How to Fix Steam Content File Locked

How to Fix Steam Content File Locked

/ Shayne Sherman

Steam is one of the best distributors of digital copies of video games. It has many video game titles, from the most uncomplicated games to the latest AAA titles. What makes Steam great is that you can manage all your games through its top-notch user interface, which is easy and convenient.

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However, just like any other software. Steam may also encounter a few hiccups once in a while. One of the most common issues with Steam is that when you try to update a game on your Library, you will get a content file-locked error, making it difficult to update your games. This isn’t the same as the Steam games not launching issue.

There are a couple of reasons you are experiencing this issue on Steam. Your antivirus, corrupted files, or a write-protected hard drive can cause this error.

In this guide, we will show you a few methods you can easily follow to try and fix the Steam content file locked error message when updating games on Steam.

Let’s get right into it.

Common Reasons for Steam Content File Locked Issues

Steam is a reliable platform, but sometimes you may still experience the Steam content file locked issue. Understanding the common reasons for this problem will help you resolve the issue more effectively. Below are some of the most likely causes for the Steam content file locked error:

  1. Antivirus Software Interference: Your antivirus software may be falsely flagging a game file as a threat and preventing Steam from updating it. This can trigger the content file locked error in Steam.
  2. Corrupted Game Files: If certain game files have been corrupted or are missing, Steam may not able to update the game correctly, and you may encounter the content file locked error.
  3. Hard Drive Write-Protection: Write-protected hard drives can prevent Steam from making changes to your game files during an update, leading to the content file locked error.
  4. Insufficient Administrative Privileges: If Steam does not have the required administrative rights to update game files, it may result in the content file locked issue.
  5. Incorrect File Locations: If the location of your steam files is incorrect, the content file locked error might appear. This might happen when the Steam folder is moved without updating the path in the settings.
  6. Network Connectivity Issues: Issues with your internet connection, such as unstable connections or download errors, can also cause Steam to display the content file locked message.
  7. User Account Control Settings: If your Windows User Account Control (UAC) settings restrict Steam from updating your games, you may experience the content file locked error.

By understanding the possible causes behind the Steam content file locked issue, you should be able to troubleshoot the problem better. Refer to the methods mentioned in the article to pinpoint the cause and apply the appropriate solution to resolve the issue and enjoy smooth gaming once again.

How to Fix Steam Content File Locked

Method 1: Verify the Integrity of Game Files

The first thing you can do to fix the content file locked issue on Steam is to verify the integrity of game files downloaded on your computer. It is possible that some of the game files got corrupted during use or while updating the game.

To fix this, you can use Steam’s built-in tool to check the game files on your computer, and it will automatically download corrupted or missing files from your hard drive. Check out the steps below to guide you through the process.

Step 1. On your computer, open Steam and login into your account.

Step 2. Next, click on Library and right-click on the game you wish to update.

Step 3. After that, click on Properties to open Settings.

steam game properties

Step 4. Lastly, click on the Local Files tab and tap Verify Integrity of Game Files.

verify game integrity

Now, after verifying the integrity of the game files. You can try updating the game again to see if the Steam content file-locked problem is already resolved.

However, if you still have problems with Steam after doing the steps above. You can proceed to the following method below.

Method 2: Change Steam Files Location Folder

The next thing you can do to try and fix the content file locked error is to change the location of the Steam files folder in the Steam directory. Steam may be having issues accessing the current Steam folder on your computer, which causes the problem.

Similar issues:

To change the location of files on your computer, follow the steps below.

Step 1. Open Steam on your computer and click on the Steam tab in the upper left corner of your screen.

Step 2. After that, click on Settings.

steam settings

Step 3. Now, click on the Downloads tab and select Steam Library Folders.

steam library folders

Step 4. Next, click on Add Library Folder to create a new location for the Steam files on your computer.

Step 5. Close Steam and go to C: Program FilesSteam.

Step 6. Lastly, copy the contents of the Steam folder to the new Library Folder you created. Then, delete the .EXE and all the files except UserData and SteamApp folder on C: Program FilesSteam.

Now, launch Steam and try to update the games to see if the content file locked error message would still appear.

On the other hand, if the error message still appears after changing the Steam File Folder. You can try performing the Winsock reset command discussed in detail below.

Method 3: Reset Winsock

In some cases, it is possible that your computer encountered an error while downloading game files on Steam. Luckily, there’s a Windows command that you can use to recover the computer from any socket error while downloading files to your hard drive.

