How to Fix Steam Unpacking Slow Issue [7 Ways]

When installing a preinstalled game, users might encounter the vexing problem of Steam unpacking slow process. It's important to note that this issue is not confined to specific scenarios and may surface in different contexts. This article delves into strategies to rectify and enhance the speed of the Steam unpacking phase.


By Hedy / Updated on January 29, 2024

Share this: instagram reddit

About Steam unpacking slow

The Steam community has witnessed a surge in user dissatisfaction with Steam unpacking delays. This challenge is particularly acute in two specific scenarios:

Case 1: Pre-installed games

When re-installing the game and getting the decrypted files, a bottleneck can occur if your computer's hard drive isn't running optimally over a fast network connection. As a result, Steam is stuck in the unpacking process for a long time after the download is complete.

Case 2: Game update

Although the game update is relatively compact, unpacking involves a lot of files. This results in a gradual unpacking process that sometimes requires a whopping 30GB of free space to accommodate a seemingly modest 200MB update.

Why is Steam unpacking so slow?

There are several factors that can cause Steam slow unpacking, common reasons include:

Game size: Unpacking time is directly affected by game size. Larger games, especially those with large files or high-resolution graphics, tend to take more time to decompress than smaller games.

Disk Speed: The speed of the hard drive or solid-state drive (SSD) plays a vital role in the unpacking process. Slow disks, especially fragmented disks, make it difficult for the computer to find necessary files efficiently, slowing down unpacking.

System resources: Running multiple applications simultaneously results in limited system resources that may hinder the Stream application process. Closing all other programs can help alleviate this limitation.

Network speed: Unpacking while downloading files or streaming videos online may cause network congestion and slowdowns, directly affecting the unpacking process. To increase speed, it is recommended to avoid concurrent activities that strain network resources.

Nonetheless, this article will delve into strategies to improve Stream unpacking speed and resolve related issues.

How to fix Steam unpacking slow issue - 7 ways

Way 1. Pause unpack or restart Steam

Without knowing the root cause, it's worth noting that some people claim to be able to fix Steam unpacking slow issues with simple actions. Some people report success by pausing and then unpausing the unpacking process. Others relieve stress by logging out of Steam, logging back in, or choosing to restart the Steam client entirely.

Way 2. Set Steam's priority to high

To increase Steam's speed, consider increasing its priority setting to High. Please follow these steps for guidance:

Step 1. Right-click on an unoccupied area of the Windows taskbar and select "Task Manager" from the context menu.

Step 2. Navigate to the Details tab. Find the Steam.exe program, right-click it, and select Set Priority > High.


Way 3. Delete files in Depotcache folder

To reclaim valuable storage space and resolve slow Steam unpacking issues, consider deleting unnecessary temporary data in the Steam "Depotcache" folder. In this order:

Step 1. Make sure Steam is closed on your PC.

Step 2. Access the following path: C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\depotcache. Note that this path may vary depending on your Steam installation directory.


Step 3. Delete the files contained in the "Depotcache" folder.

Way 4. Defrag HDD or optimize SSD

Resolving the performance differences between HDDs and SSDs requires different approaches, leading to this fix being split into two guides.

1. Defragmenting your hard drive

Follow these steps to defragment your HDD:

Step 1. In the Windows search box, type "optimize".

Step 2. Click on the Defragment and Optimize Drive icon to start the process.

Step 3. Select the desired disk and click "Optimize" to enhance performance.


2. Optimizing your SSD

Defragmentation is not a solution for SSD users. Instead, enable the TRIM feature to trigger the garbage collection (GC) process:

Step 1. Open Windows Search and type "cmd". Select Command Prompt and select "Run as administrator".

Step 2. Enter the following command and press Enter: fsutil behavioral query disabledeletenotify

Step 3. Check the command line to determine the TRIM status on the SSD.


NTFS DisableDeleteNotify = 0: TRIM enabled.

NTFS DisableDeleteNotify = 1: TRIM is disabled.

If TRIM is disabled, enter the following command to enable it: fsutil behavior set disabledeletenotify 0

Way 5. Ensure there is enough free space

For a seamless unpacking process, it's crucial to make sure there's enough free space on the drive where Steam is installed. If you don't want to delete the files and have enough free space on another drive, fixing this issue requires extending the Steam installation drive. AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional provides a convenient solution to easily expand your drive. Here is the guide:

Download Pro DemoWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Step 1. Install and open AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional. Right-click the D drive and choose "Allocate Free Space".


Step 2. In the new window, you can specify the space size and target partition. If it's C drive, you need to select C drive from the given list, and click “OK”.


Step 3. Now, you can see that the C drive has been extended. Then, click Apply to save the changes.


Way 6. Check the drive for errors

When you encounter file system damage or logical sector damage that hinders the normal functioning of your computer, AOMEI Partition Assistant can provide an effective solution to Steam unpacking preload slow by checking partitions. Please follow this guide for error checking:

Step 1. Choose a partition that you want to check, right-click it, and choose "Advanced"> "Check Partition".


Step 2. Select the way of checking errors to perform. As you can see from the following screenshot, there are three choices, simply choose the last one "Check whether there is a bad sector on the partition". Click "OK" to go to the next step.

Step 3. Click the "Start" button to check. It will display bad sector counts on the drive and the remaining time. You can also click the "Quick Check" to check bad sectors in a faster way.


Step 3. After the check process has been finished, you will find normal and damaged sectors are displayed.

Way 7. Upgrade to SSD

When experiencing Steam unpacking slow issues on HDD, upgrading to an SSD can significantly improve performance. If you decide to replace your HDD with an SSD and need to clone all the data from the original disk to the new SSD, AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional is a reliable solution. In this order:

Step 1. Run AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional, go to Clone > Clone Disk, and choose one way to clone the disk. The first option "Clone Disk Quickly" is recommended.


Step 2. Select your system disk as the source disk.


Step 3. Choose the SSD as your destination disk and check to Optimize the performance of SSD… to align the SSD partition.


Step 4. Here you can edit partitions.


Step 5. A Note about how to boot the operating system from the destination disk shows up. Remember it and click Finish.

Step 6. In the main interface, click Apply and Proceed to perform HDD to SSD clone operation.

Step 7. After that, replace the hard drive with a cloned SSD or change the boot order in BIOS to boot from the SSD.


Now, you know how to fix the Steam unpacking slow issue in 7 ways from this article. You can apply one of them based on your needs. As you can see, AOMEI Partition Assistant plays an important role in fixing a slow Steam. It’s a good idea to get such a program on your computer because it can also work as an SSD repair tool, bootable USB creator, password reset tool, etc.

Hedy · Staff Editor
Hedy is an editor of AOMEI Technology. She is very good at solving problems of partition management, and she wants to share all the problems she had already solved to users who met the same questions.