How to Fix Steam Error Code 21, 7, 12 or 101 on Windows PC

Have you ever launched Steam only to be met with a frustrating error code on your Windows 11/10 PC? We’ve all been there – trying to enjoy our favorite games, but a popup informs us something has gone wrong. Don’t worry, you’re not alone in this battle against Steam bugs on Windows computers.

Error codes can arise for any number of reasons, leaving us scratching our heads as to what the problem could be. But fear not, with some basic troubleshooting knowledge and patience, these issues are often fixable.

Troubleshooting and Fixing Steam Game Client Error Code 21, 7, 12 or 101 on Windows 10/11 PC


Restart Steam Client and Your Computer

You’ll want to try restarting Steam PC gaming client and your entire computer as one of the first steps. A lot of the time, restarting clears out any corrupt files or temporary bugs that may be causing issues. As one of the simplest solutions, give it a try whenever you encounter an error code.

Shut down Steam completely and then restart your machine. Launch Steam once your computer has fully started up again and see if the error code is fixed. Many issues can be resolved with just a simple on-off cycle.

Check Your Internet Connection

Error codes in Steam are sometimes caused by spotty or disconnected internet. Make sure to verify that you have a stable and active internet connection before trying anything else.

Take a few moments to double check that you are properly connected to your wifi network or Ethernet cord. Also try running a speed test to see if your bandwidth is sufficient. Improving or repairing your internet may clear up Steam issues right away.

Update Your Graphics Driver

With Steam being a gaming platform, an outdated graphics driver could cause conflicts. Use a tool like Avast Driver Updater to scan for and install any pending updates for your graphics card.

Having the latest compatible graphics driver ensures optimal performance when launching games through Steam. Resolving driver issues is a simple potential fix worth trying for error codes.

Disable Antivirus/Firewall Software

Some antivirus and firewall programs unintentionally restrict Steam’s network access. Temporarily turning them off can help determine if they are interfering.

Go into the settings of your security software and disable real-time protection. Then try launching Steam again to see if the error persists. Re-enabling security gradually can pinpoint compatibility problems.

Run Steam as Administrator

Steam needs full permissions to properly install and launch games. Right-clicking the Steam shortcut and selecting “Run as administrator” grants this elevated access.

Give it a shot – some Steam errors occur due to standard user restrictions. Running Steam with administrator privileges may fix permission-based issues behind error codes.

Reinstall Steam as a Last Resort

A complete Steam reinstallation wipes out corrupted files that could be the root cause. It should only be tried if lighter solutions fail.

Back up save files, uninstall Steam, delete remaining files, then redownload a fresh installer. Setting up Steam from scratch may fix persistent problems plaguing your installation.

But be aware that reinstalling is time-consuming and not always guaranteed to work. Sometimes the issue lies elsewhere beyond Steam itself. Proceed to the next solution if reinstalling does not help.

Contact Steam Support

The solutions discussed aim to fix common error codes through basic troubleshooting steps. But Steam problems can arise from a variety of complex and hard to diagnose factors too.

If none of the methods here resolve your specific error message, then it may be a good idea to reach out to Steam Support directly. Valve’s support team can further investigate your unique situation and hardware configuration for a customized solution.

Collaborate with them to thoroughly test your system, provide logs and diagnostics, try beta builds, or get more advanced help. As a last resort, they have advanced tools for pinpointing deep-seated Steam installation or software conflicts.

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