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Steam is in a weird state. I have a game running, and:

  • it says "no connection"
  • it sort of thinks it's in online mode: the client menu has a "go offline..." option, which doesn't help - it requires restarting)
  • it sort of thinks it's in offline mode: the overlay says "Friends is not available in offline mode." and trying to install a game results in "Games cannot be installed while Steam is in offline mode."
  • the store loads
  • nothing else requiring a connection works - notably, the game I'm in where I should have just unlocked an achievement didn't actually unlock it.

I know I can fix this by just restarting (it's worked before) but this was a time-consuming achievement to get, and if I close the game it's gone, so I'd really like to coax Steam into reconnecting if at all possible.

I've found How can I get the Steam client to reestablish its connection? but the two solutions are restarting, and clicking "log in" from view friends list, which doesn't have a log in button for me. (It just shows a message: "A connection to the Friends network could not be established. Steam will automatically retry connection until the service becomes available." which does not seem true.)

shows a message

Going to community pages, from the main steam client or the overlay, appears to be attempting to connect ("Please wait -- Verifying login information...") but then fails ("Error -- There was an error communicating with the Steam servers. Please try again later.")

Is there anything else that might fix this?

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    My first inclination is to try the "go offline" options and see if that presents an obvious way to go back online. Second, I'd try going to the friends window, which sometimes has a "sign in" button on it. – John the Green Jan 17 '18 at 23:31
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    @JohntheGreen "Go offline" requires restarting steam. The friends window I already mentioned in the question doesn't have a button. – Cascabel Jan 17 '18 at 23:36
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    This may be related: github.com/ValveSoftware/steam-for-linux/issues/474 – Koraktor Jan 18 '18 at 5:11
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    @JohntheGreen You can change your online status in the friends window. I can't prove it, but I was under the impression that setting my status to "online" there led the connection being reestablished faster. – Sentry Jan 18 '18 at 10:28
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    @rovda The entire point of this question was to try to fix the connection without restarting Steam - I even said that I knew that restarting it would fix it. If you want to give advice about the numerous ways to increasingly thoroughly restart Steam, try another question? – Cascabel Jan 21 '18 at 23:25
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Sadly, I don't think there is another solution for on-the-go options. Steam actually should really reconnect itself when it's possible, but there is no way to force the process apart from restarting Steam. Losing connection has happened to me and letting it reconnect on itself worked for me. In my opinion you should focus on solving the problem, not working around it.

You could try reinstalling Steam on your rig, as mentioned in the comments, maybe something corrupted Steam files? You didn't mention in your question whether you have already tried this.

Some more insights you might want to consider:
• provide information on what OS this happens - maybe it's OS relevant?
• do you use any firewall/antivirus software? Check its settings, look for blocked ports and cross-reference them online to see what might be used by Steam, look in blocked files/quarantine if something from Steam wasn't blocked either
• does this happen when you do any specific action on randomly?
• does Steam launch in this state or does it happen some time after launching?

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