Anything and everything.
Steam(ing pile), part 2
I can hardly believe it’s been two years since I bitched about Valve’s Steam platform, but it’s that time again.
After playing Torchlight II for a bit this morning, I exited the game (and Steam) for a bit. A while later I restarted the client and received an indication that there was an update of 110 MB. The updater ran to about 73 MB and stopped, and shortly thereafter my wireless network appeared to lose connectivity.
Now this is not an usual occurance around here. Contrary to whatever claims they make, my ISP (Rogers) is complete garbage. My connection frequently and inexplicably drops out – this has been an on-going problem for years now. I actually had one of their phone reps tell me I needed to power cycle my modem every few days because “the logs get full”. With geniuses like this, it’s no wonder their network is garbage.
Queue the usual run-around – is it just me, is it my router, is it the modem, what? Well, it turns out that it was only my machine that had no Internet connection, everyone else’s was just fine. So I did the disconnect/connect dance and fired up Steam once more, and once more it tried doing the download. Again, at 73 MB it died.
So, generic solution #2: REBOOT!
This garnered a few more inexplicable, hair-pulling results. After the first reboot, instead of the Windows 7 login screen I got a oddly fuzzy white screen with a black strip running down the middle. I should have taken a photo of it, as I’ve never seen that before. Powering off and back on got me to the login screen, but I’d no sooner opened Windows Update than I got a blue screen. Rebooting into safe-mode and running NirSoft BlueScreenView showed a problem with the nVidia display driver.
Generic solution #3: driver updates! Never mind that my system has been running perfectly fine since I configured it in September of last year. So, I did a round of updates, including my graphics card (which was only a single driver release out of date anyway), wireless network adapter, wired adapter, and even my Intel RST drivers (I run a software raid as my boot drive).
Reboot many times, finally start Steam. Still stops at 73 MB. This time, I do the reconnect dance before the updater can complain of requiring an Internet connection, and after a brief delay it continues the process. I had to toggle my wifi one more time before it finished.
Finally, I get the Steam window up! And everything freezes! Yay! 10 seconds or so later, the Firefox window I’d clicked on finally raises itself, but once again I have no Internet connection. If I had to guess, I’d say the Steam client is burning all four cores and leaving Windows no room to do anything, but that should really be impossible these days.
- Yes, my drivers are up-to-date.
- Yes, my Operating System is up-to-date (Windows 7 x64, Service Pack 1, completely updated).
- No, I do not have any viruses or malware.
- No, my computer is not running anything obscure or uncommon.
- No, there is no problem with the hardware, either.
- This problem just started with the latest Steam update!
This absolutely does not make sense. How is a user-space program which is nothing more than a feature-limited web-browser and program launcher KILLING MY FREAKING NETWORK?!?!
So, while I continue the reconnect dance as Steam continues to try to download the 220 MB update to Half-Life (and I’m skipping ahead a bit, as I restarted the Steam client several times, and also uninstalled Steam completely, reinstalled and copied back my library (well, copied is wrong, as I use a symlink, but I digress), I decide to give the Steam forums a whirl.
Of course, this is going to require yet another freaking account, after the Steam account itself, and the account I made to use the Steam Support site.
So, make an account, link it to my Steam ID, browse a bit not find anyone complaining of my specific problem, hit New Thread and…
So basically I can’t post until some wanker gets off his arse and “activates” my account.
I said it before, and I’ll say it again: This one’s for you Valve!
Seriously, almost a decade after its release and Steam still doesn’t work properly? And then one has to jump through hoops trying to get some form of support, only to run into the Impassable Brick Wall of Freaking Stupidity in the end anyway.
In the end, the only “solution” I found was to disconnect/connect to my wireless network every time I lost connectivity. gg Steam. gg.
Because it makes me feel better, here’s the ticket I’ve put in:
The most recent “update” to the Steam client (that clocked in at 110mb, with an unskinned updater) has broken my ability to download content via Steam. In fact, the updater itself required several tries to get it to download the whole thing (via disconnect/reconnecting from my network before the updater complained about requiring a connection). Now, the client will download for a short while before completely screwing my network connection, killing *everything* and requiring that I disconnect from and reconnect to the network.
I shall be clear here: everything was working perfectly fine before this update! That’s said with a 285 GB SteamApps folder! Nothing has changed aside from the Steam client itself. I have completely updated both my system, and all drivers for my hardware. There is nothing uncommon or unusual in my setup.
On top of that, I tried to post to the forums, but apparently cannot until an admin gets off his butt and “approves” my account, never mind I’ve been a Steam user for years. Honestly, three logins related to Steam (Steam account, support account, forum account) is too much. This is ridiculous, and I’ve found the whole process of trying to resolve my problem with your jumped up web browser/program launcher to be entirely frustrating.
Update 2013/02/21: The problem was still there this morning, so I threw together the video now embedded at the top of this post. A short while later I tried again, and this time I managed to download the remaining gig of data without interruption.
I changed absolutely nothing, and everything has the appearance of working as it should be. The only thing I can think of at this point is that Steam really is a pile of garbage, like many on the ‘net claim, or (and I’m grasping here) that my ISP was sending something back down the line that was causing my network device to barf. That wouldn’t surprise me, as Rogers has admitted to tampering with what passes through the tubes. But at this point I have no freaking idea what’s going on.