Steam: a switch from offline to online mode does not require a restart anymore

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 9, 2013
Updated • Aug 10, 2013

Most of my PC gaming activities have moved to Steam in the past two or so years. A couple of factors play a role here, like the increasing popularity of the platform that is now used by many game publishers as one distribution source. It may have also something to do with the games that I play and a lack of great titles that I'm interested in.

Dota 2 is for instance a platform exclusive that you cannot play anywhere else. There are other reasons, like the sales that you find on Steam regularly, or that all of my gaming friends use it as well so that we can chat even if we do not game.

Steam supports two different modes, with online mode likely the one that is used by the majority of gamers. Offline basically means that you are not connected to the Steam network while you are playing games. This can be useful if you do not want to use multiplayer or Internet play options, and also prefer not to download and install patches or updates for the game at the time being. Plus, your friends do not see that you are online when you are in offline mode.

It is actually pretty easy to go offline on Steam. Just select Steam > Go Offline to do so. There are however a couple of things you need to make sure of before you do:

  1. Make sure the games you want to play are downloaded 100%.
  2. It is also a good idea to launch the game at least once in online mode to make sure that no additional updates need to be downloaded.
  3. You also want to make sure that "Don't save account credentials on this computer" under Steam > Settings is not selected.

Steam needs to restart when you go offline, and it needs to restart again when you go online again.

The most recent beta changelog highlights that the restarting is soon a thing of the past, at least when you are switching from offline to online mode at login time.

  • Change Steam to not require a restart when going from offline mode to online mode at login time

Beta means that the feature is currently implemented in the Steam beta but not in the stable version yet. It does not take long - usually - before those changes find their way into the stable version though, so expect the feature to hit Steam stable in the coming weeks if everything works out well during the beta test.

You can join the beta program at any time from within the Steam client. Click on Steam > Settings > Account and there on the change button underneath beta participation.

Note that you are asked to restart Steam when you join the beta program or leave it again. You will need to download a new Steam client version when you do so keep this in mind, as it is an 80 Megabyte download.


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  1. Anonymous said on October 8, 2018 at 1:11 am

    This did not answer my problem i need to turn steam to online mode from the website not the app on your computer not the steam engine but the website!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Matias said on August 11, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    Martin, I commented the same thing as beemeup2 and never got out of moderation, was it caught as spam?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 12, 2013 at 2:17 am

      It was automatically moved to spam. I have restored it, sorry for that.

  3. beemeup2 said on August 10, 2013 at 5:10 am

    Third paragraph:
    “Online basically means that you are not connected to the Steam network”

    I think you meant “Offline”?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 10, 2013 at 5:21 am

      You are right, edited. Thanks!

  4. Ben said on August 9, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    This client is my favourite too. I spend a lot of time in a hotel where I use a VPN to encrypt my traffic over the open WIFI. Steam supports VPN services unlike some of their competition where I am forced to turn off OpenVPN to use their platform. The fact that I can play offline without restarting the app is icing on the cake.

  5. Matias said on August 9, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    Martin: “Online basically means that you are not connected to the Steam network while you are playing games”


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