Does Steam still download when my PC is locked?

Steam has a massive game library, allowing users to play hundreds or thousands of games in their lifetimes. Some games take more space and will take longer to install; these games can take many hours to download, depending on your internet speed.

If a game takes more than a few hours to download, you might need to download it overnight. Usually, you can leave your device online, and it will keep downloading, but sometimes it may not stay turned on. If you have Steam open and lock your PC, it will keep downloading as long as it is powered.

Method – How to disable Idle shutdown

  • Open Window settings.
  • Press “System” to find power settings.
  • Press “Power & Sleep” on the left.
  • Change “Screen” to “Never.
  • Change “Sleep” to “Never.”

Content list

Does Steam still download when my PC is locked

You may need to lock your computer while using Steam; depending on the situation, you might need to download a game overnight or leave it for a few hours to come back to so you can play it later. Locking your computer may be the best choice as it leaves software open in the background, including Steam and other applications, and requires a password when you try to access it. This feature is primarily used as a security method if you are in a place with many people, so people cannot gain access to your device without knowing your password.

Some people may lock their PC while using Steam, so they may want to know if Steam continues to download during this period. As locking your PC keeps all software open as you left it, Steam will remain open and continue downloading for the duration. The only way that Steam will stop downloading is either your computer shuts down or your internet disconnects. While Steam will continue to download while locked, it will not download games in sleep mode, as it shuts down all programs in the background.

How to stop my PC from going to sleep

While Steam will keep downloading games or updates and functioning in the background, it can be interrupted by a few things. This could be things like the internet going down, your PC falling asleep, or you experiencing power loss. There is a method to prevent your PC sleeping on your device by going to the device settings.

How to stop your PC from going to sleep

  • Press the Windows key and find “Settings.”
  • Press “System” on the Windows settings page.
  • Click “Power & sleep,” then find the options “Screen” and “Sleep.”
  • Change these options to both say “Never.” This will stop your device and monitor from turning off after a specific time.
  • Once these are turned to “Never,” you can go back to Steam, set something to download, and lock your screen.

How to lock your PC

Once you have set the idle settings to never and don’t have to worry that your PC will turn off during your time away from your computer, you can get Steam to start downloading and lock your screen. Screen locking on a Windows device is a simple process that can be triggered with a shortcut. You will lock your PC if you need to go out for several hours but need to download. It would be better to lock it if you live with many other people so they cannot access your computer while away. Locking your computer will keep all your software open, meaning your download will continue.

  • Press the shortcut “Ctrl + Alt + Del.”
  • Press “Lock.”
  • Enter your password or pin to sign back in.

How to improve your download rate

After figuring out how to download games while locked, you may be interested in ways that you can improve your download experience on Steam. Trying any of these methods can increase or solidify your internet connection.

What can improve your download rate

  • How to remove the download limit
  • Use a Wired connection
  • How to clear the download cache
  • How to change the download region

How to remove the download limit

Steam has an option that can limit the amount of bandwidth that goes into your downloads; this option typically has to be enabled to take effect in the first place, but it is worth knowing how to access this.

Limit bandwidth

  • Start Steam.
  • Click “Steam” and press “Settings.”
  • Visit the “Downloads” tab.
  • The “Limit bandwidth” option affects how much internet goes into your downloads. It allows you to enter a number that will limit your downloads in the kb/s. Any changes made here can be saved by pressing “OK.”

Use a Wired connection

If you want to download games as quickly as possible, a wired connection should be considered as it can improve your connection by getting your internet directly into your computer. A wired connection can be more reliable than a wireless one as it provides a steady stream of information. Ethernet cables are recommended because of their speed and stability.

How to clear the download cache

If you try to download a game and realize the connection isn’t as good as it should be or doesn’t start correctly, you should clear your Steam download cache. Clearing the cache helps with most download issues by removing temporary files from downloads and refreshing your download. This is found in the settings we discussed accessing the download limit option.

Clear the download cache

  • Go to “Downloads.”
  • Click the option “Clear download cache” at the bottom.
  • Press “OK.”

Change your download region

Finally, I will discuss how the option to change your download region can benefit your download speed. Steam has access to hundreds of servers across the globe, and choosing the right one closest to you can give you a slight boost in download speed.

Go back to the “Downloads” page in the settings. Click the “Download region” box and choose a server close to you.

After making any changes here, press “OK” to save.


Some Steam users will want to know if using the lock screen function on a computer will affect their downloads. The answer is no; unless you run out of power or your internet goes offline, your Steam download will continue to download while you’re away from your device.

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