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How to run games in safe mode on Steam on Windows 10

Games are complex apps but apps nevertheless and like any app, they can run into problems. Much like many apps have a safe mode e.g. Outlook, games on Steam have one too.

The safe mode for games allows users to run the game in its most basic, stripped-down version. In this mode, users can troubleshoot the game for things like a constant drop in FPS, failure to load, lag, screen tearing, etc, by going through its settings. 

Safe mode is also useful if you’re trying to play an older game on a newer system. The game may not have been updated to run on the hardware you have and playing it in safe mode will give you a better gaming experience.

Games in safe mode on Steam

You can run any Steam game in Safe mode. The process is the same. Some games may offer an option to run in safe mode when you click play but you can always force it with a simple switch.

Note: the game must be installed/downloaded to your system. If the game is on an external drive, you must connect the drive before you proceed.

  1. Open Steam.
  2. Go to Library.
  3. Select the game you want to run in safe mode.
  4. Right-click it and select Properties from the context menu.

  1. Go to the General tab.
  2. Click Set Launch Options.
  3. Remove everything in the bar and enter -safe.
  4. Click Ok and close the properties window.
  5. Play the game and it will launch in safe mode

Exit safe mode

To exit safe mode or to prevent the game from running in safe mode again, follow these steps.

  1. Open Steam.
  2. Go to Library.
  3. Right-click the game and select Properties.
  4. Go to the General tab.
  5. Click Set Launch Options.
  6. Remove the -safe switch from the Launch Options field.
  7. Click OK, and close the properties window.
  8. Run the game and it will run normally.


When you run a game in safe mode, it may take longer to launch. The larger the game, the longer it can take to run. Once it’s running you can change its setting and you will be able to play it without any trouble. 

If a game fails to run even in safe mode, try to verify its files. If they are corrupt, Steam will download them again and repair the game. There is a chance that it may not work in which case, you might have to uninstall and reinstall the game.

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