How to prevent Steam from updating games automatically

The Valve Steam platform client will automatically update any game or application installed in the cloud by default. If there is a network connection when you start Steam, or Steam is still running, updates will be installed if available.

While that is the most appropriate option for most users. Since game updates can introduce bug fixes, new features, performance improvements and other beneficial changes. The truth is that some Steam users may prefer to have control of the update process.

And there are several reasons to want to have control of updates on Steam:

To prevent bandwidth from being wasted when updating online games that you do not plan to play in the near future.

  • When it is known that game updates introduce unwanted problems or changes.
  • When bandwidth is required for other operations.
  • And when the device is connected to a fast or unlimited Internet connection only sometimes.

Recent versions of Steam block automatic downloads of updates or game files when one starts. It is possible to disable that in Steam settings so that downloads continue while you are playing your free games.

There is a warning to block automatic updates of free Steam video games, as some games may not work properly or not work at all if they are not updated. This is the case of most multiplayer games, but some single player games could also present these types of problems. Especially if they require an online connection.

How to control automatic Steam updates

First you have to give you the bad news: the Steam client does not offer settings to activate automatic updates for all games. While that sounds bad, especially if you have hundreds of games in your library, it’s really not that problematic. Since you might want to change the automatic update behavior for installed games anyway.

Still, there is an option to limit automatic updates to a specific time of day.

1.- Limit automatic updates on Steam worldwide

The first option enables download restrictions for automatic updates. To access the option, select View; then in Settings and finally in Downloads on the Steam client.
There you will find an option to limit automatic game updates to a specific time. Simply check the option “Only automatic update games between” and select an interval of 1 hour, preferably at night.

Steam will update the games only in the selected period and not otherwise. The “limit bandwidth to” option may also sound useful, but it affects all Steam downloads, not just automatic game updates.

2.- Disable automatic updates for individual Steam games

Just a right click on any game in the Steam library and in the selection of properties. Open the game settings page.
Switch to the Updates tab in the interface that opens. The first option on the page, automatic updates, controls the update behavior of that game.

The default is “keep this game always up to date”. A click on the menu shows the two additional states “Update this game only when you launch it” and “high priority: automatically update this game before others”.

Selecting the “update only .” option blocks automatic game updates unless you start the game. The disadvantage of this is that you may have to wait for an update available to download if you plan to play a specific game.

The same goes for Fortnite video games, which automatic updates will be disabled, but if you need to install one, you may need to reconfigure Steam so you can install them.

3.- In the console, temporarily disable updates

The following option disables automatic updates for any game installed during a particular session. It requires that you open the console on Steam and execute a command on it. And Steam must be disconnected while executing those commands.

  1. Now, type steam: // open / console in any web browser on your system and accept redirection to the Steam application. This should open the console in Steam.
  2. Then, type @AllowSkipGameUpdate 0
  3. And then type @AllowSkipGameUpdate 1
  4. Alternatively, go to your Steam program folder, for example, c: program files (x86) Steam steamapps. And edit each acf file you find there (one for each installed game). Use Notepad or another plain text editor for that and edit the variable.
  5. AllowSkipGameUpdate to 1 to block automatic updates.

And in these simple steps, you will have the system set up so you can play your free video games without annoying updates. You can also play your PS4 video games without updates that may delay the start of such games.