Steam Broadcasting Prevents Sleep

Published 2 minute read

I noticed my PC wasn’t going to sleep today, and decided to investigate.

Windows has a neat command you can run to find apps and drivers preventing sleep:

powercfg /requests

More on the powercfg command here.

Screenshot of terminal output showing Steam streaming microphone preventing sleep

Turns out Steam’s streaming feature (Broadcasting) is causing the issue, with audio drivers for capturing sound. I haven’t used that feature in years because I use Discord’s streaming, so I went ahead and disabled it in Steam’s settings.

That didn’t fix the issue though. I also tried using powercfg /requestsoverride for the drivers, but based on all the MS TechNet forum posts, it appears that flag has been broken for years.

What did work: Disallowing apps from using the device for audio in the Windows 11 sound settings. This is the same as disabling the sound device in the old control panel (which you can still access on 11, lol).

This new panel has some wonderful UX with the Allow/Don’t Allow button. At first glance, can you tell which one is the enabled state and which one is the disabled state?

Disabled:

Screenshot showing button with “Allow” label

Enabled:

Screenshot showing button with “Don’t Allow” label

Make sure to disable both the Steam Streaming Microphone and Steam Streaming Speakers devices.

Success:

Screenshot of terminal output showing no drivers preventing sleep

Alternatively, you could disable the drivers in Device Manager, but you’ll have to reboot afterwards.

Screenshot of Device Manager showing both Steam streaming microphone and speakers disabled

After a reboot and waiting a couple minutes, running powercfg /requests again shows all clear:

Screenshot of terminal output showing no devices or apps preventing sleep

However, as I experience regularly with the Nvidia sound drivers re-enabling themselves and trying to set my monitor as the default audio output after each driver update, I’m sure the Steam drivers will get enabled again whenever Valve decides to update them. It’s been 5 years though, so we’ve still got plenty of Valve Time before that happens.