Out of all the video game platforms out there, Steam is the most commonly used by a considerable amount.
It’s the most feature-complete and robust, offering an in-depth review system, in-game overlays, rich community sections, and, for some games, a fully functional workshop allowing you to mod games without any third-party software.
Of course, the complexity of the software and the numerous access rights it needs to have in order to function can very easily be caught by antivirus software. Avast, in particular, is one that many users have reported for blocking Steam and interfering with their game experience.
If this is happening to you, don’t worry! We have the solution. Keep reading, and we’ll explain both why Avast so often causes problems with Steam and how to go about fixing the problem so Avast stays out of your way while you game.
Why is Avast blocking Steam?
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Previously, Avast has just dedicated antivirus software, and if you wanted access to the other features, such as Avast Firewall, you would download it as a separate piece of software.
Avast has since updated it to be an all-encompassing suite of tools designed to keep your computer safe from harm.
Because of how complicated the Steam platform is, requiring internet access to pull the latest deals down from its server and populate the store, plus anti-cheat processes when playing online games, it often needs to have access to a lot of things on your computer.
This will often draw the attention of Avast’s Web Shield, Antivirus, and Firewall processes, as it simply doesn’t like software having too much access to your computer.
Here’s a quick rundown of the primary causes of Avast blocking Steam.
Avast Web Shield
The intent behind the Avast Web Shield is to monitor incoming and outgoing traffic to protect you as you browse the internet, or to catch any malicious software that’s trying to send your personal data out.
You might think of Steam as just a location to store all of your games, but there’s actually a huge amount of traffic going in and out of the software to do things like populate the store, check on your friend’s list, load up reviews and community sections, etc.
These are all quite innocent processes by themselves, but Avast can be overbearing and flag these processes up as potentially harmful and then block them of its own accord.
Fortunately, we have the option to manually instruct Avast to ignore certain processes so it can no longer get in the way of Stream running as it needs to.
The Steam platform itself runs as a single process, but the nature of using a game platform means we are very often downloading lots of smaller pieces of software that need to be running in order for a game to work.
This can include things like launchers for MMORPGs or anti-cheat software that’s automatically trying to run when you play an online game.
As this “new” software is downloaded, there’s the possibility that the Antivirus will block these processes and render the platform unusable, even if it doesn’t think Steam itself is a problem.
This will require us to identify which program it’s blocking and manually create an exception so it knows to ignore it in the future.
Updates to the Steam platform
Gaming platforms in general will often be updated on an almost daily basis as they introduce new features, try to optimize their store page, and populate the latest store deals.
The constantly changing nature of the software can sometimes make it work just fine one day, and then suddenly Avast will decide it’s a problem and block it.
It might seem bizarre to have the software working fine for weeks and suddenly Avast starts causing problems, but this is the unfortunate nature of video game platforms. Fortunately, it’s a fairly easy process to go and manually unblock Steam again from within Avast.
A particular feature that many game platforms offer is the in-game overlay. This is a convenient tool that allows a user to call up detailed information about the game they are playing, check community-made tips and guides, and even see their friends list and invite people to play with them.
It’s a useful feature, but it also requires Steam to gain access to the game. This act of having one software try to access and manipulate another software is very easily caught by Avast, as its behavior is similar to that of malware. It can also be a source of lag and in-game stuttering.
In this scenario, we once again need to go and manually approve the process so it can run unhindered by Avast.
Deleting or corrupting game files
If antivirus or firewall software is preventing network communication from a game or Steam, it can result in game crashes or cause certain features that require this communication to not work.
Sometimes you may find that even after adding an exclusion to the Avast software, the game is still not functioning correctly. In this case, we can use the “Verify Integrity of Game Files” function from within Steam to check for file damage and undo any harm caused by the Antivirus software.
How to stop Avast from blocking Steam
While it’s inevitable that at some point Avast is going to take issue with something Steam is doing, the good news is we have all the tools we need within both Steam and the Avast software to both solve the problem and prevent it from happening again in the future.
The general process involves identifying the process that Avast is trying to block and then manually excluding it from within the Avast software.
Follow these steps through in sequence, and we’ll have your games back up and running in no time!
One of the main reasons why traffic coming into or out of Steam will commonly be flagged as malicious is because of how popular the software is.
Many developers of malware or trojans will try to disguise their own processes as Steam processes because they know the average user won’t become suspicious if they see Steam moving some data around.
This means Steam’s web traffic is very easily picked up by Avast Web Shield and blocked, even when it’s legitimate. To get around this, we need to add an exception within Webshield for steam.
To do this, follow these steps:
- Open the Avast security software and navigate to Core Shields.
- Click the Web Shield tab.
- Navigate to Menu, then Settings, then General.
- Click on the exceptions tab and then click “Add exception.”
- Type in the URL for the Steam webpage, and it will ignore all traffic from that website.
Tell Avast antivirus to ignore Steam
Much in the same way as Avast blocks internet traffic, Avast Antivirus will intercept software and processes running locally if it mistakenly identifies the Steam application or a Steam game as malicious.
While Steam themselves have said they are working with the major antivirus and firewall vendors (of which Avast is one of the biggest) to ensure they don’t flag these false positives so often, it still happens.
Fortunately, to fix this we can just tell Avast antivirus to ignore the software we need to by taking the following steps:
- In your Avast Antivirus software, click Menu in the top right and navigate to Settings.
- Select the General tab at the top, then click “Exception,” and then “Add advanced exception,”
- With the advanced exception, we can block a specific file/folder from being flagged by Avast.
- Navigate to the .exe file associated with the software you want to exclude from the antivirus and click “Add exception.”
So which software do I need to add?
There are two main things you need to add. First is the Steam.exe file to tell the antivirus to ignore the Steam client itself. This is located here by default: C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\
In addition to that, you also need to add the .exe file of the particular game you want to play. For example, if you are playing Dead by Daylight, you need to navigate to Steam, Common Files, locate the Dead by Daylight folder, and add the executable file.
If any additional software is used to run the game, such as Easy Anti Cheat, you will also need to add that. Otherwise, you may find yourself being disconnected mid-game as EAC flags you!
Set up a firewall rule
Video games will often need to utilize in-game web data, particularly if the game is multiplayer. This means it might be flagged by Avast Firewall, and we have to add an exception.
- Open the Avast software and navigate to Firewall.
- Click on Settings in the top-right.
- Click View Firewall Rules.
- Then select the applications tab.
- Click “Add a new rule.”
- Once again, add both Steam and the game client itself, plus any third-party software used by the game.
You may also wish to repeat this process on Windows Defender if you believe that to also be causing a problem.
Verify integrity of game files
If any of Avast’s processes intercept a Steam game from working, whether it be Antivirus or Firewall, it can very often damage or corrupt files, preventing further use of the software even after you’ve added all the necessary exceptions within the Avast software.
To fix this we need to run the steam process ‘”Verify integrity of game files.”
This will scan the entire game and all associated software and automatically fix any corrupt data or file inconsistencies that may prevent it from launching.
To perform this process, you need to locate the affected game within Steam, right-click on it, and then select Properties.
Then, navigate to the local files tab and click “Verify integrity of game files” and give the process the time it needs to finish.
Temporarily disable Avast
If the above suggestions did not work, it may indicate that Steam has issued an update that introduced a new process that Avast hasn’t accounted for yet.
The Avast developers themselves have mentioned that they are not informed of software updates beforehand and will need time to issue an update on their side to fix any bugs or glitches that can occur with new updates.
In this scenario, the easiest solution is to simply disable Avast completely while you are playing. While it’s not an ideal solution, it will ensure everything runs smoothly until they issue the relevant patch.