Six Years Later, Steam is Still Annoying

It’s been a year or so since I fired up Steam to actually try and play a game. Given that I help maintain multiple mods for Valve games, that might seem surprising.

I love the concept of Steam, I’ve had it installed since the early betas, and I hated the days of scouring for files like “10161100.exe” to update Half-Life 1. But the actual software is so mind-bogglingly annoying. I cringe when I hear Steam fanboys tout it as the shining jewel in content distribution.

To demonstrate, I recently got a desktop and decided to try playing a game I paid for on Steam. I downloaded Steam, installed it, and instantly got bombarded with stuff like this:

Steam Notifications

These three things would slide down, then three more would pop up. Rinse and repeat every few seconds. Really annoying. I have Steam Friends completely pref’d off on my laptop, but I guess Steam doesn’t sync account settings across computers. I’d rather not disable Steam Friends completely, but of the three options to disable notifications, none seem related to the ones up above. So I pref’d Friends off. The little messages kept coming though, until the whole list of notifications was exhausted.

Later I came back and tried to install a game. It said “Your Steam ticket has expired” and asked for my password. I typed it in, and nothing happened. The dialog disappeared but the game wasn’t downloading. I double-clicked the game to try again. It asked for my password again, but no-go.

I tried this a few more times, then restarted Steam. When it started back up, all of the icons were missing:

Steam - No Icons

Okay, that’s weird. I double-clicked the game again, and I still got the expired ticket dialog box. I typed in my password again, but this time selected “Remember my password”. The game didn’t start installing, but the icons appeared.

I tried installing again, and now I got a new dialog box: “The Steam servers are currently too busy to handle your request.” Huh? The next try got me back to the password entry dialog box because my “Steam ticket” had expired again.

I searched Google and found a Steam forum thread describing my problem. Another thread linked from comment #11 said to try deleting “ClientRegistry.blob”, and if that doesn’t work, reinstall Steam.

So I exited Steam, deleted “C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\ClientRegistry.blob”, and restarted. When I tried installing the game, I actually got a progress bar. By the time it had finished downloading I’d moved on to other things, but at least next time I’m in the mood to play a game on Steam, I know to delete random internal files.

This product… needs polishing.

37 thoughts on “Six Years Later, Steam is Still Annoying

  1. Darkimmortal

    Nothing like that (other than the notification spam) has ever happened to me :/

    My only major problems with Steam are the random CPU spikes (2-3% without any games or windows open) and abnormally high IO usage (coming in at 2nd after Diskeeper).

    Reply
  2. MaximusBrood

    In all actuality, clienregistery.blob is one of the most (in)famous files in Steam history; in the starting, buggy years of the application, deleting the file, launching steam and killing it at a specific point in the update cycle, enabled you to download and play any game for free.

    Reply
  3. drL

    Hi, I don’t want to bug you on email or anything, so I’m just leaving a comment here in the hope it finds you.

    I would just like to know if you would consider getting involved in porting csdm / cs:s dm for cspromod (www.cspromod.com)? Or if you could advice who to contact to attempt something like that (allied modders)?

    The approach for cspromod would be to have it as a game mode in the compiled in the source-code of the mod and not run it as a server/game hook, this would ensure maximum efficiency. I’m personally not part of their development team but do have Master in Software development and might get involved in a port myself (however my day-job is currently taking up most of my time).

    You could please contact their development team through their webpage, leave a post on the forum, or if you want to express your resentment to me personally, you can do so via vincent.drl at gmail dot com

    Best Regards

    Reply
  4. dvander Post author

    It is better to use e-mail for correspondence like this.

    That said, I’m sorry, but I don’t have any interest in this game or more ports of DM. If someone wants to submit a patch upstream, or ask for help in approaching the problem, I’m around to listen.

    Reply
  5. drL

    Thanks for the quick reply and I understand, afterall you have made it an open-source project so I bet they’ll manage. Thanks a lot for the great mods you’ve made so far.

    Reply
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