Steam Content File Locked? Here’s an Easy Fix And How To Unlock

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Locked Steam Content File is among the most frustrating issues faced by gamers on Steam when trying to update games. When the error comes up, it means that Steam is unable to write update files on your SDD or HDD. This issue can easily be fixed through various simple methods that may only take a few minutes.

How to Fix Steam Content File Locked 

Method 1: Winsock Reset

The problem may sometimes have something to do with how the Windows network software accesses network services. Because of this, what you may need to do is to reset the Winsock. Here are the steps to follow:

1. Hold down the Windows key and then press the R Key in order to launch the Run command

2. Type netsh winsock reset in the dialog bar that appears and press Run

3. Once the command is executed, simply restart your system and that should fix the issue.

Method 2: Check your antivirus

More than often the issue is caused by your antivirus. Some antiviruses often mark certain files as potential threats and so they quarantine them. This sometimes happens with steam based on the antivirus you are using. Here’s how to fix depending on your antivirus:

Kaspersky Antivirus

One of the most sensitive antiviruses, Kaspersky may disable Steam from making any changes to your computer because it sees it as a potential virus.

To fix this, simply launch the antivirus and go to ‘threats and exclusions’. Go to trusted zone and then add Steam.exe among the trusted applications. In the settings, change it to Do not restrict application activity and Do not scan opened files.

McAfee Antivirus

If McAfee is what you are using, you may fix this problem by launching the antivirus and then select “Virus and Spyware Protection”. Go to real-time scanning and turn it off.

No matter the antivirus you are using, once you set it to work with Steam, you will need to also verify integrity of game files. To do this, follow these steps:

1. Restart your computer and then launch Steam

2. Go to the library section and right-click on the game that has the problem.

3. Select its properties and go to the Local Files tab

4. Next, click on Verify Integrity of Game button. This should hopefully fix the problem you are having.


You can also decide to simply disable your antivirus when you are updating a game and experience this issue. If it works, it is apparent that the issue is caused by your antivirus so you can always disable the antivirus until you finish updating your games or follow the steps above.

Method 3: Repair Corrupt Files

A lot of issues with Steam and other applications on your computer can be caused as a result of missing or corrupted files. To fix this, you may want to download the file that has the issue. Here are the steps to follow:

1. Close your Steam and go to the Steam directory on your computer using the default location (C:/Program Files (x86)/Steam). However, if you have it installed in a different location, simply navigate there.

2. Go to the Logs folder and then open txt.

3. Scroll to the bottom of the txt file and search to see the recent errors that have occurred.

3. Navigate to the root folder.

4. Exit Steam and start the application again. Go to the download folder and the application will ask for the game to be updated.

5. Click on the update button.

6. Once Steam has been updated, the file causing the error will be fixed.

Method 4: Run as Administrator

There are times when the Content File is Locked error may be experienced because Steam is requiring special permission to access certain folders and it doesn’t get. To fix this, you may simply want to give the permission by running Steam as Administrator by following the steps below:

1. Go to your desktop and right-click on Steam icon

2. Select the Properties option

3. On the properties dialogue box, select the “Compatibility” tab

4. Under it, check the “Run as Administrator” box under Settings.

5. At the bottom of the box, click on Apply and then OK

6. Once this is done, try running steam in the usual manner and see if this has solved the issue.

Method 5: Change Steam and game files location

While this is a complex method, it works like charm. However, you may want to consider and try all the methods above before deciding on this. Note that you should not interrupt the process once you start copying files as that may corrupt the files.

With this method, simply follow the steps below:

1. Go to Steam client and then click on settings

2. Select Downloads and then click on Steam Library Folders.

3. The next thing you want to do is click on Add Library Folder’ and then select a location for the folder. This will set the path for installations.

4. Close your Steam client

5. Go to your Steam directory through the default location; C:\Program Files\Steam

6. Go ahead and delete every file and folder with the exception of SteamApps and UserData folders as well as exe.

7. Simply cut the folders and go to the new directory you have created and paste.

8. With that done, you can go ahead and launch steam and then login.

If that is unable to solve the issue or if you encounter any problem with the process above, you may decide to try this:

1. Exit the application

2. Open the new Steam location

3. Move the SteamApps folder from the directory and have it stored on your desktop. It is important to have this well-kept because it has your game contents and settings.

4. Completely uninstall Steam so as to take off the old Steam settings from your computer

5. Reinstall the application to the initial location.

6. Move your SteamApps folder to the new Steam directory

7. Open your Steam and then log in. This should fix the issues you are having.

See Also: Steam Won’t Open In Windows 10 Or Mac? Here Are Ways You Can Fix It


Like every other thing with applications you are using on your computer, you can experience some issues with Steam because of your failure to ensure that you have updated it to the latest version available. Hence, always keep the app updated as well as your system.

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