FIX: Steam family sharing not working

Radu Tyrsina
by Radu Tyrsina
CEO & Founder
Last update:
Affiliate Disclosure

  • Steam Family Sharing is a feature that Steam introduced that allows multiple users to share the same account from different PCs.
  • Thanks to this feature, those within the Family Sharing feature have access to the same game without having to buy the game multiple times.
  • For more troubleshooting guides and tutorials, check out our dedicated Steam Guides hub.
  • If you're an avid gamer, then you'll love our dedicated Steam page.
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Steam family sharing lets up to 5 users access Steam games from up to 10 different computers. We published a guide on adding friends on Steam, and users have complained that Steam family sharing is not working for them.

If you also experience this issue where your Steam family sharing stopped working, read this post to the end for solutions for resolving this error.

How do I fix Steam family sharing not working?

1. De-authorize and authorize shared Steam library

  1.  First, the owner of the Steam Library should navigate to the Device Management page.
  2. Next, click on Manage Family Library Sharing.
    • Find the problematic computer and unmark the checkbox beside it.
  3. With the computer unauthorized, use it to launch a game on the shared Steam library.
  4. On requesting, you will be told that you are not authorized to access the game.
    • Request access from this screen.
  5. When the borrower requests access to the library, the owner will receive an email from Steam.
  6. Finally, hit the link on the body of the email to re-authorize the computer.

2. Run an SFC scan


  1. On your computer, press the Windows key and R to open the Run dialog box.
  2. Next, type cmd in Run and hit the following combination:
    • CRTL + SHIFT + ENTER to launch Command Prompt with Admin privileges.
  3. Finally, input the following command in Command Prompt and hit Enter:
    • sfc/scannow.

3. Disable antivirus or exclude SteamApps files

Your antivirus could sometimes flag Steam files as risky and block them. If you experience the Steam library not working problem, disable your antivirus and try again.

Another way to fix this issue if it’s caused by your antivirus is to exclude the file path from the virus scanning. The Steam path is located in C:Program FilesSteamSteamAppsCommon.

4. Verify the integrity of the game files

  1. Disable your antivirus temporarily.
  2. Restart your computer and then launch Steam.
  3. Open the Steam library and choose the game on which you got the error.
  4. Right-click on the game and hit Properties.
  5. Now, in the Properties window, click on LOCAL FILES and then select the VERIFY INTEGRITY OF GAME CACHE button.

5. Reset the Winsock catalog


  1. Press Windows + R and input cmd into the Run dialog box. Hit Enter to open Command Prompt.
  2. Enter netsh winsock reset in Command Prompt and hit Enter to run it.
  3. Restart your computer to complete the operation and fix Steam.

Sometimes, an updated Winsock catalog can cause Steam family sharing not to work. Resetting Winsock usually solves the problem.

6. Relocate the Steam installation files

Relocating the Steam installation files can delete some important data, so you may want to back up your installation folder before continuing with this solution.

  1. Close the Steam application.
  2. Go to the Steam installation folder at C:Program FilesSteam.
  3. Locate the following files – SteamApps, Steam.exe, and Userdata. Copy these files to a different location.
  4. Next, delete all the files in the Steam directory.
  5. Copy the SteamApps, Steam.exe, and Userdata files back to the Steam directory.

Follow the above solutions when Steam family sharing stops working. Some steps here should be carried out from the borrower’s end and others from the owner.

Did these solutions help you out? How did you repair this issue? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Family Sharing is a feature introduced in Steam that allows family members to share games while keeping their accounts separate. Simply search for the users, and then annotated them as family members.

  • Yes, family sharing settings allow other Steam accounts, whether on the same PC or two separate ones, to play the games other users have bought.

  • As long as all users that share an account take note of the safety measure involved, then Steam Family Sharing is a safe feature.

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I’ve been using Steam Family Sharing for years.
It’s asinine how many times I come back to Steam and ‘whups’ it doesn’t show shared games…again.
I’m not a tinfoil hatter, but this has been too endemic a problem to be accidental. They simply, deeply regret offering the ‘feature’ and are essentially trying to disable it by inconvenience.

About number 6, what location should I copy the Steam.exe (and others) files to? I hope this will work for me, I couldn’t access my friend’s games anymore after I reinstalled Steam. Thanks so much for your help!