Easy Ways to Troubleshoot the Steam Content File Locked Error

The “Content file is locked” error message appears while updating a Steam game. It occurs when there are corrupted files in the gaming device. Steam fails to write update files on the hard disk for these problematic files. Thus, removing the unwanted system files can resolve this Steam error.

Do you use an antivirus program on the Windows PC? The chances are high that it has marked the Steam file as a virus. Thus, Steam is facing issues with writing those files on the hard drive. Besides, Steam cache can prevent users from updating the required games. 

An administrator can only update games on the Steam app. You can’t install the latest game version without administrative privileges. Hence, check whether you have permission to update the Steam games. If not, try to run the Steam account as an “administrator” to avoid further inconvenience.

Here are additional solutions to fix the Steam content file-locked error.

3 Fixes for Steam Content File Locked Error

Resolving this Steam error is pretty easy. Many users have fixed the “content file locked” error by rebooting the PC. Thus, you must first try to restart the Windows 10/11 device before using any solutions. Open the Steam app, go to “Library” and find the game that you want to update.

Right-click on the Steam game and choose “Properties” when the pop-up menu opens. Head towards “Updates”, select the beta or alpha version and enter the code when prompted. Then, check if Steam begins the game update process. 

If it is showing the “Steam content file locked” error, use these solutions instead:

  1. Start with Resetting Winsock

Winsock or the Windows Socket API connects Windows network software and network services. You can restore Steam’s connection to the PC by resetting Winsock. 

Besides, the Steam servers will allow you to update the games without any glitch. Here is how you can reset the Winsock catalogue on a Windows 10/11 device:

  • Press the Windows and X keys together and choose “Run” when the pop-up menu appears.
  • Write “cmd” in the dialogue box and press “Enter” to open the Command Prompt window.
  • Write “netsh winsock reset” and hit the “Enter” button afterwards.
  • The Windows device will reset the Winsock catalogue within 2-3 minutes.

Restart the computer and locate the Steam icon. Double-tap on the Steam app, go to “Library” and find the game that was causing update issues. Right-click on it, select “properties”, head to “updates” and choose the updated version. You can now update the Steam game file without receiving the error message. 

  1. Check the Antivirus Program

If the Steam game file is corrupted, the antivirus app might prevent you from downloading it. Thus, you must disable this security program before updating the game files. Otherwise, Steam might display the “content file is locked” error message. 

Here are the antivirus programs and their features that Steam users must turn off:

McAfee Antivirus

This high-end antivirus program scans all files before downloading them to the device. McAfee’s “real-time scanning” feature checks for viruses on the files before the PC accesses them. Thus, consider disabling this feature if you want to update the Steam game file.

Open the McAfee application from the Windows 10/11 computer. Head towards “Virus and Spyware Protection” and locate “Real-Time Scanning”. Toggle off this security feature and close the McAfee Antivirus window. Restart the gaming device, open Steam and check if you can update the game files. 

Check the Integrity of the Steam game files!

Steam allows you to check whether the game files are installed correctly using the “Verify integrity of game files” feature. Thus, users must turn on this feature after disabling the McAfee antivirus program. Open the Steam application and go to “Library”. 

Locate the game file where you are experiencing the “Steam content file locked” error. Right-click on the game, select “properties” and move toward “Local Files”. Tap on “Verify integrity of game files” and wait until Steam checks the file. You must reinstall the game if Steam detects any issue on the installation file.

Kaspersky AV

Kaspersky can mark “Steam” as a malicious program and block it from installing files on HDD. However, you can fix the “Steam content file locked” error by modifying Kaspersky’s settings. 

Open the antivirus program and go to “threads and exclusions”. Locate “trusted zone” when the next window opens and include “Steam.exe” in the trusted app list. 

Additionally, Steam users must disable the “Do not restrict application” feature. Search for “Do not scan opened files” and toggle off this option. Restart the Windows computer after changing the Kaspersky settings. 

Open the Steam app and verify the integrity of the game file. If there is a problem in the installation file, remove it. Reinstall the Steam game and start playing without any technical glitches. 

  1. Run the Check Disk Scan tool

There is a high possibility that the hard drive where you want to install the game file is corrupted. Running the “Check Disk Scan” tool can help you to repair the problematic hard drive. 

Here’s how you can access this Windows utility tool:

  • Press the Windows and X keys simultaneously and choose “Run” when the pop-up menu opens.
  • Write “cmd” in the dialogue box and hit the “Enter” button to access the Command Prompt tool.
  • Write “chkdsk c:/f” and press “Enter” to start the hard disk scanning process.

Hit the “Y” button if a confirmation message appears. The “Check Disk Scan” tool may take an hour to complete the scan, depending on the hard drive size. 

Don’t close the Command Prompt window until it completes the scanning. Restart the Windows device once it repairs the corrupted hard drive. Open Steam and update the game file without experiencing further issues. 

Lastly, Run the Steam Application as Administrator….

Windows device displays the error message for not running Steam as an administrator. Thus, right-click on the Steam icon and opt for “Properties” from the pop-up menu.

Go to “Compatibility” and check if “Run this program as an administrator” is enabled. If not, check this box, click “Ok” and close the Steam properties window. 

Restart the computer, open Steam, go to “Library” and check if you can update the game file. Uninstall and reinstall the Steam application if the “content file locked” error persists.

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