*FIXED* – Steam crashes when game is being backed up

by on Oct.19, 2012, under PC Gaming Commentary

Over the last few months, I’ve been plagued with persistent AppCrash errors when backing up Games within Steam. Checking the event log after the event invariably reveals a generic AppCrash caused by Steam.exe and Steamclient.dll

Given that I live in a Fascist state wherein our ISPs insist on restricting users to monthly download quotas, I’d prefer to store all my Steam games on-site rather then waste my allotment on repeated 5-10Gb game downloads off a Steam content server. A quick search of various forums revealed a number of proposed solutions however none of them worked for me, so I decided to perform my own investigation.

I took at look the Valve’s official Using the Steam Backup Feature knowledge base article and started digging through the steamapps and steamappscommon folders. I noticed that a few games that had been uninstalled still had remnant files and install scripts lying around that obviously weren’t needed anymore. I also hadn’t defragged my gaming hard-disk in quite a while, as it takes too long and I’d rather be gaming than staring at the seizure inducing visuals that most defragmentation tools tend to exhibit.

After a bit of fiddling, it turned out that acting on both of the aforementioned observations managed to resolve my Steam backup crashes. Here’s the process that ultimately worked (I also managed to replicate the results on a second PC):

  1. Shutdown Steam and make sure the the Steam process isn’t running in the background (sometimes it takes a while for steam.exe to terminate).
  2. Go to your steamappscommon folder inside your Steam installation folder and delete ALL folders for games that are no longer installed on your PC. In most cases these folders will be either empty or have remnant scripts and files therein.
  3. Defragment the hard disk that has your Steam folder on it (I used MyDefrag and selected the Defragment only script.)

Fire up Steam and Backup a game that was causing Steam to crash. Hopefully the backup will successfully complete and you can squirrel away your game collection onto that convenient NAS you have setup under your desk.


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