Last Year, I bought Grand Theft Auto IV on Steam (PC). After I installed it I played it for less that an hour, then I had to go out. The next day the game would not launch. The Launcher would appear, but when I press the 'Play' button, the loading cursor would appear for about 5 seconds, then disappear. No boxes would come up, and no related processes would be running. I have reinstalled the game several times since then but the same thing has happened ever since. I'm running Windows 7 64-bit.
Run as Administrator
First, completely exit Steam, and right-click on the shortcut which you use to launch Steam and select "Run as Administrator." This step may be enough to fix the problem. If not, continue below:
You may need to manually run secondary installers required by this game. Exit Steam entirely. Browse to your Grand Theft Auto 4 installation folder (Usually
C:\Program Files\Steam\steamapps\common\grand theft auto iv\)
You will need to run each of the following installers:
...\steamapps\common\grand theft auto iv\Installers\DirectX_jun2008\DXSETUP ...\steamapps\common\grand theft auto iv\Installers\DirectX_Mar2009\DXSETUP ...\steamapps\common\grand theft auto iv\Installers\vcredist_x86
Games for Windows Live
Also, install the latest version of the Games For Windows Live software, which can be found here: http://www.microsoft.com/games/en-US/Live/Pages/livemarketplace.aspx
Restart your computer and test the issue again. If you continue to have difficulty, run this installer:
...\steamapps\common\grand theft auto iv\GTAIV\Activation\SteamActivation
If your GTA 4 is not running anymore, download and install the Windows Live Client.
This solved it for me.