Watching your Steam download suddenly drop to zero is always frustrating. While the most obvious reasons could be internet failure or unstable connection, many other factors can contribute to this problem. You do not need to be disappointed, as there are effective ways to deal with downloads getting stuck at zero or slow downloading errors on Steam.
Stick around this guide, apply the steps, and watch your Steam download speed touching the sky.
- 14 Ways to Fix Steam Download Speed Suddenly Dropping to Zero on Windows
- 1. Perform These Basic Checks
- 2. Check Your Internet Connection
- 3. Clear Steam Download Cache
- 4. Set or Remove Steam Bandwidth Limit
- 5. Disable the Diagnostics Tracking Service
- 6. Run Steam as an Administrator
- 7. Change the Steam Download Region
- 8. Update the Steam Client
- 9. Try the VPN Method
- 10. Change Steam Download Restrictions Settings
- 11. Flush Steam Config and DNS Cache
- 12. Change the DNS Server
- 13. Update Your Network Driver
- 14. Reinstall Steam
- Wrapping It Up
14 Ways to Fix Steam Download Speed Suddenly Dropping to Zero on Windows
1. Perform These Basic Checks
Your Steam download speed can dramatically drop to zero due to network glitches or temporary bugs. If that’s causing the problem, restarting the device should resolve it. Close the Steam client before restarting your Windows computer.
If it does not work, delete the download and restart it again. You must ensure the device has enough storage space on the drive where Steam games are saved.
If none of the above checks work, try the more effective solutions mentioned below.
2. Check Your Internet Connection
If your Steam download speed suddenly drops, there’s a high likelihood of an internet failure. You must ensure that your internet connection is fast and stable. To check if the connection is alive, use another website or download a game via another platform. If you can browse the internet, your computer is connected to the internet.
Even if your connection is alive, the Steam downloads may fail or experience a drop in download speed due to an unstable connection. To assess the reliability of your internet connection, run multiple internet speed tests, preferably 3 or 4 times. You can use speedtest.net for this purpose.
If there are fluctuations in the download speed in all these tests, it indicates an unstable connection. On the other hand, if the speed remains nearly constant throughout the tests, your connection is stable. In this case, you can move on to the next fix.
If your internet connection is unstable, switch to a wired LAN connection for better download speed and stability. You can also try rebooting the router to fix the stability issues.
Here’s how to reboot your router:
- Disconnect the router from the power outlet.
- Wait for 3-5 minutes.
- Reconnect the router to the power source.
These steps should improve your connection stability. Connect your PC to the internet and download your favorite games on Steam.
3. Clear Steam Download Cache
The download cache stores certain files related to game downloads and updates. If it gets outdated or corrupted, it can lead to slow download speed or download errors. Clearing the download cache forces Steam to download these files again, potentially fixing the slow download issue.
[Note: Clearing Steam download cache only removes temporary files. Your games are not affected.]
Steps to clear download cache in Steam:
- Launch Steam on your computer.
- Tap on Steam in the upper-left corner and click Settings.
- Go to the Downloads tab.
- Tap on CLEAR DOWNLOAD CACHE.
After performing these steps, close Steam and launch it again. Download the game again to check if the issue is resolved.
4. Set or Remove Steam Bandwidth Limit
If you don’t want Steam to use the maximum allocated internet speed, you can set a bandwidth limit from the app. While it is a great way to reserve some of your network bandwidth for other important tasks, it can occasionally lead to slow download speeds or download failures.
To check/remove the bandwidth limit in Steam, follow these steps:
- Launch Steam on your Windows PC.
- Tap on Steam in the top-left corner and choose Settings.
- Go to the Downloads tab.
- If the Limit bandwidth option is checked, uncheck it.
After removing the bandwidth limit, restart Steam and download a game to check if the issue persists. If yes, move on to the next solution.
5. Disable the Diagnostics Tracking Service
Diagnostics Tracking Service or DiagTrack collects and sends diagnostics and usage data to Microsoft for analysis. This solution may seem unrelated, but some users succeeded after disabling DiagTrack.
Try the following steps to disable DiagTrack:
- Press Windows + X and select Task Manager.
- Go to the Services tab.
- Find DiagTrack in the services list, right-click on it, and select Stop.
Restart Steam and attempt to download the game again.
6. Run Steam as an Administrator
Steam may be missing necessary permissions on your computer, leading to download issues. Run it with administrator privileges to grant the app more control over the system, which could resolve the slow download problem.
Right-click on the Steam icon and select Run as administrator. Resume your downloads to check if the problem has been resolved.
7. Change the Steam Download Region
If you’re living in a region with a large number of PC gamers, the Steam servers could be busy. Downloading games from a high-traffic Steam server may result in slow downloads or downloads getting stuck at zero. Consider changing your download region on Steam.
- Launch the Steam client on your computer.