To use the Winsock reset command, check out the steps below.

Step 1. Press the Windows Key + S on your computer and search for Command Prompt.

Step 2. Click on Run as Administrator to launch the Command Prompt with Admin privileges.

run command prompt administrator

Step 3. Lastly, on Command Prompt, type netsh winsock reset and hit Enter.

netsh winsock reset

Now, wait for the process to complete, which can take a couple of seconds. After that, launch Steam and try to update the games on your Library to see if the content file locked error would still appear on your computer.

Method 4: Run Steam as an Administrator

Another thing that you can do to try and fix the locked file error is to launch Steam as an administrator. This way, Steam would have all the required administrative privileges to make changes to the files on your hard drive.

Step 1. Go to your Desktop and right-click on Steam.

Step 2. Now, click on Properties.

steam launcher properties

Step 3. Lastly, go to the Compatibility tab and make sure that Run this Program as an Administrator is marked checked. Now, click on Apply to save the changes.

steam game compatibility options

After that, launch Steam and try updating the games on your Library to check if the issue still occurs on your computer.

However, if you still encounter the content file locked error. You can proceed to the last method below to try and fix the problem.

Method 5: Reinstall the Game

Sadly, the last thing you can do is redownload the game on Steam. There’s a possibility that the game files are corrupted beyond repair, and the best thing to do is to download a fresh copy of the game to ensure that there will be no problems occurring in the future.

Step 1. Open Steam Client and click on the Library tab.

Step 2. After that, right-click on the game that you are having problems updating.

Step 3. Now, click on Properties to open its Settings.

steam game properties

Step 4. Next, click on the Local Files tab and select Uninstall Game.

uninstall steam games

Step 5. Lastly, click on the game that you have uninstalled and tap on Install to redownload the game files to your computer.

Now, downloading the game can take a while, depending on the size of the files. Wait for it to finish and see in the future if you would still have problems updating the game on Steam.

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Suppose your content file is still locked after verifying the integrity of game files, changing the location folder, resetting Winsock, and running Steam as administrator. In that case, you may have to reinstall the game. We hope this guide helped fix your “Steam content file locked” error. Please let us know in the comments below if you have any other questions or suggestions.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I fix content locked on Steam?

Content locked on Steam can be fixed by opening the Steam client, going to the “Library” tab, right-clicking on the game in question, and selecting “Properties.” Under the “Local Files” tab, there should be an option to “Verify integrity of game cache.” This will check for any missing or corrupted files and attempt to fix them.

Why does my Steam say content file locked?

One possible reason why your Steam says content file locked is that the system is still processing the files. The content may be locked because it is still being transferred or installed. Additionally, it is possible that the content file is corrupted, which is why Steam cannot access it. If you continue to experience this issue, you may want to try restarting your computer or contacting Steam support for further assistance.

How do I remove Steam restrictions?

If you’re looking to remove Steam restrictions, there are a few things you’ll need to do. First, you’ll need to log into your Steam account and go to your account settings. From there, you’ll need to find the “Content and Privacy” tab and click on it. Once in the Content and Privacy tab, you’ll see an option that says, “Remove all restrictions.

How do I unlock a Steam game?

To unlock a game in Steam, you must first purchase the game from the Steam store. Once the game is purchased, you must install the Steam client onto your computer. Once the Steam client is installed, you must log in with your Steam account credentials. After logging in, you can access the game from your Steam library.

How do I fix a corrupted Steam file?

If you are experiencing issues with your Steam files, it is possible that they have become corrupted. To fix this, you must delete the corrupt files and re-download them from the Steam server.
First, open your Steam client and go to your “Library” tab.
Right-click on the game giving you issues and select “Delete Local Content.”
Confirm that you want to delete the selected files.

How do I check if a Steam file is corrupted?

You can use the Steam Verify Integrity of Game Files tool to check Steam for corrupt files. This tool will scan your game files and verify that they are not corrupted. If any corrupted files are found, the tool will fix them.

Shayne Sherman
Meet the author

Shayne is an expert on all things Microsoft Windows and computer security. As a Windows user of over 30 years, he has been featured on Business Insider, Yahoo, Tech Republic, Hacker Noon, Techopedia, and many other publications. Aside from entertaining at his home theater, he enjoys spending time with his family, including his English bulldog, Fergie.