How to Fix a Steam “Content File Locked” Error

How to Fix a Steam “Content File Locked” Error

Steam is one of the most popular gaming platforms in the world, with more than 120 million active users. But it’s not always easy to get up and running, particularly if you don’t know what to do when you encounter a Steam “Content File Locked” