On Steam Tech Support

So I’m a big fan of tech support in general. Lots of really good people work this frustrating job, and I’m used to the fact that they’re going to do things like assume I’m an idiot and ask if I’ve turned the device off then on again, because a) they have to, and b) most people ARE idiots. or functionally close enough with technology, anyways.

But Steam’s tech support no longer gets the benefit of the doubt on this issue any more.

Before I go any further, you should know the history of my tech support woes with Valve, and why it was a definite last resort this most recent time.

Here’s the extract of a couple prior encounters (unedited, except for personal information – italics and bold added in post-production- ^^):

1 Message by you on Sat, 5th Jan 2013 2:26 pm

I just purchased borderlands. Every time I try to install, is gives me an invalid install path error
 
 

2 Message by Support Tech ***** on Mon, 7th Jan 2013 4:12 pm

Hello *********,Thank you for contacting Steam Support.I see that you’ve logged in and played the game since this message. Please let us know if you still require assistance.

This was because I’d figured it out by myself, not because of anything on the steam site, but on a separate forum unaffiliated with either software producer. But whatever. 

Another episode:

1 Message by you on Thu, 17th May 2012 10:05 pm

Failed to upload file! Error 16.
Just wondering what this error code signifies, if there’s a fix for it, and if it’s originating on your end or mine. Thanks in advance!*supplemental info: this error occurred while trying to republish a previously published Portal 2 perpetual testing initiative map. It and my other maps had somehow unpublished themselves from the workshop when I didn’t play the game for a while… I’m a little confused by both of these problems. Any help would be appreciated so I can keep on contributing to the community! Thanks again,(signed)
They sent me an auto response 24 hours later to inform me that they would respond via e-mail…. I didn’t quite catch that it was an auto response.

2 Message by you on Fri, 18th May 2012 8:58 am

Thank you for your quick reply time, but telling me in an e-mail that you’ll respond by e-mail seems like it’s a bit of a wasted effort to my mind. I’d rather hear something pertinent to the issue I’m having with the game.Sent from my iPod
 
 

3 Message by Support Tech ****** on Fri, 18th May 2012 9:26 am

Hello ******,Thank you for contacting Steam Support.If you are having issues with the Portal 2 Puzzle Maker please visit the following link:http://www.thinkwithportals.com/puzzlemaker/compile_error.phpAny errors that cannot be solved by the above link should be e-mailed to:
puzzle_error@valvesoftware.comIf you have any further questions, please let us know – we will be happy to assist you.
 
 

4 Message by you on Fri, 18th May 2012 4:47 pm

Thank you for your quick response!
However, the help page you linked me to deals with build errors, and I’m not having build errors. My maps build and play just fine, consistently, locally. 
In addition, they all managed to be published at one time, and were playable by friends in different locations with other computers. I don’t have any tools or programs installed other than the ones included in the game install. 
This is what’s happening: ever since I logged on I think about two nights ago, my puzzles show as local and won’t publish to the workshop, showing the error message that I made my title for the bug ticket, or sometimes ‘Failed to publish file! error 10’. This link you sent has absolutely nothing to do with my problem, and I’d appreciate it if you could give me anything that actually deals with the specific problem I have. I’m cc-ing this to the e-mail address you listed, and wait in anxious anticipation for your replies.

There was no response from the e-mail address tech support gave me, or from tech support themselves, and the ticket was closed the next day.

Now that you’re up to speed, let me show you the most recent set:

Monday I had an issue (potentially with Flash) that caused steam to crash after finishing  its most recent software update. Okay, so no problem. These things happen, after all.

I troubleshooted (troubleshot? What is the correct phrase here?)  the problem myself with the support website articles, but got nowhere, and not for lack of trying – these support articles had me messing with protected folders on my computer, altering other programs’ settings, and more – some of which I was very uncomfortable doing, since while I’m competent with technology, I know my limits.

Nothing worked.

So I (reluctantly, and with dread) submitted a ticket to Valve tech support.

