my issue is from both the steam desktop icon AND lh, but as steam itself refuses to let me go into offline mode I think the problem IS steam itself.
no I am only using the windows 8 firewall,
the antivirus does NOT have a firewall,
the usename AND password are remembered,
both steam AND lh are the latest version and fully updated
and on one of my win7 machines(that does also have both steam and lh), I CAN play offline, BUT not on the win8,
and the win7 even has a third party firewall, the same antivirus with the same settings.
edit additional info, when I tried to start stem in online mode with NO internet connection, steam claimed that steam had never been used on the computer, (a load of bullshit, as I had just done a verify the install of lh when online only a few minutes before)