How to permanently fix Content file locked Steam error

Madalina Dinita
by Madalina Dinita
Managing Editor
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  • Many users reported the Content File Locked error in Steam while trying to update certain games.
  • To permanently fix this error, you should reset Winsock and move your installed games to a different drive, blow you will see a step-by-step guide on how to do this.
  • If you have problems with Steam, check out our Steam Troubleshooting page where you will find fixes for most Steam errors.
  • The Gaming Page is where we discuss most game and launcher problems, so if you have a gaming-related issue, head over there to find a solution.
Content file locked Steam error

Many users reported the Content file locked Steam error while trying to update certain games. This error simply means that Steam can’t write the files to the hard drive. Since this is a big problem for some users, today we’ll show you how to fix it.

How to fix Content file locked error in Steam? Firstly, make sure that your antivirus isn’t blocking Steam. To do that, add the Steam directory to the list of exclusions or disable your antivirus temporarily. If the issue is still present, try resetting Winsock or change Steam‘s install location.

How can I fix Content file locked Steam error?

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

1. Reset Winsock

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

  1. Press the Windows Key + R keys.
  2. Enter netsh winsock reset and press Enter or click OK.

netsh winsock reset Content file locked Steam error

After this, restart your computer.

2. Change Steam and game files locationadd library folder steam Content file locked

  1. Go to Stream Client and click Settings.
  2. Click Downloads and select Steam Library Folders.
  3. Select Add Library folder and select the new location for Steam.
  4. Close the Steam Client.
  5. Go to your Steam directory, the default location is
    C:\Program Files\Steam
  6. Delete the exe and all the files except UserData and SteamApp folders.
  7. Move these files to the location you specified in Step 3.
  8. Open Steam and log in again.

If the error persists, move on to these steps:

  1. Close Steam.
  2. Go to the new Steam location.
  3. Move the SteamApps folder from the directory to your desktop.
  4. Uninstall Steam.
  5. Install Steam again to the new location.
  6. Move the SteamApps folder in the Steam directory.
  7. Open steam and enter your log-in details.

Additionally, you can have Steam move the files automatically:

  1. Right-click on the game
  2. Click on Properties
  3. Go to Local Files
  4. Select Move Install Folder
  5. Browse to the new location and select it

You should change the location of the Steam installation and the game files. By doing so you should be able to fix Content file locked Steam error.

3. Check your antivirus

bitdefender Content file locked Steam error

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. If you’re in need of reliable antivirus software that won’t interfere with your gaming sessions, be sure to try out Bitdefender.

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

FAQ: Steam Content Locked error

  • How do I clear my Steam cache?

You should clean your Steam cache whenever you have problems with your downloads stopping. To do this, follow our full guide to getting downloads to work correctly.

  • Can you copy Steam games to another hard drive?

Yes, it’s actually very easy if you follow the steps above.

  • How do I fix content locked on Steam?

This quick guide will show you how to fix this problem.

  • Why is my Steam download so slow?

Follow our full guide on how to increase Steam download speeds.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2019 and has been since revamped and updated in March 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.