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My Steam client always waits for an hour+ to start downloading a game update: "Scheduled for 19:35". There is a button to force update though. Auto-updates are turned on for all games.

How can I make Steam download updates immediately without additional interactions?

Steam settings:

Steam settings

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  • Hmm, I've never tried looking for it, but I'm really surprised that it isn't an option in the menu you have a screenshot of. You would think that would be one of the more common download options.
    – JMac
    Apr 5 '18 at 16:08
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    Weird, mine just starts downloading updates on its own. I can check my settings tonight to see if I have something set differently.
    – Adam V
    Apr 5 '18 at 16:40
  • For some weird reason, Steam always schedules downloads for 3 AM, when my PC is supposed to be turned off. It's been like that for years.
    – Nolonar
    Apr 5 '18 at 16:46
  • 19:35 is a value specified somewhere. Maybe its environmental thing (e.g. provider parameter) and steam is smart to use it, to optimize downloading. Try to look for something what has it in windows settings and all other related programs/services.
    – user135338
    Apr 6 '18 at 15:24
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This isn't something that can be turned off (unless you manually do it per-game), and happens for two (main) reasons:

  • The game had some form of error occur while downloading, so it's been scheduled for a few minutes time to try again.
  • The game's update has just gone live - and steam cannot handle thousands of people all downloading it at the same time, so it staggers the various updates to ensure that everyone is able to get a fast and reliable download.

Official Source

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  • 9
    Except that the result is not "everyone" getting a fast and reliable download, it's "everyone" reliably not getting their download and having to manually trigger it every single time without fail.
    – TelFiRE
    Feb 2 '19 at 14:48
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    For me it just schedules for 6 am every time and obviously my computer is never on at 6 am.
    – DustWolf
    May 19 '19 at 21:31
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    My problem is I usually game with friends over weekend, and I am never exactly sure what games they will want to play (or which of my friends are likely to be online). However the updates are nearly always scheduled for Sunday, or Monday or sometime next week. My connection (the fastest residential option offered in my location) isn't fast enough to ask them what they want to play, and then start it downloading - it would take until after we are all asleep. As a result every weekend I have to force the update of all the games I might want to play on Friday morning.
    – Mark
    Jul 30 '20 at 22:26
  • @TelFiRE Two years late, but still - Steam is preventing a thundering herd. If every client in the world tries to download an update all at once, the servers will become overloaded and download speeds might drop to mere kilobits per second. Everybody will get the update extremely slowly and nobody will be able to play for hours. Meanwhile, right now, those who force the update can download it quickly and get playing almost immediately. Because everyone else in the world is not also downloading it at the same time.
    – Dev
    Jul 15 at 18:05
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    @Shiv Yes, it is a very awful user experience and I don't like it either. Steam is protecting themselves, though. Nothing much we can do about that.
    – Dev
    Oct 2 at 2:02
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For what it's worth, the best workaround I found is to scroll to the bottom of the update list and click "download now" for the bottom update. You can keep your mouse cursor in the same place and keep clicking "download now" for each update. Once you have gotten through the list, they will all be queued for immediate download.

I have an old gaming PC that I rarely use so there are always a ton of updates. This is how I get them to all run immediately. Hope this helps. It's not a fix, but I believe it is an effective workaround.

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  • That's the method I always use. Though, it's still quite annoying I am forced to do that, especially since all the scheduled times aiming at a crazy one, where Steam will be turned off, anyway.
    – Akito
    Apr 1 at 17:12
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The simple answer is you can't, it's a feature.

It's actually that steam only automatically downloads your most recent played games immediately. Other games are set for future update depending on how long ago you last played them. This started happening about 2+ years ago that I could recall. It's designed that way to relieve bandwidth on game updates.

EG: Path of Exile has a major season update each few months. I have it installed but no longer play it (like I guess a lot of people do with a bunch of games). It delivers the update to people who need it first. Mine is normally set to update days, even weeks later.

I do however wish they would add a "Download all now" button. I'm one of those people that clicks things to get rid of the notifications because they don't look neat/clean and I have hundreds of games installed at once, and clicking each update becomes annoying lol.

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