Counter-Strike 2 Launch Guide: How to Download, Controller Support, and Missing Executable Error

Valve strikes back.

key art from Counter-Strike 2

Nothing could have been more surprising than Valve’s sudden announcement of Counter-Strike 2 in March 2023 — except its out-of-nowhere release in late September. With hardly a word from Valve since the initial reveal, Counter-Strike 2 is now out for PC. And while players are predictably excited to dive into the sequel to one of the best multiplayer shooters of all time, its launch has come with the usual hurdles that fans of online games have come to expect.

If you’re eager to jump into Counter-Strike 2 with minimal friction, here are some tips to make your entry as smooth as possible.

How to Download Counter-Strike 2

This one couldn’t be easier. Counter-Strike 2 is available for free from Steam, so anyone with a PC can already claim it.

It’s technically launching as an upgrade to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, so first check to see if you’ve already got that game installed. If you do, the Play button should have changed to Update, which will convert CS: GO to Counter-Strike 2. If you don’t already have CS: GO, you can download Counter-Strike 2 like you would any other game, by searching for it on the Steam storefront.

What is the Counter-Strike 2 File Size?

Counter-Strike 2 clocks in at 33 GB. That puts it on par with the size of most other modern shooters, about double the size of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

Does Counter-Strike 2 Have Controller Support?

Since Counter-Strike 2 is a PC-only game, most players are probably going to play with keyboard and mouse, especially since doing so will give you the most precise control over your shots. But players who would rather use a controller are in luck. Counter-Strike 2 does have controller support, according to its Steam page.

Counter-Strike 2 replaces Valve’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive on Steam.


However, players in the game’s subreddit are reporting issues using controllers on launch day, so if you jump in right away, you may not actually be able to use one. For now, you’re probably better off sticking to keyboard and mouse controls, but it’s likely that Valve will have controller support working before long.

Can You Play Counter-Strike 2 on Steam Deck?

As you might expect, Valve’s flagship game is playable on the handheld Steam Deck. At least in theory.

Counter-Strike 2’s Steam page lists the game as playable on Steam Deck, but players are reporting problems getting it to run. Within the first few hours of Counter-Strike 2’s launch, players couldn’t get the game to load at all on the portable PC, or it would quickly crash. Those issues seem to mostly be cleared up now, but there are still reports of poor performance.

Playing Counter-Strike 2 on Steam Deck may be easier once Valve has had time to release an update or two, but for now, it’s best played on PC.

How to Fix Counter-Strike 2 Missing Executable Error

It seems no multiplayer game can ever get through launch day without some major bugs. For Counter-Strike 2, lots of players are seeing the same error, which reads, “An error occurred while updating Counter-Strike 2 (missing executable).”

This appears when Steam has run into issues downloading all of Counter-Strike 2’s files correctly and can’t start. Fortunately, a simple fix seems to work for most players.

Don’t let errors stop you from playing Counter-Strike 2.


First, try restarting Steam as an administrator. To do that, you’ll need to fully quit Steam, which you can do by right-clicking its icon in your taskbar and choosing Exit Steam. You should see a dialogue box that says Shutting Down Steam. If you just close with the X button in the corner of the window, it won’t fully shut down.

Then, right-click your Steam executable and choose “Run as administrator.” It’s not strictly necessary to restart Steam this way, but it does ensure that no permissions issues will get in the way. Navigate over to the Downloads tab, and you should now see Counter-Strike 2 updating again, which should fix the issue.

If that doesn’t work, you may have to clear your Steam download cache. To do that, simply Select the Steam option in the menu on top of the app, then click Settings, Downloads, Clear Cache. Give Steam another restart at this point and you should be good to go.

Counter-Strike 2 is available on PC.

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