some discussion on AV availability for smart phones, especially the new Windows phone I got during the holidays.” ~ Jay

A: Jay,
Well.. smartphones and tablets are not my area of expertise; but I have discussed that in the past, (and posted 15 Mobile Security Tools (smart phones/tablets) in my Blogroll links) but it has been a while.

I do not use iGadgets, so I don’t know what is currently available for iOS in the iStore (at one point, there was nothing). Same goes for the Windows Phone. But I use Lookout on my (Android) phone and am trying Norton Mobile Lite on my (Android) tablet (both are free). So far I have no complaints with either. (And I believe they have versions for the other mobiles.)
I haven’t looked to see if anyone has posted any efficacy tests recently, but your comment/question has prompted me to make a mental note to research that.

This may help too: Got a New Phone For Christmas? Don’t Forget These Safety Tips

Perhaps a reader can contribute more on this question..?

* A game-changing lawsuit? Free credit checks sought after ‘unprecedented’ data loss

Class-action lawsuit launched by N.L. lawyer on behalf of 583,000 CanadiansRead more..

(If agencies actually could be held liable for the data they lose… BIG changes will occur..! [Right now, it’s kinda just an “oh, well.”])

* Friday Fun Video

Today’s quote:Those are my principles. If you don’t like them I have others.” ~ Groucho Marx

Copyright 2007-2013 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


>> Folks, don’t miss an article! To get Tech – for Everyone articles delivered to your e-mail Inbox, click here, or to subscribe in your RSS reader, click here. <<


All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

January 18, 2013 Posted by | advice, Android, antivirus, Apple, computers, consumer electronics, gadgets, Internet, Microsoft, Portable Computing, security | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Best Antivirus | Goggle’s Free Wi Fi | Windows 8| More

(Wow. It’s Thursday already.) Here are some “informations” I think you’ll find helpful and/or interesting.

Yesterday, I reminded you that in today’s world, all your Internet-capable devices need to have an antivirus/security product. But which one? Are some better than others? Oh, yes. (And, last year’s top pick may be this year’s dud.) I no longer have time to do my own testing, but for years I have relied on Neil Rubenking at PC Magazine to do that heavy lifting for me. He has just published his Choose the Best Antivirus in 2013

We put just about every antivirus product through rigorous testing to help you choose the one that will suit you best. We award the Editor’s Choice designation to those that we consider to be top-of-the-line in one way or another, but if your criteria are different from ours you can get details from our reviews of all of the available choices.” Read more..

Seems it’s (past) time for me to reevaluate my personal rankings of the free AV’s category…

Another article of his caught my attention as well. Why You Shouldn’t Trust Google’s Free WiFi Network

Last week, Google unveiled plans to build a free wireless Internet zone in Chelsea, a New York City neighborhood. Pretty much every news report and social media conversation focused on how the free Wi-Fi would give people in the area easy access to the Internet.Read more..

[Giving away free Internet. Hmm.. aside from TNSTAAFL.. how about cui bono?]

Also, Deb Shinder is writing a series those of you with Windows 8 may find very helpful. Talking Tech: Getting Your Favorite Features Back in Windows 8: Windows Media Center

Last month, I started this series on how Windows 8 users can get back some of the features that were removed, beginning with the Start button/menu. My plan was to tell you, this month, how to install Windows Media Center. It’s good that I waited, because the process I would have described a month ago seems to no longer work. You can still get Windows 8 back, but you might have to pay for it – even though Microsoft says it’s free until January 31. Here’s a little background and the story of my recent experiences.Read more..

Oh, there’s more I’d like to share with you today, but I’m out of time. Have a great day everybody!

IMG_0464

“You can use a Chromebook to find videos of cats on YouTube. This proves it meets the needs of 99.9% of internet users worldwide.”
(Not only is he probably correct, but that says a lot about us.)

Okay. I found a minute, so here’s one more Reading reco: The Chromebook — it’s like an iPad, but with a keyboard

I wasn’t expecting to like it, but in the end I loved it. The Chromebook could be the perfect post-PC device that has a keyboard.Read more..

Today’s quote:A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken.” ~ James Dent

(Okay. So? I’m ready for warmer weather.)

Copyright 2007-2013 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


>> Folks, don’t miss an article! To get Tech – for Everyone articles delivered to your e-mail Inbox, click here, or to subscribe in your RSS reader, click here. <<


All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

January 17, 2013 Posted by | advice, antivirus, computers, consumer electronics, Google, Internet, mobile, security, software, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Meet The Modern Bank Robber (Mastermind)

Folks, “viruses” and “hackers” – as the media has dubbed them, are more accurately called “malware” and “criminals”, and despite portrayal as “gifted kids”, are all about stealing our money. Cybercrime nets the bad guys over a $100 Billion (with a “B”) each year.. that we know about.

Here is a picture of a cybercriminal “mastermind”.

Photo: Arrested 'Happy Hacker' is the ZeuS Botnet Mastermind

Photo: Arrested ‘Happy Hacker’ is the ZeuS Botnet Mastermind

And, yes. Zeus was a bad one. (See, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeus_%28Trojan_horse%29)

* Alleged Zeus botnet master nabbed in Bangkok

An Algerian hacker arrested in Thailand on 6 January is the master of a botnet that stole $100 million (£62 million) from banks worldwide, it is claimed.

Dubbed the ‘Happy Hacker’ because of his smiling appearance, 24-year-old computer sciences graduate Hamza Bendelladj was arrested in Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok, following a tip-off from the FBI.Read more..

If you have never heard of the “cyber mafia”, or are unaware of the undeclared “cyber warfare” that is going on, well, they say ignorance is bliss. But please be aware that we are in (at least) the 5th year of the “largest transfer of wealth by theft in history” ¹. (And clowns like this guy are just one factor.)

