How to fix Steam unpacking slowly

Valve has created a home to thousands of PC games (Image via Valve)
Valve has created a home to thousands of PC games (Image via Valve)
Brandon Moore

Many PC players use the Steam platform to grow their video game library. Unfortunately, with almost any digital product or platform, users face errors and issues. With so many popular games are releasing, one problem creeping its way back in is games and updates unpacking slowly.


Slow unpacking occurs when a player has a game pre-loaded and fully installed. This can also happen when a large update is pushed through for any title. There are a handful of fixes for this.

Fixes for the Steam unpacking slowly issue

Pause, unpack and restart

Sometimes the solution is as easy as stopping and starting again. Players often claim this has fixed the problem with the platform unpacking a pre-loaded game's files or update extremely slow.

While in Steam, right-click on the game and select to pause the unpacking process. Fully restart the program at that point and you may find the unpacking phase go at a normal speed.

Set priority to high

This is a solution if you are running multiple programs simultaneously. You can set Steam's priority high, forcing your system to shift more resources towards completing its tasks.

Open the Task Manager and go to the Details tab. Find the exe process for the program and right-click on it. Navigate to the "Set priority" option and hover over it with the mouse. A side menu will appear and you can click on High.

Free up space

Unpacking on Steam can take ages if there isn't enough space on your system. Ensure there is enough free space on the drive where the program is installed. This will help it unpack any files smoothly.

You can delete any files you deem unnecessary. This is entirely up to you, so go in and cut out any files or programs you aren't using anymore to help speed up the unpacking process.

Delete depotcache files

The final thing you can try to prevent the program from unpacking slowly is to delete the files in the depotcache folder. This folder may store extra and temporary data that isn't needed.

The most common path to it is C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\depotcache if your copy of the platform isn't installed in a different place. Delete everything there and the unpacking process will be slow no longer.

Edited by Srijan Sen


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