How can I get Steam to stop downloading updates automatically as soon as an update is released for a game like CS:S?

It's just that I am running on mobile broadband at the moment and Steam loves to find the biggest update possible to waste my money when I'm on mobile broadband. I have right-clicked the game that updates and unticked the automatic updating.

Why is Steam downloading huge-ass updates even when I have told it not to?

  • is closing steam or going into offline mode not an option? surely you will not be playing games online while on mobile broadband?
    – Colin D
    Aug 23 '12 at 20:53
  • Bit late but hey... Honestly, Mobile broaband isnt as bad as you think it is for online gaming. I own a Minecraft server and I go to my static caravan every 2 weekends and I use it just fine for that along with other games like CSS and Gmod. People dont give mobile broadband enough credit Oct 23 '12 at 22:59

There is no generic setting in Steam that prevents updates

There is no generic setting within Steam that prevents game updates from automatically being downloaded. The only way to prevent auto-updating is to run Steam in offline mode - which will prevent you from playing Steam games online.

It is not possible to prevent Steam client updates from being downloaded while the client is in 'Offline' mode.

There is a per game setting, though...

There is a per-game setting which allows you to disable updates for individual games, which is accessible by right clicking on a game in your library, and selecting properties and choosing "Do not automatically update this game":

Individual game settings

It is worth noting that if you're playing a game on Steam, all Steam downloads are automatically paused unless you select the download option "Allow Downloads During Gameplay" (which is available through the Steam menu > Settings > Downloads category, at the bottom), so you shouldn't experience Steam downloading files while playing Steam games. Note that this setting will not prevent Steam from downloading updates when you're playing a non-Steam game.

Now there is a generic Downloads Restriction setting, too!

Under Steam > Settings > Downloads, there is now an option available that allows you to specify a specific time frame to download updates. If you know you're going to be using mobile data for a specific time frame, you could use this functionality as a workaround to ensure that updates are not downloaded during that specific time frame:

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  • 2
    It's worth noting that the "do not auto-update" setting is here since a few years, and didn't work properly for most of the time - it's not even clear if it works right now. The only safe way is to be in offline mode. Completely offline, as in - turn off your wireless network, pull the network plugs. Aug 23 '12 at 12:52
  • 2
    All this setting seems to do prevent Steam from checking for updates for Mass effect when Steam is started. This does not prevent Steam from installing an update that been release before Mass Effect is actually launched. It is my understanding that game updates and steam client updates are both required to be installed. You can choose when they are installed of course, unless you are trying to play a game, and an update has been released since the last time you launched Steam.
    – Ramhound
    Aug 23 '12 at 13:28
  • 7
    As mentioned - The only way to prevent auto-updating is to run Steam in offline mode
    – kalina
    Aug 23 '12 at 13:30
  • 1
    @deworde; Yes? How would it not be? Downloading generally seeks to maximise bandwidth usage, online netcode generally seeks to minimise it. If you're ever in a situation where online play is heavier on your connection than downloading a large file then you have some awful netcode.
    – Phoshi
    Aug 23 '12 at 19:04
  • 4
    This 'per-game' setting has since been removed from Steam. Any other ideas?
    – GnomeSlice
    Sep 10 '14 at 20:37

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