1 Message by you on Mon, 18th Mar 2013 6:08 am

I haven’t had many problems with Steam up until now (at least not THIS  kind of error, at any rate) – but since the most recent update, Steam gives me an error message that reads “The Steam Servers are too busy to handle your request for Counterstrike: Global Offensive. Error Code:53” Now I should hope your servers aren’t too busy to accommodate the update your programmers designed, and the error code info doesn’t match the support info in the article (for that error code). I’ve checked, and I”m not running any of the programs that it says to uninstall or disable, So I’m pretty cheesed – and clueless. Anticipating your prompt reply,
(Signed)
 
 

2 Message by you on Mon, 18th Mar 2013 6:17 am

As a side-note, this only seems to be an issue for CS:GO and Portal 2, as I’ve tried a couple other games (L4D2, Borderlands 2) and they seem to function just fine. I don’t understand this.
 
While I was waiting for a response, I checked on the text-version of the error code, and found some different instructions for troubleshooting hidden away. I followed them (which meant checking for a laundry list of potentially conflicting programs, uninstalling and reinstalling steam, and more) – all to no avail. So I went back to keep the putative and so far imaginary being on the other end of this ticket apprised of my actions, and added this to the ticket: 

3 Message by you on Mon, 18th Mar 2013 6:36 pm

Followed support for the text error (as opposed to the error code) and here’s what happened after THAT fiasco… 
 (this is a minidump of the error that is now occurring, in addition to the original error…. *sigh*)
[2013-03-18 19:33:39] Startup
[2013-03-18 19:33:39] uninstalled manifest found in C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\package\steam_client_win32.[2013-03-18 19:33:39] Package file strings_all.zip.0ac8a5ee6109442a89a364c43b4f3bf250a41067 missing or incorrect size[2013-03-18 19:33:39] uninstalled manifest found in C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\package\steam_client_win32.[2013-03-18 19:33:39] Package file strings_all.zip.0ac8a5ee6109442a89a364c43b4f3bf250a41067 missing or incorrect size[2013-03-18 19:33:39] Verifying installation…
[2013-03-18 19:33:39] Verification complete
[2013-03-18 19:33:39] Downloading Update…
[2013-03-18 19:33:39] Checking for available update…
[2013-03-18 19:33:40] Package file strings_all.zip.0ac8a5ee6109442a89a364c43b4f3bf250a41067 missing or incorrect size[2013-03-18 19:33:40] Downloading update (0 of 4,950 KB)…
[2013-03-18 19:33:40] Downloading update (113 of 4,950 KB)…
[2013-03-18 19:33:40] Downloading update (418 of 4,950 KB)…
…..
[2013-03-18 19:33:50] Downloading update (4,855 of 4,950 KB)…
[2013-03-18 19:33:50] Downloading update (4,950 of 4,950 KB)…
[2013-03-18 19:33:50] Download Complete.
[2013-03-18 19:33:50] uninstalled manifest found in C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\package\steam_client_win32.[2013-03-18 19:33:50] Error: Corrupt package file (C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\package\strings_all.zip.0ac8a5ee6109442a89a364c43b4f3bf250a41067)[2013-03-18 19:33:50] uninstalled manifest found in C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\package\steam_client_win32.[2013-03-18 19:33:50] Package file strings_all.zip.0ac8a5ee6109442a89a364c43b4f3bf250a41067 missing or incorrect size[2013-03-18 19:33:50] uninstalled manifest found in C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\package\steam_client_win32.[2013-03-18 19:33:50] Package file strings_all.zip.0ac8a5ee6109442a89a364c43b4f3bf250a41067 missing or incorrect size[2013-03-18 19:33:50] Shutdown

Two days later, I got this response:

4 Message by Support Tech ******* on Wed, 20th Mar 2013 7:43 pm

Hello ******,Thank you for contacting Steam Support.Please exit Steam and go to the folder called C:\Program Files\Steam\ (this is the default location for a Steam installation – if you set a different installation directory, you will need to browse to it).Delete all of the files in this folder except:– \Steamapps\ and \Userdata\ folders– Steam.exe (this file is listed as an application and features the black and white Steam logo)Restart your computer.Then, launch Steam.exe from within the Steam installation folder, and not from a pre-existing shortcut. With Steam running, re-test the original issue.Note: This process will not affect your currently installed games.If the issue persists, make sure your network is optimized for Steam:Title: Troubleshooting Network Connectivity
Link: http://support.steampowered.com/kb_article.php?ref=1456-EUDN-2493Please follow all suggestions in this article, even if your network appears to be functioning correctly.

