Steam Offline Mode 100% fix, and why it was broken for some.

Orin GA

I wish I could hat you to death
#1
Aug 21 UPDATE: Issue has been officially been fixed.

Because I still see that others still have problems with it.

http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?p=31953036

From Steam user: X.nano

"Alright, so I've seen a lot of misconceptions about how Steam's offline mode is supposed to work, and whether it actually does work. So I've put together this post to try and explain the main problems and how you can avoid them.

Myth: You must be online to use offline mode
Due to the Steam support article only giving instructions to use offline mode when you are already online, many people think that this is the only way to use it. Luckily, this is false, as an offline mode like this would be rather useless. If you start Steam without an internet connection you will be given the option to start in offline mode.

Fact: If you don't exit Steam manually, offline mode may not work.
Unfortunately, this may not always work due to a bug. When Steam starts in online mode, it modifies a cache file called winui.gcf. When Steam shuts down, it changes it back. However, if Steam is running whenand means the process is not given the chance to change the file backfile is not changed back. On startup, Steam detects that this cache was not shut down properly, and attempts to fix it. However, this process requires an internet connection, so if you are starting in offline mode, Steam will fail to open and will display this error message.

Myth: Offline mode works fine for me, so there isn't a problem!
Not everyone experiences this problem. I have found that on some computers, the cache file is not detected as damaged after a forced shutdown and offline mode will work normally. If you're one of these people, then you're lucky, but that doesn't mean it works fine for everyone else. Some people are also lulled into a false sense of security by testing offline mode after disconnecting from the internet. As they manually exit Steam before trying the offline mode, the cache file is shut down correctly and offline mode will work. Then when they actually need to use it, they find that it does not work.

How to ensure you can get into offline mode 100% of the time
1. Back up winui.gcf
Manually close Steam by right-clicking on the notification area icon and slecting Exit. Go into the Steam/steamapps folder and look for a file called winui.gcf. Right-click on it and select Copy, then right-click on an empty area of the folder and select Paste. This will create a file called winui - Copy.gcf. If you ever need to use offline mode and you encounter the problem, just delete the old winui.gcf file and rename the copy to winui.gcf before trying to start Steam again.
2. Exit Steam manually
As long as you remember to manually exit Steam before shutting down your PC you will always be able to use offline mode. Of course, there is always a possibility you may forget, so it is a good idea to make a backup as well as detailed above.
3. Disconnect from all networks
If you are connected to a local network, but not the internet, you may find that Steam hangs at the Updating Steam... dialog. To get around this problem, just disconnect from the network."
 
#6
Once you've downloaded a game via Steam, you should be able to click a shortcut to load the game directly. Steam shouldn't need to be loaded at all. That would solve the offline problems once and for all.
 
#8
problem is I shouldn't have needed to prep my steam to do all of this to activate a feature that should be working 100% of the time if I don't have internet.
 
#10
Once you've downloaded a game via Steam, you should be able to click a shortcut to load the game directly. Steam shouldn't need to be loaded at all. That would solve the offline problems once and for all.
That removes the drm which publishers never agreed on and it wouldn't allow games that require steamworks like TF2 to function.

Why exactly haven't they fixed this bug?
 

Htown

STOP SHITTING ON MY MOTHER'S HEADSTONE
#11
So there's a cache file that Steam opens on startup and closes on shutdown. If you don't shut down Steam before shutting down your PC, the file doesn't close correctly and appears to be corrupted when you next start Steam, so the client tries to repair it, which requires an internet connection.

Makes sense.
 

Orin GA

I wish I could hat you to death
#13
That removes the drm which publishers never agreed on and it wouldn't allow games that require steamworks like TF2 to function.

Why exactly haven't they fixed this bug?
No clue. Valve needs to give that guy a job.

So there's a cache file that Steam opens on startup and closes on shutdown. If you don't shut down Steam before shutting down your PC, the file doesn't close correctly and appears to be corrupted when you next start Steam, so the client tries to repair it, which requires an internet connection.

Makes sense.
Pretty much. The same thing happens with Non steam game shortcuts too. If you don't shut your PC down the right way or get a power outage your shorcut links for non steam games might get corrupted. At least the new ones will
 
#15
I've never had any problem launching Steam in offline mode, but it's a shame it isn't working like it should for so many people. Valve should fix this asap (who am I kidding, Valve doesn't know what that means)
 

Htown

STOP SHITTING ON MY MOTHER'S HEADSTONE
#16
Once you've downloaded a game via Steam, you should be able to click a shortcut to load the game directly. Steam shouldn't need to be loaded at all. That would solve the offline problems once and for all.
A lot of publishers put their own DRM on top of Steam. If they don't think Steam is sufficient, what makes you think they'll allow Valve to sell their game without Steam running at all?

The steps are pretty confusing to me.
Exit Steam before you shut down your PC.

