January 31, 2022

Fix Steam Content File Locked Error (2023)

Fix Steam Content File Locked

Steam was first developed to allow for automated updates for their games, but it was subsequently expanded to include games from other publishers. Because of its compatibility and large game library, it’s simple to manage all of your material in one place, schedule times with friends, and even join groups of like-minded gamers. However, while trying to update some titles through Steam, you may receive Steam Content File Locked message. This is highly inconvenient, and you are not the only one facing this issue. Steam download content file locked is a common problem that might be misinterpreted as a sophisticated or complicated issue. We bring to you a helpful guide to fix this issue. So, continue reading!

Fix Steam Content File Locked

How to Fix Steam Content File Locked in Windows 10

Sometimes Steam may not be able to copy the updated files to your computer’s hard drive, stopping you from playing the most recent version of any game. Difficulty with permissions is frequently the cause of this issue. You may solve Steam download content file locked problem without putting in a lot of work if you use the appropriate and reasoned approach. 

Follow the methods given below step by step to fix the said issue.

Method 1: Restart PC

Some apps on your PC may clash with Steam or your game, causing the content file to be locked. To switch off undesirable apps, restart your computer in this scenario. Once your computer has rebooted, reinstall your game to see if your problem has been resolved.

1. Navigate to the Start menu.

2. Now, select the power icon.

Note: In Windows 10, the Power icon is found at the bottom. Whereas in Windows 8, the Power icon is located at the top.

3. Several options like SleepShut down, and Restart will be displayed. Here, click on Restart.

Several options like sleep, shut down, and restart will be displayed. Here, click on Restart.

Method 2: Run Steam as Administrator

Steam may require special rights to access certain files and directories. The simplest way is to run Steam as administrator every time to fix Steam content file locked issue.

1. Right-click on the Steam.exe file and select Properties.

Select Properties. Fix Steam Content File Locked

2. Go to the Compatibility tab and check the Run this program as an administrator option.

Select the Run as Administrator option from the Compatibility menu

3. Finally, click on Apply > OK to save changes.

click the Apply and OK buttons

4. Restart Steam and verify if the problem of steam download content file locked still exists or not.

Method 3: Restart Steam 

Follow these steps to restart Steam.

1. Open the Task Manager by hitting the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys together.

2. Locate and select the unwanted background processes using high Memory.

3. Then, click End task, as shown highlighted.

Select Steam and click on End task

4. Now, relaunch the Steam app.

Also Read: How to Disable Steam Overlay in Windows 10

Method 4: Verify Integrity of Game Files

Please check the integrity of the game files by following the procedures below after deactivating the installed antivirus:

1. Launch the Steam application on your system and switch to the Library tab from the top.

Launch the Steam application on your system and switch to the Library. Fix Steam Content File Locked

2. Under Game Library, you will see the list of all your games. Locate the game you wish to verify. Make a right-click on it to open Properties, as shown.

Make a right-click on game to open Properties

3. Switch to the Local files tab in-game Properties window.

4. Here, click on Verify integrity of game files button, as shown below.

Click on Verify integrity of game files button. Fix Steam Content File Locked

5. Wait for Steam to verify the integrity of your game files.

Method 5: Clear Download Cache

Steam download cache functions similarly to other caches. While this makes it easier and faster to retrieve files stored in the cache, errors can compound, resulting in failed updates and a content file-locked warning.

1. Hit the Windows key, type Steam, and click on Run as administrator.

Select Run as administrator from the context menu when you right click the Steam icon

2. Now, go to the Steam tab and select Settings from the drop-down menu. Refer to the pic below.

click on the Steam tab and Select Settings. Fix Steam Content File Locked

3. Select the Downloads settings on the left pane.

Navigate to the Downloads tab

4. Scroll down to the bottom and click on the CLEAR DOWNLOAD CACHE button.

press the Clear Download Cache option. Fix Steam Content File Locked

5. Click on OK in the Clear Download Cache confirmation prompt.

clear download cache confirmation prompt

6. Finally, click on OK to save changes.

Wait until the procedure is finished before pressing Ok. Fix Steam Content File Locked

Also Read: Where are Steam Games installed?  

