Steam is a digital distribution platform introduced in 2003 for purchasing and playing video games. Apart from the services provided in relation to video games, it also provides services like matchmaking servers, digital rights management, video streaming, and social networking. It’s compatible with Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. Steam content file locked is the most common issue faced by steam users.
In addition to the services mentioned above offered by Steam, it also has an application programming interface (API) known as Steamworks. Steamworks allows other developers to integrate Steam’s functions into their products.
Steam is one of the broadest digital distribution platforms with a huge market share. It has 130+ million registered users, 14 million peak concurrent users, 33 million daily active players, and 67 million monthly active players. The success of Steam has led to other developments and more product offerings by Steam, like Steam VR.
Developed by Valve Corporation, Steam has been facing an issue that has been irritating its users for a while. The issue pertains to the locked content file. This error pops-up while either updating or installing a game. The error message either shows a ‘disk write/read error’ or ‘content file locked.’ This error is a sign that Steam is unavailable to write updated files to hard disk.
There can be countless reasons that can lead to steam content file locked error like antivirus, corrupt files, etc. These issues have been discussed in detail below along with ways of how to get rid of them.
4 Methods to Fix Steam Content File Locked error
Method 1: Repairing Corrupt files
Corrupt files are the root cause for many issues, including the Steam content file locked error as well. Therefore, it is essential to remove or replace the corrupt data, for Steam to function correctly and efficiently. To mend the corrupt files, the following steps need to be followed:
- Exit Steam and go to the “Steam directory” on your computer. It can be found in (C:/Program Files (x86)/Steam) or at the custom location, where you chose to store it.
- Go to the folder “Logs.” Select “Txt.”
- Search for recent errors by moving to the bottom of the text file.
- You need to find the ‘root folder’ of the mod. Size may vary, as it is different for different games.
- Restart Steam and move to the ‘downloads’ folder.
- It will now be asking for an update.
- Update the files, and the error will be resolved.
Repairing the corrupt files works in most of the cases and it might work for this one as well. If not, any one of the other mentioned fixes can also be used.
Method 2: Resetting Winsock
Winsock, shortened for Windows Sockets, is an API that acts as a link between Windows and TCP/IP connections. It defines how Windows network software should access the network services.
Winsock catalog can sometimes be the reason for the failure of the update. Thus resetting it can help to a great extent. For this, you need to:
- Press the Windows + R keys together to open “Run,” and make sure to run it as administrator.
- Type the following command in the dialog box: “netsh Winsock reset.”
- Hit Enter to execute the command.
After following the steps mentioned above, restart your system as well, for the changes to take effect.
Method 3: Relocation of Steam Installation and Game files
We need to follow this method in two parts. In the first part, you need to relocate Steam to make sure that it launches and runs perfectly and as expected. But if an error occurs during this process, it might corrupt the files, for which you need to reinstall Steam again.
To relocate Steam:
- Go to ‘Steam Client’ and click on ‘Settings.’
- In Settings, select ‘Downloads’ and click on ‘Steam Library folders.’
- Further, click on ‘Add Library Folder,’ and select a new path for Steam’s location.
- After this step, all other downloads related to Steam will take place in this folder only.
- Now we need to move the existing Steam files to this new location. For this, exit Steam client.
- Go to the current Steam directory.
- Delete all the files and folders. Don’t delete “SteamApps,” “UserData” folders, and “exe.”
- Cut all the files and folders. Paste them into the new location.
- Launch Steam and re-login.
If you face any error/issue while following these steps, or after launching Steam, follow the below-listed steps:
- Close Steam and browse to the new location of Steam.
- Relocate ‘SteamApps’ folder from there to your desktop.
- Uninstall Steam; to remove old Steam settings.
- Install Steam again on the initial location.
- Afterward, move the ‘SteamApps’ folder there as well. This will locate all your game data over there.
- Launch Steam and re-login again.
- Verify integrity of Steam game files.
This is an effective method to fix the steam content file locked issue but should be resorted to only if other fixes can’t be employed, due to this being a lengthy and complicated solution.
Method 4: Disable Antivirus
Antiviruses are meant to protect your system from various types of viruses and malware. So it’s not uncommon for it to mark your Steam files as potential virus and halt its functioning. The good thing is that you have an option to disable it. Different antiviruses have different procedures for disabling them. You can either disable just the antivirus for Steam or disable it entirely, whichever works for you. Just try disabling your antivirus temporarily and check whether your Steam content file locked error gets resolved or not.
Anyone of the fixes mentioned above can be put to use and applied to solve the content file locked error. But prefer trying the simpler methods first, before going for the relocation fix as it’s lengthy and also consumes more data.
This error although seems like a very complicated one, but can be solved with much ease. Also, whenever encountered with a problem, more energy shall be devoted to finding and applying solutions and not on focusing on the issue.
I’m an engineer by profession and blogger by passion. In madly love with technology. When I am not reading novels, I am cooking or listening to Jay Shetty’s podcasts.