If you want to be covered in case you forget, go to the Steamapps folder and make a copy of the winui.gcf file.

problem is I shouldn't have needed to prep my steam to do all of this to activate a feature that should be working 100% of the time if I don't have internet.
Exit Steam before you shut down your PC.
 
#17
A lot of publishers put their own DRM on top of Steam. If they don't think Steam is sufficient, what makes you think they'll allow Valve to sell their game without Steam running at all?
But you can already get pirated games for free if you wish, the fact you've paid using Steam means you're not a pirate so the DRM is pointless.

It's like the "Piracy is bad" trailers in the cinema. I'm in the cinema, I've clearly paid for my ticket! :|
 

Htown

STOP SHITTING ON MY MOTHER'S HEADSTONE
#20
But you can already get pirated games for free if you wish, the fact you've paid using Steam means you're not a pirate so the DRM is pointless.

It's like the "Piracy is bad" trailers in the cinema. I'm in the cinema, I've clearly paid for my ticket! :|
I agree.

Get game publishers to agree, and we're set.

Until then, I'd rather use Steam than the other forms of DRM out there.
 
#22
It would be nice if one journalist had the balls to ask Gabe when they would officially fix this.
Does it really take balls to ask about an incredibly minor feature that doesn't affect the majority of the people most of the time?

If I read an interview where a guy said "so, when's Steam's offline mode going to work 100% of the time," my first thought would not be how ballsy that was. I'd probably think "well, sounds like this interview is winding down."
 
#30
Yeah, if this is as straightforward as it sounds, Valve have had literally years to fix it. It doesn't sound too complicated at all to fix.
really? how would they fix this? other than reworking their drm system which doesn't seem like an easy fix.

i'm curious if mac users have this problem? sounds to me like it could be a windows issue?
 
#33
really? how would they fix this? other than reworking their drm system which doesn't seem like an easy fix.

i'm curious if mac users have this problem? sounds to me like it could be a windows issue?
ECHO "Checking Integrity of files for Steam Offline Mode, one moment please"

CHK winui.gcf

IF winui.gcf=BAD THEN DEL winui.gcf COPY winuibackup.gif RENAME AS winui.gcf.

ECHO "Integrity check completed. Offline Mode Activated!"

END
 
#36
According to the beta changelog a fix might be coming for regular users:

Steam Client Beta Available

There's a new Steam Beta client available. To access the Beta, go to File -> Settings. On the Account tab press the Change... button to open the Beta Participation dialog. Then Select "Steam Beta Update", and allow Steam to restart itself. Here are the specific changes:

- Fixed creating shortcuts for games with Unicode names
- Better Mouse Scrolling on Mac when using mighty mouse or trackpads
- New content system now supports preloading and shared content
- Grid view supports more kinds of PNG images (e.g. grayscale, grayscale with alpha)

8/13/2012

- Fixed back/forward buttons not working correctly when searching in the store or viewing workshop discussions
- Fixed accidentally deleting shared content (eg Quake 3 Area and Quake 3 Team Area)
- Fixed creating shortcuts for games with a “?” in their name
- Fixed finished preload getting stuck in “Preload suspended” state

8/14/2012

- Fixed tools appearing in games page
- Fixed “Open link in new tab” in overlay browser

8/15/2012

- Reduced disc load while updating games using the new content system

8/16/2012

- Fixed broken offline mode if Steam process didn't shutdown correctly
- Reduced disc usage while applying game updates
 
#39
ECHO "Checking Integrity of files for Steam Offline Mode, one moment please"

CHK winui.gcf

IF winui.gcf=BAD THEN DEL winui.gcf COPY winuibackup.gif RENAME AS winui.gcf.

ECHO "Integrity check completed. Offline Mode Activated!"

END
I suspect that winuibackup, while correct enough to *work*, isn't actually correct. It depends on what's actually in that.

That said, given it's in the cheangelog, that suggest that there's *enough* out there to reconstruct a valid winui.gcf
 
#40
I just moved today to a new place about 10 miles away. I made sure the last thing I did with my PC was start offline mode with steam and then shut it down. Works fine. Internet can't come soon enough though.
 
#46
It works. Steam did its usual bullshit to me the other day, but I had the winui file backed up and it fixed it.

Another thing to backup is the "shortcuts.vdf" file in the C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\userdata\[numbers]\config folder in case you have a lot of shortcuts to a lot of non-Steam games and they get erased.
 
#49
How about closing the freaking app when I click on X? That would've solved this problem no? Why the fuck does it minimize and still runs in the background when I click on the X button? Freaking lame.
 
#50
How about closing the freaking app when I click on X? That would've solved this problem no? Why the fuck does it minimize and still runs in the background when I click on the X button? Freaking lame.
What.

Because I want my friendlist? Because I might be running a game?

That would be a silly feature to implement.