Method 6: Disable Third-party Antivirus (If Applicable)

If you have third-party antivirus installed on your PC then it also may block the Steam app and cause Steam content file locked issue. So follow the steps listed below to disable third-party antivirus.

Note 1: It is not recommended to uninstall any antivirus program from your PC, since it protects your system from viruses and threats.

Note 2: We have shown the steps for Norton Security Antivirus as an example.

1. Right-click on the Antivirus Program icon from the system tray and select Disable Auto-Protect.

Disable auto protect to disable your Antivirus. Fix Steam Content File Locked

2. Next, Select the duration dropdown menu for which the Antivirus will remain disabled on the Security Request page.

select the duration until when the antivirus will be disabled

Method 7: Move Steam Game Files

Try moving the Steam installation and game files to a different location. You might be able to resolve the steam download content file locked problem once you’ve done that.

1. Launch Steam and click on the LIBRARY tab.

Launch Steam and go to LIBRARY. Fix Steam Content File Locked

2. Here, right-click on the Installed Game and click on Properties… as illustrated below.

Go to LIBRARY and right click on the installed game then click on Properties…

3. On the new screen, click on LOCAL FILES > Move install folder… as shown.

Now go to LOCAL FILES and click on Move install folder… option

4. Choose the Drive (e.g. Drive G:) from Select the target drive “name & size of game” should be moved to the drop-down menu. Then, click on Move.

Select the correct target drive from the drop-down menu and click on Move

5. Now, Wait for the process to complete. You can check progress in the MOVE CONTENT screen.

Now wait for the process to complete, see below image

6. Once the moving process is completed, click on Close, as highlighted below. 

Once the moving process is completed, click on Close, as highlighted below

Also Read: How to Backup Steam Games

Method 8: Repair Steam Library Folders

1. Launch Steam and go to your Settings after clicking STEAM in the top left corner of the screen.

Click on File and then Settings in the Steam Client

2. Once you’re in Settings, go to the Downloads option on the left pane.

go to the Downloads option on the left side of the screen

3. Click on the STEAM LIBRARY FOLDERS button.

Click on Steam Library Folders

4. Here, select the drive and click on the three dots icon, then choose Repair Folder from the context menu. Refer to the pic below.

A list of all of your Steam content will appear. Click on the three dots and choose Repair Folder from the context menu.

5. Wait for Steam to Repair Folder.

Library Folder repair in progress. Fix Steam Content File Locked

6. Finally, restart Steam after repairing all the library folders by following the above steps.

Method 9: Reset Windows Sockets

The Winsock catalog is another problem that might cause Steam content file locked. The Windows Sockets API, sometimes known as Winsock, is a technical standard in computing that governs how Windows network software should access network services, particularly TCP/IP. Winsock is a protocol that connects a Windows TCP/IP client program to the TCP/IP protocol stack. To restore the system to its default settings, use the reset command and follow the instructions below:

1. Click on Start and type Command Prompt. Then, click on Run as administrator from the search results.

Open Start menu, type Command Prompt and click on Run as administrator on the right pane.

2. Click on Yes in the User Account Control confirmation prompt.

3. Type netsh winsock reset in the Command Prompt window, and press the Enter key.

Enter the command netsh winsock reset. Fix Steam Content File Locked

Once you’ve completed the three procedures and given Winsock a chance to rest, you may attempt updating the game to see whether the steam content file locked issue has been resolved.

Method 10: Repair System Files

The game installation files on your hard disc may be corrupted or have faulty sectors. Parts of the hard disc that have bad sectors can’t be accessed or run slowly. If you want to see if your hard disc has any damaged sectors, do a Disk Check scan:

1. Launch Command Prompt as administrator.

2. Type chkdsk C: /f /r /x command and hit Enter key.

 chkdsk command

3. If you are prompted with a message, Chkdsk cannot run…the volume is… in use process, then, type Y and hit the Enter key.

