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Whenever I launch a game using Steam, it always says, "Preparing to Launch ________________". What exactly is it doing?

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I'm guessing:

  1. Verifying the game is legit (DRM).
  2. Verifying the game is up-to-date.
  3. Verifying the requirements for the game (e.g. directx) are still met.

Although (3) should theoretically only be checked on the first run, I'm pretty sure it's actually checked on every run - I saw a few games that always show a brief "installing directx" line even after the first run. Maybe it is done to verify no hardware or software changes were made to the system that can break the game.

This is just a guess, though... if you want to know for sure, I suppose you can monitor the Steam process at the moment it is launched (e.g. with a network analyzer and some process monitor such as sysinternals).

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    As of 3 - user might uninstall the DirectX/MSVS C++ runtime support between game runs. Commented Sep 11, 2011 at 8:46
  • I'm pretty sure #1 is only done the first time you install and maybe once every 30 days after. Commented Sep 11, 2011 at 9:49
  • I rather think is does it once per session. When I launch a game for the first time of the day, the "Preparing" is much longer that the following launches?
    – Jupotter
    Commented Sep 11, 2011 at 10:22
  • @Shadur: As far as I know, that's only true if you're in Offline mode.
    – user2974
    Commented Sep 11, 2011 at 17:33
  • @Powerlord Ah, fair enough. Commented Sep 11, 2011 at 19:56

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