12 Fixes For Steam Content File Locked Error

The steam content file locked error occurred while updating the game. It means that Steam files are unable to be written on Hard Disk. There could be countless reasons for this error. As a result, you will face challenges while updating the game.

This guide will help you find out an apt solution. Whether it is to ‘verify the integrity of the game’ or access the ‘Steam directory,’ you will find all the answers. This is your complete guide to solve the content file locked error. Let’s begin: 

Solutions For Fix Steam Content File Locked Error 

  1. Reset Winsock
  2. Verify The Integrity Of Game Files
  3. Clear Steam Download Cache
  4. Run Steam As Administrator
  5. Relocate Steam And Game Files
  6. Repair Corrupted Files In Steam
  7. Use The Check Disk Command
  8. Delete The Download Files
  9. Check Your Antivirus
  10. Opt Out Of Beta Program
  11. Reinstall The Game
  12. Reinstall Steam

Fix Steam Content File Locked Error

1. Verify The Integrity Of Game Files

Verify The Integrity Of Game Files

It is a common occurrence for the game files to get corrupted. You will frequently face this issue on Steam when updating games. This can lead to the Steam Content File Locked error.

Thankfully, there is a built-in tool in Steam to help you check the file condition. It allows you to check the integrity of the game files. The tool will help you download any missing files and repair the corrupted ones.

Before digging into other steps, you should check this out. Try to confirm that everything is fine with the game files. 

Follow through with these steps:

  • Launch the Steam Client and log in to your account.
  • Then go to the Library and find the game you want to check.
  • Right-click on the game and go to the Properties of the game. This will open some settings.
  • Click on the ‘Local Files’ tab and select ‘Verify Integrity Of Game Files’

This will run the entire process and keep you in the loop. Once it finishes, you can go ahead and try updating the game again. See if the Steam Content File Locked issue solves.

2. Reset Winsock

winsock reset

Many users have associated the Steam Content File Locked error with Winsock. The Winsock Catalog is essential for the TCP/IP functions of the computer. Windows Sockets API (Winsock) allows network software to access the internet.

In many ways, Winsock handles TCP/IP functions. It works with the protocol stacks. In simple words, if you’re having a problem with Steam Content File Locked, Winsock can solve it. After all, it could be the connectivity issues via TCP/IP.

So, here is what you need to do:

  • Run the Command Prompt as Admin. For this, you can go to Start Menu and search for Command Prompt. Then, right-click and select Run As Administrator on it.
  • You can also use Windows + R key and type CMD. Then press Shift + Enter to launch as Admin.
  • It is not necessary, but launching as Admin will prevent any unnecessary issues.
  • In the command window, type: netsh Winsock reset.
  • Hit enter and let the process take place.
See also  21 Fixes: Forza Horizon 5 Crashing On PC Issue

After resetting, there might be a prompt to reboot the system. Follow through with it and restart your computer. Once that happens, check if you still get the error.

3. Clear Steam Download Cache

run steam steamapps common fix content launch steam sitemapps folder

Almost everything has a standalone cache today. This applies to Steam Download Cache, as well. It helps Steam load faster and understands your uses. Often, download cache errors in Steam can lead to updating problems. After all, it is related to the downloads. And you get the Steam Content File Locked error while downloading updates.

So, it is worth giving it a try. All you need to do is:

  • Launch The Steam Client
  • On the top-left corner, click on the Steam option.
  • Then find Settings and go to Downloads.
  • There, you will find the ‘Clear Download Cache’ option. Click on it.
  • Now, restart the Steam Client and see if this fixes the issue.

If not, then you can also try to restart the PC after clearing the cache.

4. Run Steam As Administrator

steam game restart your computer steam files fix content launch Steam corrupt files

Before trying anything else, it is worth running Steam as Admin. The Steam app might not have the relevant permissions. This can prevent it from accessing essential files and folders. As a result, you can get the Steam Content File Locked error. Running Steam as Administrator has often fixed this issue.

You can check it out first by:

  • Go to the Steam Icon (or search for it).
  • Right-click on it and select Run As Administrator
  • Click Yes if a permission window pops up.
  • You might have to provide admin credentials if it is a password protected authority.