4. Again, type the command: sfc /scannow and press Enter key to run the System File Checker scan.

Type the below command line and hit Enter to execute it. Fix Steam Content File Locked

Note: A system scan will be initiated and it will take a couple of minutes to finish. Meanwhile, you can continue performing other activities but be mindful of not accidentally closing the window.

After completing the scan, it will show either of these messages:

  • Windows Resource Protection did not find any integrity violations.
  • Windows Resource Protection could not perform the requested operation.
  • Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files and successfully repaired them.
  • Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files but was unable to fix some of them.

5. Once the scan is finished, restart your PC.

6. Again, launch Command Prompt as administrator and execute the given commands one after the other:

dism.exe /Online /cleanup-image /scanhealth
dism.exe /Online /cleanup-image /restorehealth
dism.exe /Online /cleanup-image /startcomponentcleanup

Note: You must have a working internet connection to execute DISM commands properly.

scan health command in Command Prompt. Fix Steam Content File Locked

Steam is a fantastic gaming platform for PCs. Don’t allow a few little blunders to get in the way of a gaming marathon–just know how to fix any issues that arise along the way, and you’ll be OK.

Also Read: Fix Steam Keeps Crashing

Method 11: Reinstall Steam

If none of the above methods fix Steam content file locked issue then, reinstall Steam by following the given steps.

1. Firstly, go to the Steam folder and right-click on steamapps folder, then select the Copy option.

Copy the steamapps folder

2. Then, paste the folder in the other location to create a backup of the installed games.

3. Now hit the Windows key, type Apps and features, and click on Open.

type apps and features and click on Open in Windows 10 search bar. Fix Steam Content File Locked

4. Select Steam and click on the Uninstall button shown highlighted.

click on Steam and select Uninstall

5. Again, click on Uninstall to confirm.

6. In the Steam Uninstall window, click on Uninstall to remove Steam.

Now, confirm the prompt by clicking on Uninstall. Fix Steam Content File Locked

7. Then, restart your Windows PC.

8. Download the latest version of Steam from your web browser, as shown.

Click INSTALL STEAM to download the installation file

9. After downloading, run the downloaded SteamSetup.exe file by double-clicking on it.

10. In the Steam Setup wizard, click on the Next button.

Here, click on the Next button. steam repair tool. Fix Steam Content File Locked

11. Choose the Destination folder by using the Browse… option or keep the default option. Then, click on Install, as depicted below.

Now, choose the destination folder by using the Browse… option and click on Install. steam repair tool

12. Wait for the installation to be completed and click on Finish, as shown.

Wait for the installation to be completed and click on Finish. Fix Steam Content File Locked

13. After installing Steam, move the steamapps backup folder you previously made to the installed Steam folder. 

14. Finally, restart your PC

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. Why is it taking so long for my Steam download to complete?

Ans. Too many games and large titles in the Steam library, a malfunctioning download server, an obsolete network driver, and an unreliable network connection are all reasons for sluggish Steam download speeds.

Q2. Why isn’t Steam downloading?

Ans. Servers in a particular region may be sluggish, overloaded, or suffer from a hardware breakdown, creating download problems. Use a different set of content servers and temporarily move to a different download area. Download Region > Steam > Settings > Downloads

Q3. What is the procedure for unlocking a content file?

Ans. Steam should be relaunched when you restart your PC. Go to the LIBRARY menu and right-click on the game that’s causing you trouble. Select the Local Files tab from the Properties menu. Steam will validate the game’s integrity in a few minutes if you click the verify integrity of game files button.


We hope this information was helpful and that you were able to fix Steam content file locked issue. If you have any questions, suggestions, or if you have any other way to steam download content file locked issue, please reach out to us in the comment section below.