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How To Fix Steam Content File Locked? (The Right Way)

Steam Content File Locked

Imagine, you are going to play your favorite game with your pals, just waiting for it to update, and suddenly an error pops up “Steam Content File Locked.

We know how annoying it can be not to be able to update your game and being locked out of joining your gaming friends. Well, don’t worry as we have all the fixes for this error; keep reading!

For starters, Steam is a platform designed for video game distribution back in 2003 by Valve Corporation. Initially, Steam worked as a platform to update the games automatically.

However, it expanded to host the third-party publisher games as well.

But, for quite some time, whenever a game updates, an error pops up (also shown in the image) named as “Steam Content File Locked.”

Error in image

What Does Content File Locked Mean On Steam?

Let’s get to know what this error means. Steam Content File Locked error shows that the Steam is unable to write update files on the hard disk.

Steam being unable to write on your hard drive, prohibits you from updating the latest version of games. It is a very common error and often termed as the most complex one too.

How To Fix Steam Content File Locked Issue?

This issue can be fixed with many solutions, the most effective being uninstalling the Steam along with all the local game content and reinstalling from scratch. Although being useful, this solution is pretty time-consuming, and it also requires a lot of data.

Before jumping to uninstalling and reinstalling, here are a few tried and tested troubleshooting fixes that have worked for many users. Try the following fixes:

#1: Check Antivirus Installed On Your Computer

It is quite usual for your antivirus to term Steam files as viruses, and thus they quarantine them. Therefore, if file locked error pops up, this might be the case for you.

Here are different ways to fix the error related to antivirus:

McAfee Antivirus

McAfee doesn’t allow you to exclude specific files from scanning. However, the only option left is to disable the antivirus entirely until the game is updated. To disable the McAfee, follow these steps:

  • Open McAfee.
  • Select the option “Virus and Spyware Protection.”
  • Locate the option “Real-Time Scanning,” click it and turn it off.

Now, further, follow the following steps to check the integrity of the game files:

  1. Reboot your PC and launch the Steam.
  2. Go to the library section and right-click the game that was causing the.
    Steam App Dashboard Screen
  3. Click the properties and select the local files tab.
  4. Select the verify integrity game files option.
    Game Local Files

The Steam will verify the integrity (this might take a few minutes). Once it is done, update your game again to see if the error still pops up or not. If it still pops up, head over to the next section.


ESET NOD32 does the same with the content files; it marks a few files as malicious and quarantines them, which further causes the steam content file locked error.

  1. Go to the steam directory and copy the address. The default Steam directory address is C:\Program File\Steam\SteamApps\common
  2. Open the ESET NOD32 and paste the copied address in exclude from the real-time scanning option.
  3. Follow the file integrity process mentioned above.

#2: Reset Winsock

Sometimes the culprit can be the Winsock catalog that might be causing this error. We can run a command to reset it and roll it back to default settings. Here is how you can do it:

  1. Press the Windows button + R key to open the Run Dialog Box (make sure you open it as administrator).
  2. Type the following command in the dialog box or in cmd netsh Winsock reset.
    Pc Command Prompt
  3. Press enter to execute the command and restart your computer to save the changes.

Once the computer restarts, run Steam and try upgrading the games to check if the error is solved or not.

#3: Repair Corrupt Files

If the above-mentioned methods did not fix your error, try repairing the corrupted files. Firstly, you can troubleshoot which file is damaged or missing and try downloading it again.

  1. If Steam is already running, close it and navigate to the Steam directory.
  2. Go to the folder named as Logs and then click on txt.
  3. Now, keep moving to the bottom of the text file and look for the errors that are logging your device.
  4. Then, search for the folder named as root.
  5. Restart the Steam app and then go to the download folder.
  6. Click the update option once it pops up to kill the error.

#4: Relocate Steam Installation And Steam Files

Now, it might be time for you to consider relocating the installation files of the Steam. This process has two parts, firstly simply relocating the Steam, however, if an error occurs, then we have to reinstall the Steam over again.

Here is the whole process, keep following the steps:

  1. Locate your Steam client and click on the settings.
  2. Now, select downloads and click Steam Library Folders.
  3. Click Add Library Folder and then select a new path where you want to relocate your Steam.
    Steam Library Folders
  4. Exit the Steam Client.
  5. Now, go to the Steam directory on your computer (default is: C: \Program Files \Steam).
  6. Delete all the files except steamApps, UserData folders, and .exe setup.
  7. Cut and paste all the files in your new directory that you decided above for relocation.
  8. Now, launch Steam and log in again.

If you face any issue or error while moving the location or after relaunching the Steam, follow these steps:

  1. Close the Steam App
  2. Navigate to the new location where you relocated the Steam
  3. Relocate the Folder SteamApps to the desktop
  4. Uninstall the Steam App from the control panel (to remove old Steam Settings from the PC)
  5. Now, install the Steam again to the initial location that you decided
  6. After the installation, move the SteamApps folder from your desktop to the new Steam Directory. This is done to copy all your game content, such as saved games and settings.
  7. Now, launch the Steam and log in again
  8. Verify the integrity of the game files, and you are good to go!

#5: Run Steam As Administrator

Sometimes upgrading a game requires the Steam to gain permission for the access of special files and folders. If it is not granted, then the upgrading process might get halted or blocked. Which, in turn, causes this error.

Therefore, Steam might require you to run it as an administrator; here is how you can do it:

  1. Right-click on the Steam and go to the properties.
  2. Go to the Compatibility tab and check the button named as run as administrator.
  3. Click the Apply and OK button.
  4. Run Steam again, and check if the error still persists.

#6: Check Disk Scan

It is possible that some parts of the hard disk where the game installation is taking place is corrupted or faulty. If that is the case, the hard drive can’t be accessed. Therefore, a disk check can be run on your system to find out any bad sectors in your disk.

Follow these steps to run a disk check:

  1. Press the Windows + R key together to open the Run Dialog Box.
  2. Type cmd in the dialog box and hit enter.
  3. In the cmd window, type chkdsk c: /f and press enter to start the disk check.
  4. Press the Y key to confirm the process.
  5. The disk check might take a few minutes. Wait for a while till it gets done and checks if there are any issues.

#7: Restart Your Computer

Like all the other technology gadgets, just trying the off and on method might be useful here too. Sometimes your computer starts behaving weird for God knows what reason. It just needs a little pick me up by restarting it.

Try rebooting your system for this error, as well. This might be the most straightforward method of all, but don’t worry about this works too!

Suggested readings:

– My Final Verdict:

This marks the end of the article. We have tried our best to provide you with every way possible for this issue. Try executing the methods in the given order, as this will save you some time. However, if the issue still persists, try seeking help from the Steam customer support.

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Bobby Segura

Bobby Segura

A gaming enthusiast who enjoys everything from the Vagrant Story to Assassin’s Creed. His interest in gaming soon transformed into passion, and he started working as an author of NeoGamr. I keep an eye on all the latest gaming trends and cover them asap.

My expertise is in Software and Application, Internet Research, Console Gaming, Video Games and Gaming, and Gaming & Games.

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