What is “Steam Client Bootstrapper” and How To Fix High CPU

The Steam Client Bootstrapper app should run in the background. Its purpose is to replace files which are missing, and also download updates and install them.

You should not find it taking up many system resources or affecting your PC. Of course, while updates are actually downloading or installing, you will experience more of a CPU load.

Some users say however that the Steam Client Bootstrapper app seems to be taking up too many resources even during Steam being idle and this also happens when Steam is closed.

There are several ways to tackle this issue if you find yourself having this same problem with Steam Client Bootstrapper.

Reasons the Steam Client Bootstrapper Might Cause High CPU

Steam Client Bootstrapper High CPU
Steam Client Bootstrapper – High CPU

There are a number of different reasons why this app might be taking up a lot more system resources than it should. See which of the following matches what you are experiencing:

Reason #1: Steam Overlay

This can be risky to use because a lot of games can become unstable if you use this overlay. Sometimes it even affects Steam itself, so ensure it is disabled.

Reason #2: Default Windows Set to Store

Steam Client Bootstrapper High CPU - Steam Library
Make Steam Library Default

Does your Steam client open up the Store tab when you open Steam? If so, try changing it to Library. This might sound like a strange way to fix the issue, but it might work.

Reason #3: Changing Skins

Steam Client Bootstrapper High CPU - skins
Don’t use fancy Steam skins

If you use a different skin on the Steam client, this can make the CPU have an issue with Steam Client Bootstrapper, so try resetting it back to the original one and see whether that helps.

Reason #4: Red Shell Spyware

Steam Client Bootstrapper High CPU - red shell spyware

This is a type of spyware which was installed in the past with some Steam games. The problem is solved now but it is possible the spyware might still be on your system, slowing your computer down by gathering data.

Also read: What is “Steamworks Common Redistributables”?

How To Fix Steam Client Bootstrapper High CPU

Let’s take a look at how to fix high CPU caused by Steam Client Bootstrapper process.

Fix #1: Disable Steam Overlay

Steam Overlay has been known to cause excessive CPU usage when playing a game. Although it’s true this overlay can be helpful for some in-game features, you might like to disable it for Steam’s current version if it is being problematic.

This is how to disable Steam Overlay:

Fix Steam Client Bootstrapper High CPU - Steam Overlay
Disable Steam Overlay
  1. Double click Steam on the desktop
  2. If it isn’t there, you can search for it using the Start menu (if you’re using Windows 10 you can use the search bar or Cortana, on the bottom left of your screen)
  3. Once Steam opens, click Settings
  4. Go to the in-game tab
  5. Check Steam Overlay at the top of the window
  6. Now uncheck it to disable it then press OK
  7. Click Steam at the top left of the client then Exit (don’t do this by pressing the X at the top right corner because that will just minimize the app)
  8. Open Steam again
  9. Launch a game and see whether you still experience the high CPU issue

Fix #2: Make Library the Default Window

Sometimes Steam Bootstrapper Client uses a lot of CPU if your default window is Store but lowers back down again if you change it to Library. If your default is set to the Steam Store, follow these steps to change it:

Fix Steam Client Bootstrapper High CPU - Steam Library Default
Make Steam Library Default
  1. Double click Steam on the desktop or look for it and open it using the Start menu
  2. Once it is open click on Settings
  3. Click on ‘Select which Steam window appears when the program starts’
  4. Choose Library instead of Store on the menu
  5. Click Steam at the top left of the client and click Exit
  6. Now open Steam again, launch a game and see if this fix has worked

Fix #3: Put the Client Skin Back to Default

Occasionally a high CPU usage with Steam Bootstrapper Client is caused by changing the default skin used in the client.

Although changing the skin can be fun if you like personalization, it can negatively affect the functionality and stability of Steam. This is how to put the original skin back in place:

Fix Steam Client Bootstrapper High CPU - Steam Skin
  1. Double click Steam on the desktop or look for it and open it using the Start menu
  2. Once it is open click on Settings
  3. Click on Interface
  4. Select ‘default skin’ from the menu that appears
  5. Click Steam at the top left of the client then click Exit
  6. Now open Steam, launch a game and check if this solution worked

Fix #4: See Whether the Beta Steam Client is Better

It might be worthwhile trying the Beta client until the time Steam gets around to fixing new update issues. If you do experience other problems by doing this, or if it doesn’t work for the high CPU load issue, you can easily opt out later.

This is how you get the beta Steam client:

Fix Steam Client Bootstrapper High CPU - Steam Beta
  1. Double click Steam on the desktop or look for it and open it using the Start menu
  2. Once it is open click on Settings
  3. Click on Account
  4. Click Change under Beta participation
  5. In the new window, click the drop down menu
  6. Select ‘Steam Client Candidate’
  7. Click Apply
  8. Click Steam at the top left of the client and click Exit
  9. Now open Steam, launch any game and check to see if this solution worked

Also read: How to Fix Steam Content File Locked Error?

Fix #5: Look for Red Shell Spyware

This spyware shares data on your computer with various third parties, and used to get installed with some Steam games. Although the problem has largely disappeared since then, it’s possible the tracker remains on your computer. The way to get rid of this issue is to make a script that blocks the host file’s tracker.

This is how to do that:

  • Click Start
  • Look for File Explorer Options then open it
  • Go to the View tab
  • Check the radio button under Hidden Files to ‘Show Hidden Files’
  • Click OK
  • Open the Notepad app
  • If you can’t find it, press the Windows key and R then type in: notepad.exe
  • Copy and paste this into Notepad:
@echo off
set hostspath=%windir%\System32\drivers\etc\hosts
echo 0.0.0.0 redshell.io >> %hostspath%
echo 0.0.0.0 api.redshell.io >> %hostspath%
echo 0.0.0.0 treasuredata.com >> %hostspath%
echo 0.0.0.0 api.treasuredata.com >> %hostspath%
echo 0.0.0.0 in.treasuredata.com >> %hostspath%
echo 0.0.0.0 cdn.rdshll.com >> %hostspath%
echo 0.0.0.0 t.redshell.io >> %hostspath%
echo 0.0.0.0 innervate.us >> %hostspath%
echo Host file edited.
pause
exit
  • Press Ctrl and S to save it
  • Use script.bat as the file name and ensure ‘Save as type’ is set to All
  • Save it wherever you like
  • Find the file, right click it and select ‘Run as administrator’
  • See whether this has fixed the issue

Fix #6: Repair the Steam Service

This fix can reduce CPU usage and is a useful if you are having issues with the Steam Bootstrapper Client.

This is how to fix the Steam service:

  • Press the Windows key and R (this brings up the Run dialog box)
  • Type in the following command, then press Ctrl and Shift and Enter to get administrator access: C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\bin\SteamService.exe” /repair
  • Now see if Steam works normally again
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