The content file is locked on Steam [Quick Guide]

by Madalina Dinita
Madalina Dinita
Madalina Dinita
Windows & Software Expert
Madalina has been a Windows fan ever since she got her hands on her first Windows XP computer. She is interested in all things technology, especially emerging technologies... read more
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  • Worldwide users claimed that the content file got locked on Steam while trying to update a certain game.
  • If you face the same issue, resetting Winsock might really help you.
  • Some people reported that changing Steam and game files location is a great option to try.
  • In order to unlock the content file on Steam, you should check that your antivirus is not causing some related conflicts.
Content file locked Steam error

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Many users reported that the content file is locked on Steam and this usually happens while trying to update certain games.

Even if Steam is one of the most popular apps, this kind of error might appear repeatedly, not letting you enjoy a complete experience.

Since this seems to be a big problem for some users, today we’ll show you how to fix it.

Before discovering the best solutions to try, you should take a look at the following information and find what this error implies.

What is the Steam Content file locked error?

If you don’t know what is this all about, keep in mind that when facing this issue it means that Steam is not able to update files to the hard disk.

In other words, the app can’t access the files it needs to update and you should know that this usually happens due to a problem with permissions.

This is a widespread error that is deceptive in a way that it is often misunderstood as a complex or complicated problem, but with the proper approach, you can fix it effortlessly.

Now, let’s see what you can do to fix this annoying issue in a matter of minutes.

What can I do if my content file is locked on Steam?

  1. Reset Winsock
  2. Change Steam and game files location
  3. Check your antivirus

1. Reset Winsock

  1. Use the following keyboard shortcut to open the Windows Run dialog box: Windows + R.
  2. Input netsh winsock reset and press on the Enter key.
  3. After this, restart your computer.

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Sometimes to fix the Content file locked Steam error you just need to reset Winsock. To do this, follow the command below.

2. Change Steam and game files location

  1. Hit the Windows key, type Steam, then open the app.
  2. From the top-left corner of the window, click on Steam.
  3. Now, go to Settings.
  4. From the left window pane, choose the Downloads tab.
  5. Click on the Steam Library Folders button.
  6. Select the Add button, then choose the new location for Steam.
  7. Close the Steam Client.
  8. Now, right-click on your Steam shortcut, then choose to Open file location.
  9. Delete the exe and all the files except UserData and SteamApp folders.
  10. Move these files to the location you specified in Step 3.
  11. Open Steam and log in again.

3. Move Steam files

➡ Automatically

  1. Close Steam, then right-click on the Steam shortcut, and choose to Open file location.
  2. Now, search for the steamapps folder, then move it to your desktop.
  3. Hit the Windows key, type Control Panel, then open it.
  4. In the opened window, click on Uninstall a program.
  5. Search for Steam, click on it, then choose to Uninstall it.
  6. Now, navigate to the Steam download page.
  7. From the top-right corner of the window, choose to Install Steam.
  8. Install Steam again to the new location.
  9. Move the SteamApps folder in the Steam directory.
  10. Open steam and enter your log-in details.

➡ Manually

  1. Hit the Windows key, type Steam, then open the desktop client.
  2. From the main menu, select Library.
  3. Right-click on the game you need, then click on Properties.
  4. Go to Local Files.
  5. Select Move Install Folder.
  6. Browse to the new location and select it

4. Check your antivirus

In some cases, the Content file locked Steam error may appear because of the antivirus on your computer.

You can disable the antivirus while you update the game. This method differs depending on the antivirus you use, so be sure to look for instructions online on how to disable your antivirus.

If disabling the antivirus doesn’t help, you might have to uninstall your antivirus or switch to different antivirus software.

You can find lots of antivirus programs with high-security functionalities, but still, you should find the perfect balance between gaming benefits and system protection.

For this purpose, you will find a reliable option if you consider the best antivirus software for gaming.

What other Steam files error should I be aware of?

Of course, the Steam Content file locked error is not the only file-related issue you can encounter on Steam. To prevent them, make sure you check some other popular problems:

  • Steam error: Missing files privileges – It can be very stressful to get the this error message when trying to accept a gifted game, transfer a gift from an account to another, or simply when trying to run specific games. That’s why we’ve compiled a series of solutions that will help you to easily fix it.
  • Steam 1 file failed to validate and will be reacquired – This one pops up for some users when they try to verify game integrity for a Steam game that frequently crashes. Fortunately, you can always check our dedicated guide to solve it in a matter of time.

These are some simple solutions that you can use if the content file was locked on Steam. Be sure to try them all and let us know in the comments section which solution worked for you.

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