Tech

3 Ways to Stop Steam Web Helper From Using All Your RAM


Steam does a lot, aside from just storing your games. Sometimes, it does too many things, making your system slow down. So, have you noticed this happening to your computer? Or are you getting errors saying you’re running out of memory when using Steam?


Let’s see what we can do about that.


Why Does Steam Use So Much Memory?

screenshot of steam client webhelper instances

Steam is made up of several components. Its most popular components are its download manager and games list, but it has several other features, and all of these other features run off the Steam Client WebHelper. This is essentially an internet browser that Steam manages. Every store page, friends list, and chat window create a new Steam Client WebHelper instance.

On top of consuming plenty of memory in the long run, too many of these instances can even impact your CPU performance. Thankfully, there are a few solutions to having too many WebHelper instances running.

1. Use Offline Mode

screenshot of steam selecting the go offline option

One way to prevent internet-connected browsers from launching is to run Steam in offline mode. You can do this by hitting Steam from the main screen and pressing Go Offline… from the drop-down menu.

This has limitations, such as being unable to download new updates or connect online to certain games. You should read up on Offline Mode for Steam before you decide to go for this method.

2. Launch the Steam Mini Games List

screenshot of the steam mini games list

When you launch Steam, it connects to the internet at several points. The app’s most memory-intensive processes occur when it connects to the latest news and developer blogs.

Thankfully, there’s a way around this without having to go offline—it’s called the Mini Games List. This launches Steam, but instead of opening all services, it only shows the games on your computer in a small window. Here’s how to open it:

  1. Open the Windows Run dialog.
  2. From there, input the following string of text:
    steam://open/minigameslist
  3. Hit enter. This will change the size of your Steam window, forcing it into a vertical slice rather than the more feature-full rectangle that Steam usually defaults to.

This alone will cut down on several instances of the Steam Client WebHelper. To return to the default Steam look, select any option under the View menu.

3. Create a Custom Batch File for Minimal Steam

screenshot of minimal steam

While the previous solutions can help regain a little memory, you might need something more substantial if you’re struggling to run Steam on your system.

Thankfully, there exists a combination of commands to completely strip Steam of its ability to create Steam Client WebHelper instances. There are too many commands to easily enter at once, so instead, we’ll make a batch file for it.

To create our batch file, head over to the Steam installation directory. This is the same place where steam.exe can be found. Once there, follow these steps:

  1. Create a new .txt file within the Steam directory.
  2. Paste the following commands into the .txt file:
    start steam.exe -dev -console -nofriendsui -no-dwrite -nointro -nobigpicture -nofasthtml -nocrashmonitor -noshaders -no-shared-textures -disablehighdpi -cef-single-process -cef-in-process-gpu -single_core -cef-disable-d3d11 -cef-disable-sandbox -disable-winh264 -cef-force-32bit -no-cef-sandbox -vrdisable -cef-disable-breakpad
  3. Rename the .txt file. Change the .txt extension to .bat.

Ensure that Steam is closed, and then open this .bat file. Steam should launch, looking very similar to the Steam Mini Games List from earlier. This version of Steam is extremely bare-bones. You will be unable to view friends, visit the store, organize screenshots or check out the news, but you’ll be able to run Steam on essentially anything this way.

Steam may crash in certain circumstances using this configuration. If this is a problem, remove the command -cef-disable-breakpad from the batch file.

Go Bare Bones With Steam

Steam has some great features, but not everyone needs them. If all you want out of Steam is a way to view and manage your games, and you don’t care for the social features, then consider some of the above methods. You might be surprised by how little Steam needs to work.

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