How to Fix ‘Steam Content File Locked’ Error: Tips and Solutions


By Jack Lin

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Steam content file locked

Sometimes, you come across the error ‘Steam content file locked‘ when you update any Steam games.

Due to this content file locked Steam error, Steam cannot write any update files onto your hard disk. The best part is that there are many solutions available to resolve this issue.

The easiest and most effective solution out of all is to delete Steam and other local content of the games. After this, reinstall everything from scratch.

This method works for most users, but it turns out to be a time-consuming process. Also, it consumes lots of data.

Steam Content File Locked

So, before taking such hard measures, it is best that you try some troubleshooting tips for resolving the error of the Steam content file locked.

Different Ways to Fix ‘Content File Locked Steam’

1. Repair Damaged System Files

Initially, you need to download Reimage Plus and then install the same. This program is going to look for corrupt system files on your computer.

If some files are missing or damaged, then you can try repairing them to fix the error ‘Steam content file locked.’ After fixing them, examine if the issue has been resolved or not.

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2. Check Antivirus

Most of the time, the antivirus could be the reason behind errors like content file locked Steam. It is pretty common for them to show Steam files or folders as harmful viruses and even quarantine them.

Here are some different methods to disable your antivirus entirely until you could update that game on Steam.

2a. McAfee Antivirus

Sometimes, McAfee features no way to exclude several files from the real-time scan. Here, the only solution is to restrict the antivirus for the time being until your game updates.

To do so, you have to launch McAfee and choose the option ‘Virus and Spyware Protection.’ Here, you will discover the ‘Real-Time Scanning‘ option. Tap on this option in order to switch it off.

Now, go through the instructions below for verifying the Steam game files’ integrity.

  • Step 1: Firstly, restart your system and launch Steam again
  • Step 2: Navigate to Steam’s library section. Then, right-tap on the very game that is causing issues on your system
  • Step 3: Now, click on the properties and choose the option of local files
  • Step 4: Tap on the ‘verify the integrity of game files‘ tab, and the application will start verifying that Steam game in some minutes
McAfee Antivirus

After taking up these steps, you won’t come across errors like Steam content file locked.

2b. ESET NOD32

ESET NOD32 features the tendency to mark several application files or folders as harmful or malicious and probably quarantine them too. It often becomes a problem while you update a game.

So, browse the content Steam directory. Then, copy that address. By default, the address of the Steam directory remains

C:\Program Files\Steam\SteamApps\common

Once you have copied this address, launch ESET NOD32. Then, paste that location in the section ‘exclude from real-time scanning.’

Now, go through the above-mentioned procedure to verify the integrity of game files and check if the issue of ‘content file locked Steam’ has been resolved.

2c. Kaspersky AV

Sometimes, Kaspersky flags Steam as an outsider. Thus, it disables Steam from making changes to your hard drive.

To fix this, you need to move on to the ‘threads and exclusions.’ From there, locate the option ‘trusted zone‘ and put Steam.exe in the trusted application form.

Also, do not forget to modify the settings as both ‘Do not scan opened files‘ and ‘Do not restrict application activity.’

Here, you need to go through the method ‘verify the integrity of game files‘ and start your system again. Check if the error ‘Steam content file locked’ has been resolved or not!

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3. Reset Winsock

Winsock catalog could be another reason why you are facing the error ‘content file locked Steam’. One can execute a command to reset it, and the program will be set to the original settings.

So, follow some steps to get rid of this update issue.

  • Step 1: Press the tabs Windows + R together to open up the window of Run. Before this, ensure you run this program as the administrator.
  • Step 2: Within the dialogue field, you need to type the command ‘netsh winsock reset‘.
  • Step 3: Now, execute this command and start your system again. Check for the issue now. If it’s still there, move to the next solution.
Reset Winsock

4. Fix Corrupt Files

In case the above-mentioned methods do not work to resolve the ‘Steam content file locked’ issue, follow this method.

Here, you need to troubleshoot that file that went missing or corrupt. After doing this, you have to download the complete file again.

  • 1: First, you need to close Steam and then navigate to the Steam Directory as C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam). In case you chose a custom file location at the time of installation, then navigate that location.
  • 2: Look for the ‘Logs‘ folder and click on the ‘txt‘ option.
  • 3: Now, move to the text file’s bottom and look for the latest errors. For instance, if you come across an error like “[AppID 346110] Update canceled: File commit failed. . .” Here, the number 346110 is called the AppID, which is the first number mentioned in this URL for ARK Survival Evolved.
  • 4: Move to the mod’s root folder. It features no particular file size because it varies for different games and their root folders.
  • 5: Now, launch Steam and navigate to the folder ‘Downloads.’ Here, you can see that Steam is asking for a game update. So, update the significant files without facing the ‘content file locked Steam‘ error.

5. Relocate Steam Game Files and Installation

If the simple methods do not help you with the Steam content file locked error, you should relocate Steam game files and installation. This particular method is divided into two sections.

In the initial one, you have to reposition Steam and check if it will run and launch as expected. In case you come across an error during its launch, then you need to install Steam again.

The complete procedure is mentioned here. Please remember that if any interruption arises throughout the copying procedure, it could damage the files. Thus, you would need to go for installing the client once more.

