GamingHow To'sWindows

10 Ways to Fix Steam Content File Locked

Steam is arguably the ideal way to play PC games. It’s flexible and has many games. The platform makes it easy to keep all your content in one place, plan times with mates, and even join other gaming groups.

But things aren’t always as easy as they may sound, though. Sometimes when users try to update their games, they get an error message that says content file locked. Most of the time, all you have to do to update Steam is right-click and run the update. But if this doesn’t solve your error, then here is how you can fix this error.

1. Do a Disk Scan

A disc scan looks for possible errors in your machine. The disc scan will then try to resolve those errors if it can. Go to cmd from the Start menu, right-click it, and choose “Run as administrator”. You need to be an administrator to do the task, or it won’t work.

After that, press Enter after typing chkdsk c:/f. Then you’ll need to type Y so that. To run the test, restart your system. After the disc scan, your system will start up, as usual, hopefully with the errors resolved.

2. Disable Your Antivirus

Your antivirus software is usually too watchful and might stop Steam from updating. Even though you shouldn’t turn off your antivirus software all the time, it’s okay to do so when you update Steam.

You can turn it on again after updating it. You can also whitelist Steam in your antivirus software, which is another thing you can do. By showing that Steam is not dangerous, your antivirus software will overlook it and let links from Steam’s servers come in.

Here’s how you can turn off antivirus in Windows:

Find the icon for the antivirus software in the notification area of Windows. Now right-click the antivirus option and choose Disable or a similar option. In some situations, you may have to open the software and use its menu options to turn it off.

After turning off the antivirus software, please follow the steps below to make sure the game files are safe:

  1. Turn off your machine and start Steam again.
  2. Go to the LIBRARY. Choose Properties and right-click on the game creating the problem.
  3. Go to the Local Files tab from the Properties. Now, press the “VERIFY INTEGRITY OF GAME FILES” button. Steam will then check that game.

3. Repair Corrupt Files

The Steam Content File Locked error can occur if there are corrupt files. Don’t fret. There is a way to fix it.

  1. Close Steam if you have it open. And go to where Steam is stored.
  2. Open the Logs folder (C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\logs) and select the “.txt” file.
  3. Go to the bottom and look through the text file to see if there are any mistakes. Close this file.
  4. Now go to the root folder.
  5. Relaunch Steam and go to your downloads. Here, you’ll see Steam wanting you to update the game. You’ll be good to go once you’ve updated the necessary files.

4. Reset Winsock

The Winsock catalog is another possible thing that could cause “Steam content file locked”.

Winsock defines the interface between a TCP/IP protocol stack and a Windows TCP/IP client application running in the background. The names are based on the Berkeley sockets API model. This model is used by BSD to let programs talk to each other.

Here is how you can reset Winsock:

  1. Press the Windows icon and the R key.
  2. Type cmd in the Run box and click OK to open cmd.
  3. In the cmd, type “netsh winsock reset”. Now, hit enter. netsh winsock reset

After you’ve done all three steps and given Winsock a break, try updating games and check the content file locked steam fix.

5. Remove the download files

Another cause for the Steam Content File Locked error is that the game tried to update but ran into an error. This error sometimes occurs due to Steam having duplicate files.

Open C: > Program Files (x86) > Steam > steamapps > downloading. This folder is where Steam downloads and updates files while they are being worked on. If a file keeps updating, delete it from this folder and try again. Steam can do the update right if it does not have to deal with the duplicate file.

6. Run Steam as an Administrator

Some files and folders on Steam need special approvals. Windows will block access to the folder and show the Steam error “Content file is locked.”

Here is what you can do:

  1. Right-click on Steam and click “Properties” from the menu.
  2. Go to the Compatibility tab, and select the Run as Administrator. Now click the Apply button, then click OK.
  3. Run Steam and check if the issue still occurs.

7. Restart Your PC

Some programs on your machine could cause problems with Steam or your game. This can cause the “content file locked” problem. Try turning off unwanted programs by relaunching your machine. After doing so, update your game again to see if the problem is still there.

8. Clear the download cache on Steam

The Steam download cache works the same way that any other cache does. It makes it very convenient to get to files that are stored in the cache, but errors can occur and cause updates to crash, resulting in the “content file locked” error to appear.

Open Steam, then go to Steam > Settings > Downloads and click Clear Download Cache. It could take a couple of minutes to finish. Steam will have to start up again. This one step can fix more than just this one Steam issue.

9. Move the Steam installation folder and game files

You need to move Steam game installation files and hope that it will run as expected. If something goes wrong during launch, we have to reinstall Steam. If the easier ways didn’t work for you, we have to move the directories for Steam Installation and Games. Here is a list of all the steps:

  1. Go to your Steam client and then “Library”.
  2. Right-click on the game and click on “Properties”.
  3. After that select “Local Files” from the right sidebar.
  4. Now, click on “Move install folder” to choose the new path for your files.
  5. Now select your path where you want to move Steam files of your choice.
  6. Find the Steam directory you are currently in (default is: C: \Program Files \Steam).
  7. Remove everything except the SteamApps and UserData folders. Also don’t delete exe.
  8. Cut and paste all the folders into the new directory you chose above.
  9. Open Steam and log in again.

10. Uninstall And Reinstall Steam

If nothing else works, you can delete Steam from your machine and put it back on. To get rid of Steam, go to Control Panel > Uninstall a program and right-click on Steam. Choose to remove. After uninstalling Steam, reboot your machine and reinstall it. Keep in mind that doing this will delete everything on Steam, including any games you have.

The file for installation can be found on Steam’s website. Just do it again by following the steps. This happens to be the last resort to fix this issue, but it has worked in the past.


Steam is a great way to play games on a PC. Don’t let a few small mistakes stop you from your gaming passion. If you know how to fix the issues you run into, you’ll be fine.

We have gone through all the possible content file-locked steam fix errors. Hope you find the right way to fix this problem based on what’s causing it.


How to fix content file locked on steam?

  1. Turn off the anti-virus software. If it is open, it won’t let you save data to your drive.
  2. Change the area where Steam is installed and where the game files are kept.
  3. Reset Winsock.
  4. Check your hard drive’s health.
  5. Run Steam as admin.

How do I clear the cache on Steam?

  1. Follow the below steps to clear Steam’s cache.
  2. Go to Steam > Settings.
  3. You will see a CLEAR DOWNLOAD CACHE option in the Settings panel’s Downloads tab. Click on it.
  4. Now click OK to verify that you know you’ll have to sign in to Steam once more.

Why is downloading on Steam taking so long?

One clear reason for this issue is that there are too many games. Plus, you have big titles in the Steam app’s library. Or maybe the network driver is out of date, the download server isn’t working right, or the network connection isn’t stable.

Hamza Maqsood

Hamza is a tech writer at Hack Today. He writes tech tips, tricks, and quick fixes to help people fix problems with their computers, PS4s, and phones. He has been interested in technology and marketing for a long time and likes to research complicated tech issues. When he's not tinkering with computers and software, he can be found at the field playing football.

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