After that, check and update the game you want to. If this works, then you might have to give Steam the Admin Permission permanently. For this, you can:

  • Right-click on the Steam Icon again.
  • Select Properties from the options and go to the Compatibility Tab.
  • There, you will find an array of options. Select ‘Run this program as an Administrator.’
  • There will be a checkbox next to it. Make sure to check ‘on.’

This will permanently set it to launch as Admin. But remember, this also means that Steam has the power to access and make changes to files and folders. This includes system files and others.

It is risk-free to give Steam permission for admin access.

5. Relocate Steam And Game Files

fix content launch steam command prompt disk scan bad sectors disable the antivirus

An easier alternative would be just to reinstall Steam. But, you might have too many games or saved files. Thus, you might not want to reinstall Steam. So, you can give this step a try.

The first step is to change the Download Location. This can be helpful especially if your disk space is filling up. Changing to another disk option is a great choice:

  • First, launch the Steam Client. Then in the top-left option, click on Steam and Go to Settings.
  • Find the Downloads option and select ‘Steam Library Folders.’
  • Use the ‘Add Library Folder’ option and select a new path.
  • This will change the Download Location.

After this, you will have to see if the Steam Content File Locked error goes away. If not, then move to the second part of this step:

  • Go to the Directory where Steam is currently located.
  • You will have to delete all files and folders. But don’t delete SteamApps and UserData folders. Also, makefiles sure not to delete any ‘.exe’ file in the process.
  • Cut and paste the Steam into a new location. To be safe, copy and pasting would be better. That way, if moving gets interrupted, you can always retry it. This won’t corrupt files in either location.
bad sectors steam installation Winsock catalog steam and log press enter

If you still run into an unexpected error, you might have to reinstall or reset Steam. For this:

  • Close the Steam Client. It shouldn’t be running in the first place.
  • Next, check the location where you’ve relocated Steam.
  • Find the ‘SteamApps’ folder and save it wherever you will like it.
  • Uninstall the entire Steam Client after that.
  • Now, install Steam Again to the new location.
  • Move the SteamApps folder that you’ve saved back to the Steam Client.
  • This contains your credentials, saved games, game content and other relevant data.
  • Now, relaunch Steam and enter your credentials.
  • Make sure to follow the above-given option and Verify The Integrity Of the Steam Game files.
See also  15 Fixes: Waiting On Another Installation Or Update (Battle.net)

If all this sounds too much for you, you can also try the following:

  • Right-click on the Steam Client Icon.
  • Go to Properties and find the Local Files option.
  • Select Move Install Folder
  • Then change the location as you like it.

This will save you some time from the manual process. But, if it doesn’t work, you will still have to reinstall Steam.

6. Repair Corrupted Files In Steam

game content file steam video game local game open steam path where you want

This option is a little tricky because it will feel like you did nothing. But, it can help you solve the issue quickly. Steam can get corrupted files like any other app or tool. It also stores these errors and corrupted logs in a text file. So:

  • Close the Steam Client.
  • Go to the Steam Directory. Generally, it is C:/Program Files / Steam. It could also be C:/Program Files (x86) / Steam.
  • There, locate the Folder by the name ‘Logs.’
  • Find the Txt file in it and launch it.
  • Go to the bottom of the file data and see if there is an error.
  • The format might be the Time, then the app ID. You will then see what the error was.
  • There will be an entire directory given to you.
  • Copy and paste this directory separately in the File Explorer. This is the ‘root folder’ of the Error.
  • All you need to do is launch it to access it. There is no need to fix it or do anything else.

Now, restart Steam and go to the downloads option. You will see the relevant game asking for the updates automatically.

Once you update it, there might not be any more errors for the Steam Content File Locked.

7. Use The Check Disk Command

run the check disk tool

A corrupted hard drive partition could lead to the same error. There could also be some bad sectors in the hard drive. This can lead to speed lowering for PC and network connectivity. Either way, if you have a hard drive containing a bad sector, this step is worth trying.

