Steam Content File is Locked

How To Fix “Steam Content File is Locked” Error

There have been multiple Steam user complaints of the Steam Content File Locked error on the platform when attempting to update certain games.

Fortunately, there are ways to permanently fix this issue by resetting Winsock and moving installed games to a different drive. In today’s article, we share a systematic guide on how to resolve the error.

The Content file locked Steam error occurs when Steam is unable to write the files to the hard drive. For some users, this can be a serious problem, especially if they don’t know what it means or how to fix it. Today, we will explain to you how to resolve the issue with just a few steps.

How to fix Steam’s Content file locked error? 

The first and easiest step is to ensure that your antivirus doesn’t block Steam. 

To resolve the issue caused by the antivirus, go to the antivirus’s list of exclusions and add Steam or temporarily the antivirus.

If the issue isn’t resolved, you may have to reset Winsock or switch the drive where Steam installs games.

How can the Content file locked Steam error be fixed?

There are 7 methods of fixing this problem.

  • Reset Winsock
  • Relocate Steam and game drive
  • Check your antivirus
  • Check Disk Scan
  • Verify the integrity of game files
  • Locate and re-download corrupt Steam files
  • Run as Administrator

1. Resetting Winsock

Fixing the Content file locked Steam error is sometimes as simple as resetting the Winsock by following the method given below: 

  • Press the Windows Key and R keys.
  • In the command box, enter “netsh winsock reset,” then click OK or press Enter.
  • Restart your computer for the command to work.

2. Changing the Location of Steam and game files

  • Go to the settings in the Stream Client
  • Select ‘Downloads’ and choose ‘Steam Library Folders.’
  • Click on the ‘Add Library’ folder and designate a new location for Steam.
  • Close the Steam Client.
  • Locate your Steam directory, which is usually
  • “C:\Program Files\Steam”
  • Delete and remove the exe and all the files except the SteamApp and UserData and folders.
  • Move the leftover files to the new location you specified for the Steam library folders earlier.
  • Open the Steam client and log in.

If the issue isn’t resolved, try the following steps:

  • Shutdown Steam.
  • Go to the newly designated Steam location.
  • Relocate the SteamApps folder to the desktop from the directory.
  • Uninstall Steam.
  • Reinstall Steam in the new location.
  • Move the SteamApps folder to the Steam directory.
  • Open Steam and log-in.
  • To move the Steam files automatically, do the following:
  • Choose the game and right-click
  • Select ‘Properties’
  • Click ‘Local Files’
  • Click on ‘Move Install Folder’
  • Select the new location

We suggest that you try relocating Steam and game files because it will fix the Steam game content file locked error.

3. Check your antivirus

There are cases in which the Content file locked steam error appears due to the antivirus installed on your computer. To fix this error, we recommend you to disable your antivirus while you update the game temporarily.

The procedure of disabling the antivirus depends on the type of antivirus that you are using. Therefore, it is best to search the required method online and learn how the proper method of disabling your antivirus.

In case disabling your antivirus program does not fix the error, the only option you are left with is to temporarily uninstall your antivirus. For a permanent solution, switch your antivirus program. We have several antivirus reviews on Reviewsed to help you choose the best one.

4. Check Disk Scan

There is a possibility that the Hard Drive that contains Steam has bad sectors or has been corrupted. In such a case, you will not be able to access certain areas of the hard drive. The following steps will help you run a “Disc Check” scan.

  • Press the keyboard keys “Windows” + “R” simultaneously.
  • Type in “cmd” and press “Enter”.
  • Type in “chkdsk c: /f” and press “Enter”.
  • Press “Y” to initiate the disk check scan.
  • After the Disk Check scan, check if the Steam Error is resolved or not.

5. Verify the integrity of game files

  • Restart your PC and relaunch Steam.
  • Go to the LIBRARY menu and right-click on the game with the issue, and select Properties.
  • Find and select the Local Files tab in the Properties window.
  • Now select the “Verify Integrity Of Game Files” and wait for Steam to verify the game. 
  • Once the verification process of game files is complete, please update the Steam games.