And this is what I had to say in reply. It. Ain’t. Pretty. All italics and bolding effects below are reproduced here verbatim.

Re: >”Thank you for contacting Steam Support.

>Please exit Steam and go to the folder called C:\Program Files\Steam\ (this is the default location for a Steam installation – if you set a different installation directory, you will need to browse to it).

>Delete all of the files in this folder except:

>- \Steamapps\ and \Userdata\ folders

>- Steam.exe (this file is listed as an application and features the black and white Steam logo)

>Restart your computer.

>Then, launch Steam.exe from within the Steam installation folder, and not from a pre-existing shortcut. 

>With Steam running, re-test the original issue.

>Note: This process will not affect your currently installed games.
Did that. Read my posts on the ticket, please.  I was zealous in copying over any information I thought might be helpful, and following any instructions I could find on your support database. Don’t respond unless you have a clear understanding of what I’ve already done – it saves my time, which I am not being paid for, and yours, which your bosses are paying for.
And FYI, a two day turnaround in response on a pressing issue affecting every game I have ever bought from you does not qualify as excellent customer service.
 
Re:>”If the issue persists, make sure your network is optimized for Steam:

>Title: Troubleshooting Network Connectivity
>Link: http://support.steampowered.com/kb_article.php?ref=1456-EUDN-2493

>Please follow all suggestions in this article, even if your network appears to be functioning correctly.

Yeah, that would have been nice to know about, oh, two days ago, or even six hours ago before I gave up and re-installed windows, losing valuable data and programs because I failed to do something I should not be expected to be able to do – troubleshoot Valve’s software for bugs. 
 
I’m an end user – I’m not paid to troubleshoot. I pay Valve for functional software, and when it breaks down (and it will, because gremlins), I’m supposed to let you guys, the ones Valve pays, come up with a fix. That’s why they pay you. To help people who didn’t get a degree in software engineering fix the inevitable bugs in the software that are un-fixable by anyone without that type of degree. 
 
So since I had to troubleshoot the damned problem myself (which may or may not re-occur, because idfk that it won’t, I’m not an IT professional) and re-install my operating system to get steam to work,
 
and since I apparently can’t depend on tech support to respond within a reasonable time to my requests for assistance, 
 
or to be diligent enough to read the ticket in full before firing off a message, 
 
Then and therefore, I’d like to begin a formal complaint process about the customer service I’ve received this week. Who would I talk to about that? Or do I need to file another ticket to get the process rolling?
Please be aware that a lack of response in the next twelve hours will initiate another ticket being filed about this issue with your tech support, as I will interpret silence to mean that filing another ticket is the correct response.

 

I was pissed.

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2 thoughts on “On Steam Tech Support

  1. I just tried to update my steam after not having used it for a while, and it was totally failing; every time I tried, it redownloaded the same updates, then crashed out. Looking through the logfiles, I saw that I was getting a lot of those “xxx.zip missing or incorrect size” errors, and checking the files in the “C:\program files (x86)\steam\package” folder using the “test archive” option from 7-zip’s context menu showed me that some of them were, indeed, corrupted downloads.

    I found a thread on an obscure Brazilian games forum (in Portuguese, but I managed to get the gist of it) that included a link to http://client-download.steampowered.com/client/resources_all.zip.7ad672422490098819d39d10a4bc494d3d28fc7f. Turns out you can manually download any of the zip files in your browser by editing the trailing part of that URL. So, I managed to get my install running again by starting steam, waiting for it to fail, checking the log file to see what zip it was complaining about, manually downloading it, verifiying it with 7-zip (a couple of them came down bad and needed retrying), and copying it to the packages/ subdir.

    Sorry that it’s too late to save you from a complete reinstall, but I hope this information helps anyone else who ends up here with similar trouble.

    Like

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