You can run the check disk tool:

  • Press Windows + R key and type CMD. Then press Shift + Enter.
  • You can also Right-click and Run As Administrator.
  • Type: chkdsk c:/f
  • Replace C with whatever the name of your hard drive is. You can do this individually for each drive partition.
  • Once you hit enter, there will be another prompt. Press Y and hit enter again.

Now, wait patiently. Allow the chkdsk command to scan and fix any problem with your system. Then rerun Steam and see if it solves the issue.

8. Delete The Download Files

fix steam content file antivirus delete downloading files

If there are duplicate files, Steam will show the content file is locked error. It can happen when you have tried downloading and updating a game many times. You can find the temporarily stored files in the ‘Steamapps’ folder.

Remember that this folder will have all the files for the temporary updates. If any games didn’t update or download appropriately, you would find it here:

  • Go to C > Program Files (x86) > Steam > SteamApps > Downloading

Select and delete all the files. This is a temporary folder. It won’t delete any of your saved or other downloaded games. Try to see if this fixes the issue.

9. Check Your Antivirus

check antivirus allowed threats antivirus video game local game open steam

Did you fail to fix the Steam content file locked error even after all this? Maybe there isn’t any problem with your Steam Client or App. If you’ve tried everything else, it’s time to check for external factors. In this case, check your antivirus and protection software. In simple words, check the Windows Defender (Built-in defense for Windows 10).

See also  Xbox One Stuck On Black Screen: 7 Fixes

If you have any premium tools like Avast, Malwarebytes and such, then check them out. Often, freemium or lesser-known protection tools lead to this problem. But, sometimes premium ones can also fire blanks.

The antivirus might have placed your SteamApps and other folders under watch. It could be preventing access to the files and folders. For this, you will have to set your folder (especially the SteamApps folder) as an exception.

Check out your antivirus program’s built-in quarantine or other protection section. Follow through with the instructions. Then, turn these folders and Steam as an exception.

10. Opt Out Of Beta Program

steam client antivirus opt beta program out guide

The Steam Beta Program has been a root cause of many problems. After all, it is a beta program and still under development. But, opting out of the Beta program could help you fix Steam content file locked errors.

  • Launch the Steam Client
  • Go to Library
  • Find the Game that is causing the problems to you and right-click on it to select properties.
  • Scroll down to the Betas tag.
  • Select the drop-down menu. It will be under ‘Select the beta you would like to opt into.’
  • Then select None from the drop-down menu.

Try to run the update and see if this fixes the problem.

11. Reinstall The Game

If you still get the Steam Content File Locked error, try to delete the game. Reinstall it and see if this fixes the problem. The error could be from their server’s side. There could be some other corrupted file or issue you are incapable of detecting. If none of the steps has worked so far, this is worth giving a try.

Make sure to uninstall and delete the game from the library. Then access the SteamApps folder to delete the corresponding files or folder. This will save you a lot of problems. Clear the Steam Download Cache and restart the Steam. Try to reinstall the game. 

12. Reinstall Steam

As mentioned above, if you’re still getting the same error, you can reinstall Steam. This often works and fixes almost any issue with Steam. But, when you uninstall Steam, make sure also to delete the temporary files of your PC. Don’t also forget to clear the cache and check if the folders are completely deleted.

To access the temp folder, you’d have to type %temp% in the Run command. Then delete everything there. It could also speed up your system.


Why Does Steam Say Content File Locked?

If you get the Steam Content File Locked error, it means Steam can’t access the Hard Drive. It can’t access the hard drive to download, extract and initiate the downloaded files. 

How Do I Fix Disk Write Error On Steam?

There are many ways to fix the error. You can try and type Netsh Winsock reset to reset Winsock. You can also verify the integrity of the game. If nothing works, you can move the Steamapps folder and reinstall Steam. You could also disable the antivirus or run the disk scan to see if it fixes the issue.

Why Is My Steam Download Stuck At 100?

If your game installation or download is stuck at 100, it could be due to a content file locked error. Steam might be unable to write on the Hard drive. You’d have to check Steam Installation, Steam Settings, Hard Disk, and other options to update files for the game.