How To Fix ‘Steam Content File Locked’ Error

How to Fix Steam Content File Locked

Steam is a video game digital dispensation platform that was developed and set afloat by Valve Corporation. It was launched in September 2009 and was put to sea to provide automatic updates for the Games of Steam itself.

But it gradually developed by including games from third-party publishers. Moreover, sometimes while you update a Steam game, you may find Steam content file locked error.

Steam Content File Locked error states that you are unable to play the latest version of any Steam game as the update was unsuccessful, and hence the hard disk has no code to run the game. The necessary procedure to update any version includes erasing the previous data and rewriting of the latest version.

How to Fix Steam Content File Locked

If Steam was unable to write the entire update, any game would be beyond execution. Since this is a standard error, it is often assumed to be complex or challenging to tackle the Steam Content File Locked error.

Surely, with the correct and systematic approach, this problem can be fixed with minutes. The most effective method is uninstalling Steam and all the local game contents, but the glitch is that this method is pretty time consuming and consumes large data storage.

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Understanding the ‘Steam Content File Locked’ Error

The ‘Steam Content File Locked’ error typically occurs during the update or installation of a game. This error message indicates that Steam is unable to write new files or modify existing files in its directory, essentially locking the content files.

As a result, users are unable to update, download, or play the affected game, which can be a significant hindrance to their gaming experience.

Root Causes of the Error

Identifying the underlying causes of this error is crucial for resolving it effectively. The main reasons include:

  1. Antivirus Interference: Often, antivirus programs may mistakenly identify Steam files as potential threats and block them.
  2. Insufficient Permissions: Steam may lack the necessary permissions to modify files in its directory.
  3. Corrupted Files: Corrupted files within Steam’s installation folder can prevent updates and cause this error.
  4. Disk Write Errors: Issues with the hard drive, such as bad sectors or disk write errors, can also lead to this problem.
  5. Software Conflicts: Other software running on the system might conflict with Steam’s operations.

How to Fix Steam Content File Locked Error

Hence here are less time-consuming methods as we understand the value of your time.

Method 1: Corrupt Files

To find what the actual problem is, instead of uninstalling the entire software, you can investigate which file is corrupt or missing so that you can troubleshoot the issue within no time.

Step 1 – Navigate to the Steam directory by egressing Steam.

Step 2 – Next, you need to move to the logs folder and then click on the .txt option.

Step 3 – Move to the bottom of the text file and try and find out if any errors are logging your device.

Step 4 – Then, browse for the folder Root.

Step 5 – Restart the Steam and navigate on to your downloading folder.

Step 6 – Click on the Update option when you get it to update the necessary files to fix the Steam content file locked error.

Method 2: Reset Winsock

Winsock catalog is another issue triggered while troubleshooting the content file locked on Steam. Winsock defines how network services, like the TCP/IP, are accessed by the Windows network software.

Step 1 – Press the Windows icon and key on the keyboard at the same time.

Step 2 – Type cmd in the Run box and click the OK button so that you can access the Command Prompt window.  

Step 3 – Type netsh Winsock reset in Command Prompt window and press the Enter key.

You can now check whether the content file locked error is resolved as the Winsock catalog has been rested by following the above procedure.

Method 3: Relocate Steam Installation and Game Files

If in case the above two methods do not fall right, then try repositioning the Steam installation and the game files. Here’s how you can reposition Steam and game files:

Step 1 – Click on Settings after visiting the Steam Client.

Step 2 – Click Downloads and choose th0065 Steam Library Folders.

Step 3 – Click on the Add Library Folder, as shown in the picture below, and select the new location for Steam.

Step 4 – Exit the Steam Client and go to your Steam directory.

Step 5 – Delete the .exe along with the rest of the file leaving the UserData and SteamApp folders.

Step 6 – Relocate these files to the location you specified in step 3.

Step 7 – Open Steam and log in again to check whether you can upgrade Steam games.

If the Steam content file locked still exists, follow the steps enlisted below:

Step 1 – Close your Steam.

Step 2 – Navigate to the location where you relocated Steam.