You really do need an (up-to-date) “antivirus” on all your Internet-connect devices, and you should learn about Internet safety and security. These bad guys are way ahead of the good guys. We are only beginning to wake up to how insecure our “databases” and “infrastructure” really are.

I hope you will take the time to learn, share what you’ve learned, and do your best to try to not become a victim of cybercrime.. (And for some of you, that means not become a victim of cybercrime again, as the number of victims is already staggering.)

¹ http://www.zdnet.com/nsa-cybercrime-is-the-greatest-transfer-of-wealth-in-history-7000000598/

.. I suppose if I had $100 million squirreled away at age 24, I’d be smiling too.. maybe.

Interesting listening? (Reader submitted): Is technology making us lonelier? Listen

“Would we be better off if we disconnected from our devices and re-connected with real-world human beings? Or do you feel more connected than ever before?

In The Big Disconnect: The story of technology and loneliness, Vancouver writer Giles Slade argues that technological developments are a big part of why we’re increasingly isolated because the quality of online relationships can’t replace the value face-to-face contact, while authors argue that our smart phones and social media if anything make us more interpersonally connected.

What do you think?” Listen

Thank you, Dear Reader, for bringing that ‘podcast’ to my attention.

Bonus reading: Prosecutors Blamed for Aaron Swartz Suicide

Friends and allies of Aaron Swartz charge that overzealous prosecutors and draconian intellectual property laws drove the promising young hacker to take his own life on Friday.
Read more..

Copyright 2007-2013 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


>> Folks, don’t miss an article! To get Tech – for Everyone articles delivered to your e-mail Inbox, click here, or to subscribe in your RSS reader, click here. <<


All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

January 16, 2013 Posted by | computers, cyber crime, hackers, Internet, News, security | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Best Thing I’ve Read In A Month

Folks, here is an article I consider the best “tech read” I have come across in a long, long while. Every single computer owner (which is, what, every adult and most children?) should read it (and get “mad as *heck*) but of course, maybe only 10,000 actually will..

* Why does crapware still exist? Follow the Silicon Valley money trail

If you followed security experts’ advice and manually updated Java this week to fix a critical vulnerability, you might have gotten more than you asked for. Oracle probably makes tens of millions of dollars a year from crapware, and big venture capitalists see it as a growth business. Read more..

… “monetize” …

And, I suggested removing Java altogether, (see, Remove Java (+ A Friday Fun Video )) but you should be aware of the general idea spelled out here: Why you shouldn’t always listen to security advice

You should update Java. Or uninstall it. Or not completely uninstall it, but disable it. Or not do anything at all because it’s not a problem. Whoever’s advice you take, the chances are it’s wrong.” Read more..

(.. but it’s kind of implied that you get savvy, too, and learn how computers function.)

.. Another busy day here. Have a good one everybody.

Bonus reading: Microsoft’s Surface needs a reboot: Here’s how

The mobile market needs a third player to keep iOS and Android on its toes, but as it stands Microsoft’s Surface tablets don’t cut it. But with a few tweaks the platform has a chance of being a serious player.Read more..

.. sexy ..

Today’s quote:One only needs two tools in life: WD-40 to make things go, and duct tape to make them stop.” ~G.M. Weilacher

Copyright 2007-2013 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


>> Folks, don’t miss an article! To get Tech – for Everyone articles delivered to your e-mail Inbox, click here, or to subscribe in your RSS reader, click here. <<


All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

January 15, 2013 Posted by | advice, computers, consumer electronics, gadgets, Internet scam, Microsoft, News, Portable Computing | , | 2 Comments

A few interesting items…

* An inside look at Internet Explorer 10’s mysterious Flash whitelist

In Windows 8 and especially on Windows RT, your ability to run Flash programs hosted on the web depends on whether a site is included on Microsoft’s Compatibility View list. So what does it take to get added to that list? And what can you do if a favorite Flash-based site won’t work?” Read more

* Nine changes to the default Word 2013 settings (short slideshow)

Some of the default settings in Word 2013 just don’t work for him, so before he does anything else Mark Kaelin changes them.View on site

A lot of you had your Yahoo! Mail accounts hacked (and everyone in your Contacts list received an email containing a dangerous link…). If you haven’t done so in a while, you probably want to change your password. (And yes, you have to be suspicious. Just because a link seems to come from a friend, doesn’t mean they really sent it to you..)

* Yahoo Mail users hit by widespread hacking, XSS exploit seemingly to blame (Update: Fixed)

Late last night reports started coming in suggesting that Yahoo Mail users have had their accounts hacked. While “hacked” is a very broad term nowadays, it does appear that Yahoo email accounts are being compromised after users click on a malicious link they receive in their inboxes.Read more..

* Java zero-day infections pick up steam

An exploit that takes advantage of a gaping hole in Java has exploded across the globe, according to security firm Kaspersky Labs.Read more..

Related: Remove Java (+ A Friday Fun Video )

And this article seems a bit late to the game to me..

* Ditch the problem router and move to Wireless-N

If you’ve been having problems with your Wireless-G Wi-Fi, it might be time to consider an inexpensive upgrade to Wireless-N.” Read more..

Well, I’m out of time. Have a great day, everybody!

Today’s quote:What I just said is the fundamental, end-all, final, not-subject-to-opinion absolute truth, depending on where you’re standing.” ~ Steve Martin

Copyright 2007-2013 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


>> Folks, don’t miss an article! To get Tech – for Everyone articles delivered to your e-mail Inbox, click here, or to subscribe in your RSS reader, click here. <<


All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

January 14, 2013 Posted by | computers, cyber crime, Internet, News, tech | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments