When you browse the Steam store via the Steam app in Windows, you basically get the same experience as if you were browsing the store via a web browser. That’s because the store within the Steam app is a web browser, albeit one tuned for Steam and automatically linked to your account.
But many users report that browsing Steam via the app is significantly slower than browsing it via a web browser on the same PC with the same Internet connection. If you’ve experienced this, the good news is that one common solution is to disable a Windows networking setting that you probably don’t need anyway.
Fix for Slow Steam Browser
To test out this potential solution for a slow Steam browser, start from your Windows desktop and use the Start Menu to search for Internet Options. Alternatively, you can navigate to Control Panel > Network and Internet > Internet Options.
Either way, a new windows labeled Internet Properties will appear. Select the Connections tab and click on the LAN Settings button at the bottom of the window. Next, uncheck the box labeled Automatically detect settings. Click OK to close the LAN Settings window and then OK again to save and close the Internet Properties window.
Now, completely quit and relaunch the Steam app to test your settings (to make sure the change sticks, you may also want to reboot the PC). There may be other reasons for a slow Steam browser — ISP issues, proxy configurations, modified hosts files, bandwidth quotas, etc. — but many users find that disabling the automatic detection of LAN settings results in a noticeable improvement in the Steam store’s in-app performance.
This is because this setting involves the automatic detection and application of proxy configurations and most Steam users, especially in home environments, don’t use a proxy server. Browsers like Chrome and Firefox have their own options for handling manual and automatic proxies, and they won’t waste time checking unless configured to do so. The built-in Steam browser, however, apparently relies on this Windows setting for its own proxy configuration and that means that every time you make a request within the browser — e.g., searching for a game, browsing reviews, opening a game’s screenshots — it has to take the time to check, over and over, for a nonexistent proxy server. When you disable this option, the built-in Steam browser acts just like your Web browser and stops wasting time checking.
Now, if you do have a proxy server that uses automatic configuration, don’t disable this option. If you do, you’ll likely lose connectivity to the Internet and your other network connections. If that happens, just head back to the Internet Properties window and repeat the steps to re-enable the automatic detection setting.