Step 3 – You have to relocate the Steam App folder from that directory to your desktop.

Step 4 – Uninstall Steam. We have run this step to remove your old Steam settings from your PC.

Step 5 – Install Steam again in the location that you’ve selected.

Step 6 – Shift the SteamApps folder to the new Steam directory. This will copy all of your game content along with your saved games and settings.

Step 7 – Launch Steam and enter your credentials. Verify the integrity of Steam game files so that you will be able to play.

Method 3: Check Disk Scan

It is even possible that the hard disk itself is corrupted or comprises of bad sectors. Hence it runs slower, and you cannot access and use a few areas. So to check this catch, you need to run the “Disc Check” to find the bad sectors of the disk.

Step 1 – Press the Windows icon and R key on the keyboard at the same time.

Step 2 – Type cmd in the Run box and click the OK button so that you can access the Command Prompt window.

Step 3 – Type “chkdsk c: /f“, click Enter.

Step 4 – Click Y on the keyboard to confirm the scheduling of the disk check.

Step 5 – Wait until the Disk Check completes its scanning.

Method 4: Check Antivirus Software

Your Antivirus can treat Stream files as potential virus and hence restrict the execution as well as any sort of update. We have mentioned the steps below to disable the Antivirus temporarily, not uninstall it.

Different Antivirus have different steps, but the steps given below are capable of disabling nearly all Antivirus programs.

McAfee Antivirus

The real-time scanning of McAfee has no function to exclude any of the files even if the user wants to do so. The only way is to disable McAfee for some time until we are completing the update.

For this, in the McAfee homepage, click on “Virus and Spyware protection”. Then click on “Real-Time Scanning” and switch it off.

After which follow the following procedure to check the integrity of the game files:

Step 1 – Restart your PC and relaunch Steam.

Step 2 – Move to the library section and right-click on the game, which has caused the issue.

Step 3 – Click on its properties and select the local files tab.

Step 4 – Select the verify integrity of the game files button, and Steam will provide you the result within a few minutes.


ESET NOD32 also quarantines the file that it finds suspicious and hence blocks all the activities related to that. For this,

Step 1 – Copy down the address by moving on to your Steam directory.

Step 2 – After this open ESET NOD32 and paste the location in exclude from real-time scanning menu.

Follow the same steps mentioned above to check the integrity.

Kaspersky AV

Step 1 – Kaspersky can disable Steam making changes to the hard disk by treating it as an intruder. To fix this,

Step 2 – Move to the threads and exclusions.

Step 3 – Then, navigate to the ‘trusted zone‘ by adding Steam.exe to the trusted files.

Step 4 – Change the settings to ‘do not restrict application activity‘ and ‘do not scan opened files‘.

Follow the same steps mentioned above to check the integrity.

Preventing Future Occurrences

To minimize the likelihood of encountering the ‘Steam Content File Locked’ error in the future:

  1. Regular Antivirus Checks: Regularly update and check your antivirus settings to avoid conflicts with Steam.
  2. Maintain System Health: Keep your operating system and drivers updated. Regularly check your hard drive for errors.
  3. Manage Permissions: Ensure that Steam consistently has the necessary administrative permissions to function correctly.
  4. Monitor Software Conflicts: Be aware of other software installations that might conflict with Steam.

Advanced Troubleshooting Techniques

For users who are comfortable with more advanced solutions:

  1. Relocate Steam Installation: Consider moving Steam to a different drive or folder. This can sometimes resolve permission and write errors.
  2. Reinstall Steam: As a last resort, uninstalling and then reinstalling Steam can often fix persistent issues, including the ‘Content File Locked’ error.

Leveraging Steam’s Community and Support

If you continue to face issues, Steam’s community forums and support can be invaluable resources. Often, other users may have encountered similar issues and can provide solutions based on their experiences.

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This article will surely provide you the solution to the problem and fix the Steam Content File Locked error. You can locate the corrupt or missing files and fix its problem to fix the content file locked on Steam.

Even after this, the problem isn’t solved mentioned below are some solutions using which the Steam content file locked can be solved effortlessly.


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