How to fix Steam content file locked error?

by Ugnius Kiguolis - -

Question

Issue: How to fix Steam content file locked error?

Hello. I was trying to update a Path of Exile game via Steam, and I received a “Content file locked” error. This never happened before. I want to be able to enjoy the new patch, just like everybody else. Is there anything I could do to fix this? Thanks in advance.

Solved Answer

Steam is the largest gaming platform globally, hosing more than 30,000 games, DLCs, videos, comments, reviews, and other content. At any given time, there are approximately 20 million people logged on the platform,[1], so its engineers are committed to making it run smoothly for all its users.

Unfortunately, that does not mean that players never encounter problems – Steam games won't launch, accounts get hijacked,[2] disk write errors, and others, occur. Steam content file locked is one of the recent issues that gamers encountered.

Content file locked Steam error occurs when trying to download a new game or update the existing one in the Steam library. Without a doubt, download and update issues can cause significant downtime for gamers, and instead of playing their favorite titles, they are forced to look for ways to fix Content file locked Steam error.

During the update process of a game, users encounter the following Steam content file locked error:

Steam – Error

An error occurred while updating [game] (content file locked):

C:\\Program Files (x86)\\Steam\\steamapps\\[game name]

See the Steam support site for more information

Unfortunately, the Steam content file locked error does not provide many details to perform an easy fix. Users reported that the issue arises suddenly, all after not having any problems with the particular game updating. In some cases, players might be locked out of the game due to the inability to update it to the latest version.

How to fix Steam content file locked error?

Unsurprisingly, there are several ways to fix Steam content file locked error, as there is no universal solution that would work for everybody. If you are wondering which solution would work for you, it highly depends on your system configuration, installed programs, permissions, and many other factors. Thus, check the fixes we provide below, and at least one of them should help you with the issue.

Before you start, however, we would like you to offer a fix with  Reimage. Under certain circumstances, it could help you fix Content file locked Steam error automatically. If it did not help, proceed with the solutions provided below.

Fix 1. Launch Steam with administrator's rights

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One of the most primitive, yet effective solutions to fix Steam Content file locked error is to launch the platform with elevated permissions. Here's how to do it:

  • Press Win + E on your keyboard
  • Navigate to the following location (note: this might vary if you did not install Steam into a default location):

    C:\\Program Files (x86)\\Steam

  • Scroll down until you find the steam.exe file
  • Right-click on it, and select Run as administrator
  • If User Account Control shows up, click YesRun Steam as Administrator
  • Try to download the update or a game once again to see if the issue is fixed

Fix 2. Check your security software

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Overly aggressive security software can sometimes prevent certain game files from being downloading, mistakenly branding them as malicious. To prevent this from happening, you can temporarily disable the real-time protection feature and attempt to download the problematic files once again.

There are no universal guidelines on how to disable real-time protection, as it all depends on the security software you are using. Thus, visit your anti-malware program's official website and find the instructions there.

Disable antivirus real-time protection

Fix 3. Verify game file integrity

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  • Open Steam and go to your Library
  • Right-click on the problematic game and select Properties
  • Go to Local files tab
  • Click on Verify integrity of game files…Verify game integrity files
  • Wait till the process completes and check if Steam Content file locked issue is still present.

If that did not help, you can also try to reinstall the problematic game.

Fix 4. Delete the problematic file

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If you take a look at the Steam content file locked error, it will typically provide you with details of where the problematic file is located. All you have to do is go to the mentioned location and attempt to delete the file, and then attempt to update a game once again. The file should be located in the “downloading” folder in Steam folder:

C:\\Program Files (x86)\\Steam\\steamapps\\downloading

Delete problematic file

Fix 5. Run check disk command via Command Prompt

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In some cases, hard disk issues can be causing the Steam Content file locked error. Therefore, you should access Command Prompt and perform the disk check:

  • Type in cmd in Windows search
  • Right-click on Command Prompt result and pick Run as administrator
  • Type in the following command and press Enter:

    chkdsk c: /f /r /x

  • If you receive an error claiming that the volume is in use, type in the letter “Y” and then press Enter once againRun Check disk via Command Prompt
  • The check disk will be perform the next time you restart your PC.

Fix 6. Reset Winsock

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Some users said that resetting Winsock[3] helped them to fix the issue. Here's how to do it:

  • Open Command Prompt as Administrator as explained in the previous step
  • Type in the following command and press Enter:

    netsh winsock reset

  • Reboot your machineReset Winsock

Fix 7. Reinstall Steam

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If none of the above solutions worked for you, you should reinstall Steam altogether. Many users claimed that this managed to achieve a permanent Steam content file locked error fix.

  • Type in Control Panel in Windows search and press Enter
  • Go to Programs > Uninstall a program
  • Find Steam, right-click and select UninstallReinstall Steam
  • Proceed with the on-screen instructions to finalize the process
  • Go to the official Steam website and download the newest client
  • Install, log back in, and then re-download all the games.

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About the author
Ugnius Kiguolis
Ugnius Kiguolis - The problem solver

Ugnius Kiguolis is the founder and editor-in-chief of UGetFix. He is a professional security specialist and malware analyst who has been working in IT industry for over 20 years.

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