  • 1: Initially, navigate to the Steam program. After that, tap on ‘Settings‘.
  • 2: Choose ‘Downloads‘ and tap on the ‘Steam Library Folders‘ option.
  • 3: Now, tap on the ‘Add Library Folder‘ tab. Once done, choose a new location for relocating Steam. It will even define a new location for all Steam-related installations to occur.
Relocate Steam Game Files and Installation

Next, you need to move your existing files of Steam to the location that you have selected.

  • 4: Now, exit your Steam client and look for the present Steam directory.
  • 5: Now, delete all folders and files except UserData folders and SteamApps. Plus, do not get rid of the exe.
  • 6: Cut these folders and then paste them all to the newly made directory.
  • 7: Now, launch Steam again and log into your account.

If you face any problems while launching the program or moving the folders, go through the following steps.

  • 1: Exit Steam and navigate to the place where you have relocated it.
  • 2: Move the folder ‘SteamApps‘ from the directory to the PC desktop.
  • 3: Now, uninstall Steam to remove old settings from the system.
  • 4: Install the Steam program to the selected location and then move the folder ‘SteamApps‘ to the newly-created directory. This is going to copy all the game content, settings, and saved games.
  • 5: Run Steam and log in using your credentials. Now, you can play your Steam game without struggling with the ‘Steam content file locked.’

6. Examine the Disk Scan

This is another thing that you can do. It is quite possible that your hard drive comprising the Steam game installation could feature bad sectors or have been damaged. If your drive contains bad sectors, this will slow down, and one cannot access specific sections of your hard drive.

Thus, you can run the ‘Disk Check’ scanning to check your hard drive against bad sectors. To do so, follow the steps:

  • 1: Press the tabs ‘Windows‘ + ‘R‘ simultaneously.
  • 2: Enter ‘cmd‘ in the Run dialog box and hit Enter.
  • 3: Enter ‘chkdsk c:/f‘ and click Enter to initiate it.
  • 4: Now, press ‘Y‘ to confirm the disk scan schedule.
  • 5: Lastly, wait for this disk scan to finish and examine if the ‘content file locked Steam‘ error persists or not.
Examine Disk Scan

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7. Run as Administrator

Sometimes, Steam needs special permissions to access specific files and folders. If the system does not grant these special permissions, it could be blocked from accessing some folders by Windows and could result in the ‘Steam content file locked’ issue.

Thus, you need to run the Steam program as an administrator. To do so, follow the instructions given below.

  • 1: Firstly, right-tap on ‘Steam‘ and tap on the option ‘Properties.’
  • 2: Now, choose the ‘Compatibility‘ tab and look for the option ‘Run as Administrator.’
Run as Administrator
  • 3: Next, tap on ‘Apply‘ and press OK.
  • 4: Run this program as an administrator and examine if the error ‘content file locked Steam’ has been resolved successfully.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: What should I do if the ‘Steam Content File Locked’ error still persists after trying all the solutions?

A: If the error continues to occur, you can try reinstalling Steam. First, make sure to back up your game files and save data. Uninstall Steam through the Control Panel or using a third-party uninstaller. Then, download the latest version of Steam from the official website and reinstall it. Remember to restore your game files after the installation.

Q: Will reinstalling Steam delete my game progress and saves?

A: No, reinstalling Steam itself will not delete your game progress and saves. However, it’s essential to back up your game files before uninstalling Steam, as they might get removed during the uninstallation process. After reinstalling Steam, you can restore the game files to their original location to retain your progress and saves.

Q: Can I use the same Steam library folder after reinstalling Steam?

A: Yes, you can reuse the same Steam library folder after reinstalling Steam. During the installation process, Steam will automatically detect existing game files in the library folder. However, it’s always a good idea to back up your game files before proceeding with any major changes to avoid accidental data loss.

Q: Are there any alternative gaming platforms to Steam?

A: Yes, there are several alternative gaming platforms to Steam, such as Epic Games Store,, and Uplay. These platforms offer their own selection of games and exclusive deals. However, keep in mind that not all games available on Steam may be available on these platforms. It’s always a good idea to explore different platforms and choose the one that best suits your gaming preferences.

Q: Can I contact Steam support for help with the ‘Steam Content File Locked’ error?

A: Yes, if you’ve tried all the solutions mentioned in this article and still can’t resolve the ‘Steam Content File Locked’ error, you can contact Steam support for further assistance. They have a dedicated support team that can help you troubleshoot the issue and provide personalized solutions.

Q: Is it possible to prevent the ‘Steam Content File Locked’ error from occurring in the future?

A: While there is no foolproof way to guarantee that the ‘Steam Content File Locked’ error will never occur again, you can take certain preventive measures. Ensure your computer has ample storage space, regularly update your operating system and drivers, and run regular disk checks to identify and fix any potential errors. Additionally, be cautious when installing third-party software and keep your anti-virus and firewall programs up to date.


So, these are some methods you can use to eliminate the ‘Steam content file locked‘ issue.

If you want to scan the storehouses to replace missing or corrupt files, then you can use the Reimage Repair tool.

All these methods will effectively help you resolve the annoying ‘content file locked Steam‘ error. Try them one by one until you reach the perfect solution to this problem!


10 years of experience in information and computer technology. Passionate about electronic devices, smartphones, computers, and modern technology.