Windows 10 Steam games not running (October 2015)

When I encounter a problem that doesn’t really have a concrete solution when searching online, it gets frustrating. I still haven’t found a perfect fix for this issue, but I am able to get by for now.

I upgraded to Windows 10 a few months ago and didn’t have many issues. The games I wanted to play worked just fine, as did everything else. Then recently I tried to play Far Cry 3, and it simply wouldn’t run when I double-clicked it from Steam. (More specifically, my Steam avatar would become green-bordered for a few seconds, indicating I was playing a game, then return to blue.)

I thought it could have to do with Uplay, the Ubisoft software it truly runs out of. Maybe it doesn’t play with Steam very well. At the same time, though, FC3 didn’t run out of Uplay, either.

After searching online, I found the suggestion to just run it from a shortcut to be the least annoying and most successful. I found where FC3 is on my hard drive and made a Desktop shortcut. This suggestion also instructed to put “-uplay_steam_mode” at the end of the target for the shortcut, but I just tried it without, and it worked fine. Feel free to search for that string if you’re interested in that issue.

Right now my method for resolving this Windows 10 Steam games issue is the above. You can find the hard drive location a Steam game resides in by right-clicking it on Steam and selecting Properties. Click the “Local Files”  tab, and press the “Browse Local Files…” button.

Find the most obvious executable (.exe) file that looks like it runs the game. For Far Cry 3, it was in the binaries directory (./bin/). For The Beginner’s Guide, which is what prompted all this troubleshooting, it was right in the folder Steam dropped me in.

Right-click that executable file, make a shortcut, and put it on your Desktop. For now, that seems the be the most painless way of getting going, especially if you’re like me and just want to try out a recently-released game!

Note: the button “Create Desktop Shortcut” in the “General” tab creates a shortcut that runs through Steam, which for me resulted in the same problem.

Here’s some extra information about my situation if it helps:

I updated my GTX 660 Ti drivers multiple times, trying out “Windows 10” drivers, which I think were just older ones than I already had. No changes.

I downloaded and installed the Visual Studio 2015 redistributable package, to no effect. Maybe other versions are needed.

I’ve been running Steam as an administrator, at least by right-clicking the box in the Start menu and selecting that option. It’s a little different from Windows 7 or 8.1, so that may not be enough.

I was trying to play A Beginner’s Guide, a newly-released game, on Steam. Other games have and continue to run just fine, including Age of Empires II and Crypt of the NecroDancer. I’ll note that these are less graphically-intense games, which may be a factor. A Beginner’s Guide is presumably run on the Source engine, like The Stanley Parable.

I verified A Beginner’s Guide‘s game cache, but that seems silly since it’s completely new.

I noticed that my Steam executable (C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\Steam.exe) was set to run in compatibility mode for Windows 8. I don’t remember if I did that or if it was done during the install of Windows 10 without me knowing. Steam was also not set to run as administrator. Toggling these variables (removing compatibility, setting to Windows 7, adding/removing admin) did not get the game to run.

I’ll probably check on this issue periodically as it gets annoying. If you’ve found a solution, be a good citizen of the Internet and leave a comment. I will absolutely tie up the loose end here if I can so people can fix this.

Edit: I just finished The Beginner’s Guide and noticed one significant downside to my temporary solution: the Steam overlay isn’t there, your time playing and progress is not tracked. I tried to write a review for the game and couldn’t because I hadn’t spent 5 minutes playing, according to Steam. I doubt you’d get achievements or anything else, either.

So keep that in mind if you consider this solution. I’m currently sitting next to my Macbook pointlessly running The Beginner’s Guide for 5 minutes so I can post my review…

Edit (2015-10-06): On a lark I tried to run Far Cry 3 from Steam and it worked. I’ve updated my graphics card drivers since then, but other than that I can’t think of why it suddenly works!

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