- Tap on Steam in the top-left corner and select Settings.
- Navigate to the Downloads tab.
- Select a different Download Region.
Do not just select a random download region from the list. It should be closer to your physical location. Relaunch Steam and resume your downloads to check if the download speed issue is sorted out.
8. Update the Steam Client
The older version may have bugs affecting Steam downloads. If you haven’t updated the Steam client in a while, it could be causing the problem. Ensure it is up-to-date for a smoother experience and the latest bug fixing.
To update your Steam client, tap on Steam in the top-left corner and click Check for Steam Client Updates. Download and install the latest version, and then resume your downloads.
If you already have the latest Steam version but still face slow download issues, try a VPN, as mentioned in the next solution.
9. Try the VPN Method
If you tried the above solutions but to no success, connect your PC to a VPN and see if the Steam download speed climbs. Do not just run after a free VPN. It should be a reliable one. My recommendations are ExpressVPN and NordVPN.
If your computer is already connected to a VPN, disconnect it. Then, relaunch Steam and resume your downloads.
10. Change Steam Download Restrictions Settings
If your Steam download speed suddenly drops to zero when streaming with Steam Remote Play, you need to change the Download Restrictions settings within the app.
Steam allows users to throttle downloads while streaming. While it improves the experience, it can occasionally slow down the download speed. Check if the Allow download during gameplay is checked. If yes, uncheck it. Also, check the Allow downloads during gameplay option.
- Launch the Steam client on your PC.
- Tap on Steam in the top-right corner and select Settings.
- Go to the Downloads tab.
- Uncheck the Throttle downloads while streaming option, if it’s checked.
Pause and resume your Steam downloads. If the issue persists, check the Allow downloads during gameplay option.
11. Flush Steam Config and DNS Cache
Like any other online service, Steam uses DNS resolution to connect to its servers. If there are DNS issues, it won’t connect to the servers, leading to the download getting stuck at zero. Try clearing the DNS cache and Steam config as follows:
- Press Windows + R to open the Windows Run dialog box.
- Type steam://flushconfig and hit Enter.
- Bring up the Run dialog box again by pressing Windows + R.
- Type cmd and hit Enter. It should bring the Command Prompt window.
- In the Command Prompt window, type ipconfig /flushdns and press the Enter key.
- Restart Steam, log back into your account, and start downloading games.
If you haven’t applied this solution worrying about your games, don’t worry. Your games will be safe. So, you’ve got nothing to worry about.
12. Change the DNS Server
A slow or unreliable DNS server can lead to connectivity problems, which can cause slow download speed problems on Steam. Try changing the DNS server on your PC.
Here are the required steps:
- Press Win + X and select Network Connections.
- Tap on Advanced network settings.
- Click More network adapter (if you’re a Windows 11 user). Windows 10 users should tap on the Change adapter options.
- A new Window should open displaying your network devices. Right-click on the connected source and select Properties.
- Tap on Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and click Properties.
- Click Use the following DNS server addresses and use the Google DNS server addresses:
– Preferred DNS server: 184.108.40.206
– Alternate DNS server: 220.127.116.11
- Click OK.
- Tap on Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6) and click Properties.
- Make these changes:
– Preferred DNS server: 2001:4860:4860::8888
– Alternate DNS server: 2001:4860:4860::8844
- Click OK to save your IPv6 DNS settings.
Launch Steam and resume your downloads. You should see an increase in the download speed.
13. Update Your Network Driver
Outdated network drivers can also contribute to slow download issues and downloads getting stuck. You must update the drivers regularly for interrupted connection and better network stability.
- Press Win + X and select Device Manager.
- Expand the Network adapters.
- Right-click on your network device and select the Update driver.
- Choose Search automatically for drivers.
- Follow on-screen instructions to update the driver.
If the issue persists, try reinstalling the network driver. To do this, right-click on your network device in Device Manager and select Uninstall device. Click Uninstall again to confirm. Then, restart your computer for Windows to install this driver automatically.
14. Reinstall Steam
If you are still struggling with your Steam downloads, completely uninstall and reinstall the Steam client. If you decide on this course of action, make sure to back up your Steam games to avoid losing your progress.
- Press Win + R to open the Run dialog box.
- Type appwiz.cpl to open Programs and Features.
- Right-click on Steam and click Uninstall.
- Tap on Uninstall again to confirm.
Restart your PC and then grab the latest Steam version from the official website. Install Steam, sign into your account, and start downloading your favorite games.
Wrapping It Up
Steam is the biggest source for PC gamers. While the platform works great, sometimes it can run into problems. If your Steam download speed suddenly drops to zero, start by inspecting your internet connection. Then, move on to other fixes like clearing the download cache, changing the download region, clearing the DNS cache, and changing the DNS server.
Reinstall Steam if none of the solutions work. Lastly, you can reach out to Steam support to get further help.