6. Locate and Re-Download Corrupt Steam Files

Follow the steps below to locate missing, faulty, or corrupt files and re-download all the files.

  • Exit Steam and go to My Computer and open the Steam Directory. Steam directory.
  • Next, find the folder ‘logs’ and open ‘txt.’
  • Go to the text file’s bottom and find the errors that are logging your device. Now find the folder named root.
  • Next, restart Steam and re-download the folder.
  • Once done, restart Steam and open the downloads folder. Steam will ask for a game update. Update the files to complete the process. 

This is the best method to diagnose and resolve the Steam content locked issue.

7. Run as Administrator

There are cases in which the Steam app requires special permissions to access particular files and folders. If the special permission is not granted, then the “Content File is Locked” message might show up. The following steps will help you run “Steam” as Administrator to resolve this issue.

  • Right-click on the Steam icon to find and select the “Properties” option.
  • Select the “Compatibility” tab and press the “Run as Administrator” option.
  • Select “Apply” and then “OK”.
  • Now check Steam.

8. Clear Steam Download Cache 

Steam’s download cache makes it simple to access the files saved in the cache. However, the cache can get corrupted, resulting in an update failure.

As a result, the content file locked issue on Steam appears. So, it is recommended here to clear the download cache of Steam.

And to do so, take these steps:

  • Launch Steam > choose Steam > Settings > Downloads.
  • Select Clear Download Cache now.
  • This might take a few minutes to finish > you must now restart Steam.

Video Guide

Frequently Asked Questions

What exactly is the Steam Content File Locked Error?

The error simply indicates that Steam is unable to write the data to the hard drive. As a result, the Steam game update will not install or fail during the installation process.

The Steam Content file locked error is sometimes perceived as a large and complex problem. Despite this, there are numerous causes for Steam Content File Locked error; see below for a list of some of the most common.

What Is the Root Cause of the Steam Content File Locked Error?

There are numerous reasons Steam cannot write files to the hard drive, and you cannot update the Steam game.

  • The antivirus software installed on your system has blocked Steam.
  • During the download process, specific files may become corrupted or missing.
  • Winsock may also cause problems with Steam.
  • The hard drive containing the game installation becomes corrupted.
  • If Steam is not granted permits

How do I unlock content on Steam?

Opening the Steam client, heading to the “Library” tab, right-clicking on the game in question, and selecting “Properties” will unlock the content. There should be a “Verify integrity of game cache” option under the “Local Files” menu. This will search for and attempt to repair any missing or corrupted files.

Why does my Steam say that my content file is locked?

The system may still be processing the files, which could explain why your Steam indicates the locked content file because the content you are transferring or installing is locked. Furthermore, the content file could be corrupted, preventing Steam from accessing it. If you continue to have this problem, you should restart your computer or contact Steam Support for further assistance.

How can I tell if a Steam file is corrupt?

To check Steam for corrupt files, use the Steam Verify Integrity of Game Files tool. This program will scan your game files to ensure they are not corrupted. The tool will repair any corrupted files that it may discover.

How can I repair a damaged Steam file?

If you’re having problems with your Steam files, they’ve likely become corrupted. To resolve this, you must delete the corrupt files and re-download them from the Steam server.

  • To begin, launch Steam and navigate to the “Library” menu.
  • Right-click the problematic game and select “Delete Local Content.”
  • Confirm that you wish to remove the files you’ve chosen.

How do I get rid of Steam restrictions?

There are a few steps you must take in order to eliminate Steam restrictions. To begin, log into your Steam account and navigate to your account settings. You’ll then need to locate and select the “Content and Privacy” tab. Once on the Content and Privacy page, you’ll notice an option that says, “Remove all restrictions.


So, these were some easy and quick solutions to fix the Content file locked Steam error. We hope that one of these solutions will be helpful temporarily and help you find the best permanent solution.

Please share with us your tried and tested method of fixing the Content file locked Steam error and which of our solutions worked for you in the comments section.

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Lucas is an IT student completing his studies in Networking. He worked at Ycombinator as a research analyst. He loves to write about his technology experiences. He also enjoys traveling and captures the best moments with his Canon 5d lens. He is a review specialist at Reviewsed.