A few months ago, I tried to update Counter-strike on Steam. Suddenly an error message “content file locked” showed up. After some research, I realized it is an occasional occurrence for some Steam users.
I also discovered multiple solutions to the Steam content file locked error. Moreover, I learned about the causes of this error. I will talk to you about the issues alongside in the next section.
So, how did I fix my Steam content file is locked issue? Here’s how.
1. Check Your Antivirus
Occasionally, some games and software stop working on my PC. To my realization, the antivirus software is also a frequent cause.
Typically, the antivirus treats those games and software as a threat to your PC. When the Steam content file is locked issue occurred, I checked my antivirus software.
To my surprise, it was a possible solution to this issue. The answer was to disable my antivirus. Just temporarily.
The steps are pretty simple. Just watch how I do it.
- Locate the antivirus software icon on my PC Windows notification area
- Right-click on the antivirus icon
- Select Stop, Shut Down, Disable
If you use Avast as I do, you can disable it for 10 minutes or an hour on the drop-down at the Avast shields control.
What follows is to recheck the files. How do we go about it?
- Restart PC and then relaunch Steam
- Go to the LIBRARY tab. Right-click on the game with issues
- Select Properties (Properties window opens).
- Click on LOCAL FILES
- Select VERIFY INTEGRITY OF GAME FILES…button( Steam will verify files)
- Now, let’s try to update Steam games.
Well, that’s one way of solving the content file locked error. If the error persists… there is something else you can do.
You can change the location of Steam and game files.
2. Change Location of Steam and Game Files
Sometimes, the Steam content file may lock because of where you installed it and the game files.
Changing the location is pretty straightforward. Here’s is an easy approach for you. Follow closely.
- Open Steam. (User interface opens). Click on the Steam tab on your top left.
- Select Settings (Another page with long menu opens)
- Click on Downloads, then click on STEAM LIBRARY FOLDERS button
- Click on ADD LIBRARY FOLDER (You will see on the lower-left side of small tab that opens)
- Choose a new location for your files. Then, close the tab.
- Go to Steam Directory (Usually located in Local Disk C under “Program Files(x86)”)
- Delete the Steam .exe file and every other file except User Data and SteamApp Folders.
- Now move these files to the new location chosen in step 5.
- Open Steam again, log in and try to update your Steam games again.
If the Steam content file remains locked, there is an easy route to fix this issue from here. First, let’s close Steam.
- Browse where we moved Steam earlier on.
- Move the SteamApp folder from Directory to the desktop area.
- Now let’s uninstall Steam. (This action ejects the old Steam settings from PC)
- Now, let’s reinstall Steam to the previously decided location.
- Let’s now move the SteamApps folder to the new Steam directory. (All your game content, the saved settings, and games will move here.)
- Now, launch Steam and enter your profile details to log in.
- Verify integrity of the Steam game files (As we did it in when checking antivirus)
- Now play.
Wow… this does not end here. I have more tricks that could still serve as a solution when your content files lock.
Another trick is to repair any corrupt files. Now, this is pretty simple. Let me show you how.
3. Repair Steam Corrupt Files
When the above tricks fail to work, you could troubleshoot the corrupted file. Here is a step by step procedure how.
- Leave Steam,
- Then go to your Steam directory. (Often in your local disk C, under Program Files(x86))
How: Simply click File Explorer on the taskbar, open This PC, click Local Disk C, then you will land on Program Files(x86)
- Go to Logs folder, then click on Txt.
- Scroll down the text file and look out for any errors that could be affecting your device)
- Now, go to a folder, root
- Restart Steam and go to your downloading folder
- Click the Update button.
This step should update the files and fix the error. In case the issue persists, do not give up. I still have a different trick that would work for you.
We could reset Winsock. Here’s how.
4. Reset Your Winsock
Sometimes Steam content file locks because of the Winsock catalog. Steps of resetting this catalog include:
- Press keyboard shortcut Windows key and R (The Run box opens)
- Type cmd in the box and click OK (A Window- Command Prompt opens)
- Type netsh winsock reset in the Command Prompt window). Then press Enter on your keyboard.
Note: Occasionally it might tell you to run Steam as administrator. I will show you in a section below as a separate solution
- Now try updating games again.
If the Steam content file locked issues surfaces, don’t worry, there is something we could still do.
One is to run Steam as an administrator. I will show you later, but first, we need to check the hard drive. Here’s how.
5. Check Hard Drive
The steam “content file is locked” error may be a result of a corrupted or damaged hard drive. Software like the MiniTool Partition Wizard checks for hardware sectors with issues.
Moreover, the MiniTool can move your OS from one disk to another. This process does not cost you any disk loss.
To check for corrupted areas of your hard drive, here is what to do:
- Download MiniTool, install, and launch to open interface.
- Click any disk you wish to test, then click Surface Test (On the menu on your left)
- Now, click on the Start Now button. (MiniTool will start testing the chosen disk)
After some time, this tool will show you the result.
Pay attention to the result. Red squares mean there are corrupted areas on the hard drive. Green squares indicate there are no corrupt areas on your drive.
Issues with your disk could mean the drive is on a fall. The good part is that MiniTool can recover data from the affected areas of your disk. These tools can also recover files lost to formatting, a virus, and deleting, among others.
This method is a masterstroke. However, you can go for an even easier approach-Running Steam as an administrator. Here’s how.
6. Run Steam as Administrator
In some cases, Steam could request permission to access files and folders. Without permission to access, the Steam content file is locker error could occur.
All we need to do here is to run Steam as Administrator. Here is how to do that:
- Right-click on Steam shortcut on your desktop and click on Properties
Pay attention: A page-Steam Properties-opens
- Click on Compatibility and look for Run as Administrator option.
- Click Apply and click OK.
- Run Steam again and see whether the problem persists.
Any of these techniques should fix the error “Steam content file is locked.” In case the problem continues, you may have to uninstall and reinstall Steam.
Pro Tip: Ensure you download the latest Steam and game version. This way, you do not have to update it again.
Any good game player just wants to play the latest version of the game. Issues like the Steam content file is locked could occur. The best part, you can solve the issue with the above steps. Just like that!