How to fix Steam Friends list black box in Windows?

Question

Issue: How to fix Steam Friends list black box in Windows?

After launching my PC today and opening Steam, I saw that my friend list is just a black box, along with messages that are sent from my friends. I can't see anything they write me and I can't see who's online. Any idea how to fix this?

Solved Answer

Steam, the world's leading digital distribution platform for PC gaming, offers a comprehensive gaming experience that extends beyond just playing games. It provides a social component through its Friends List feature, allowing gamers to connect, chat, and share their gaming experiences.

However, some Windows users encounter an issue where their Steam Friends List displays as black boxes instead of the typical interface. This issue also affects messages sent by friends, which appear as black boxes, hindering communication and disrupting the social aspect of gaming on Steam.

This problem can arise from several underlying causes. One common factor could be corrupted cache files within Steam. Over time, these cache files can accumulate and sometimes become corrupted, leading to display issues like the black box phenomenon. Another potential cause is outdated or malfunctioning graphics drivers. Since Steam's interface relies heavily on your computer's graphics capabilities, any issues with these drivers can directly impact how Steam displays content, including the Friends List.

If you're experiencing this issue, there are several steps you can take to address it. First, clearing Steam's cache can be a good starting point, as it removes any corrupted data that might be causing the display problem. Ensuring that your graphics drivers are up to date is also crucial. Outdated drivers may not support the latest features and updates of Steam, leading to display issues. Updating these drivers can often resolve the black box issue.

Additionally, the problem could stem from Windows itself. Occasionally, Windows settings or system files might conflict with Steam, leading to graphical glitches. In such cases, using a dedicated PC repair tool can be an effective solution. These tools are designed to scan, diagnose, and fix various Windows issues that might be affecting applications like Steam.

How to fix Steam Friends list black box in Windows?

For instance, FortectMac Washing Machine X9 PC repair tool specializes in identifying and resolving underlying Windows problems that could be causing the black box issue on Steam's Friends List, offering a comprehensive solution to ensure a smooth gaming experience. Before proceeding, make sure Steam is updated to the latest version.

Fix 1. Restart Steam with all its components

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Restarting Steam completely ensures that all components of the application are refreshed. This can resolve issues caused by temporary glitches or processes that didn't start correctly. It's a simple yet effective first step in troubleshooting.

  • Open the Task Manager by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc.
  • In the Task Manager, look for any processes related to Steam.
  • Select each Steam-related process and click End Task.
  • Wait a few seconds, then reopen Steam and check if the problem persists.

Restart Steam

Fix 2. Log out and into your Steam account

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Logging out and then back into your Steam account can reset your account settings on the client. This can sometimes resolve display issues by refreshing your account data.

  • Open Steam and click on your profile name at the top right corner.
  • Select Sign out of account from the dropdown menu.
  • Once logged out, log back in using your Steam credentials.
  • Verify if the issue with the Friends List has been resolved.

Sign out and back in

Fix 3. Clear Steam web cache

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The Steam cache can accumulate and sometimes become corrupt, leading to various issues, including display problems. Clearing the cache can resolve these issues by removing outdated or corrupt files.

  • Open the Steam app.
  • Go to Steam > Settings.
  • Select the In Game section on the left.
  • Scroll down to the Delete Web Browser Data section.
  • Click Delete.
  • Restart Steam.

Clear web cache

Fix 4. Delete the clientui folder

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The clientui folder contains files related to Steam's user interface. Deleting it can resolve issues with the Friends List display as Steam will create a new, uncorrupted folder upon restart.

  • Exit Steam completely.
  • Navigate to the Steam directory (usually C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam).
  • Find and delete the clientui folder.
  • Restart Steam, which will automatically create a new clientui folder.

Delete Steamui folder

Fix 5. Check if Steam servers are active

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If Steam servers are down, it can affect the functionality of the client, including the Friends List. Checking server status can confirm if the issue is on your end or Steam's.

  • Visit a website like DownDetector or Steam Status website to check if there are any reported issues with Steam servers.
  • If there are server issues, wait until they are resolved and try accessing the Friends List again.
  • If no server issues are reported, the problem likely lies within your local setup or network.

Check Steam server status

Fix 6. Run network troubleshooter

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Network issues can affect Steam's ability to display content properly. Running the network troubleshooter can identify and resolve these issues.

  • Right-click on Start and pick Settings.
  • Go to Network & Internet section.
  • On the right side, find the Advanced network settings section.
  • Click Network troubleshooter and wait.
  • The fixes will be automatically applied.

Run network troubleshooter

Fix 7. Update GPU drivers

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To repair damaged system, you have to purchase the licensed version of Fortect Mac Washing Machine X9.

For the all-in-one solution for your drivers, we recommend using DriverFix, which can quickly and easily install the latest versions of drivers for your system. Otherwise, proceed with the manual steps below:

  • Right-click on the Start button and select Device Manager from the menu.
  • Expand the Display adapters section.
  • Right-click on your graphics card and select Update driver.
  • Pick Search automatically for drivers.
  • If updates are found, allow them to install.
  • Restart your computer after updating all necessary drivers.

Update GPU drivers

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About the author
Gabriel E. Hall
Gabriel E. Hall - Passionate computer expert

Gabriel E. Hall is an expert troubleshooter who has been working in the information technology industry for years.

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