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Full Steam ahead: Valve kit out their client with new download options


If you’ve approached Steam in the last 12 hours you’ll have been asked to humour it for a couple of minutes while it turns itself inside out with a new client patch. Nothing new about that – but in doing so, you’ve ensured that it won’t update itself in quite the same way again.

Last night’s download, y’see, was all about downloads. And it’s introduced a couple of changes that ought to make life on Steam an awful lot more palatable.

You’ll finally be able to download games and their updates while another game is running. This’ll need to be okayed on a game-by-game basis, presumably in the name of maintaining performance in whatever you’re playing – but the option’s there.

Even better, if there’s a new update available upon starting up a game, you’ll now be asked whether you want to wait for it or plough on with the existing version. And the client will now delay Steam updates like this one until there are no games running. Sensible.

What’s more, download rates should have improved for users with “high throughput but high latency” connections. Perhaps that’s an issue you’ve been aware of. Perhaps it isn’t, and you’re about to receive an unexpected and pleasant reduction in your Christmas gaming wait time.

An array of other minor improvements await – particularly if you’re an early adopter of Big Picture mode or Steam for Linux, you proto-Steam Machinist, you. What stands out in the ginormous list below?


  • Add ability to limit what time of day Steam is allowed to automatically update apps
  • Add option to let other games download while a game is running (this is a per-game setting)
  • Add download regions for Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, and Ottawa in Canada
  • Add ‘Copy all text to clipboard’ context menu option in the System Information dialog.
  • Update group announcement notifications to link directly to the announcement instead of the group overview page
  • Delay the download of Steam client updates until there are no games running
  • On game launch, if there is an update available but we haven’t started downloading it yet, ask the user if they want to launch the existing bits or wait for the update.
  • Improved download rates for users with high throughput but high latency connections
  • Improved retry behavior when connecting to Steam servers
  • Improved download rates for internal app meta data
  • Improved in-game overlay compatibility for some DX10/11 games on Windows 8.1
  • Fixed the “Allow Steam Community in-game” checkbox getting incorrectly cleared
  • Fixed the “unread chat messages” action in the inbox opening chat windows with duplicate messages
  • Fixed hang on start-up if you had a problem connecting to the update server
  • Fixed cloud sync error when re-launching game right after game exited
  • Fixed base game being uninstalled in some cases if user hits ‘Cancel’ while installing additional DLC
  • Fixed Auto-Cloud for files larger than 100MB
  • Changed overlay xinput filtering to continue to filter for briefly on close so a button press that closes the overlay is not also seen by games

Big Picture

  • Added ability to opt into game betas and edit launch options
  • Added Inbox item under Linux if your machine requires a reboot due to OS level updates
  • Allow use of the up and down arrows on the Store description dialog
  • Fixed infinite loop of Cloud sync error dialogs on game launch
  • Fixed mouse cursor being visible during startup animation even if it hadn’t moved
  • Fixed some rare cases where a panel would draw stale content after a styles transition completed
  • Fixed loop in the UI if you navigated from an IM to the web, hit the Steam button to go back and then hit Done in the footer
  • Fixed password cap locks label not hiding when there was input in the password box
  • Fixed check for updates button not hiding in the case you had an update ready to restart into
  • Enabled key repeat on game controller controller buttons
  • Fixed the “open link in new tab” menu popping into the web browser context menu
  • Have the web browser select all text when editing the url entry and place the caret at the end of the selection
  • Don’t allow text selection on labels created by the dropdown control
  • Fixed All Games dropdown not showing custom categories correctly when selected
  • Fixed being able to restart Steam for an update before login


  • Fix paste pasting stale text.
  • Fix Ctrl+C/Ctrl+V in client-hosted web page text controls.
  • Fix incorrect foregrounding of a blank window in some -silent startup cases.
  • Fixed corrupt check box and radio button images on web pages
  • Fixed game controller hot-plugging not working
  • Fix runtime bootstrap rewriting so that if this process interrupted, steam is not left in an inconsistent non-startable state.
  • Fixed crash on linux if /proc/net/route isn’t available
  • Fixed missing cursor in Akaneiro when using the overlay
  • Fixed Steam failing to re-launch on shutdown if some open sockets took too long to close
  • The overlay now saves and restores the games gamma settings when invoked
  • Fixed overlay not displaying in some runtime configurations

Mac OS X

  • Show the correct error if we’re out of disk space during an update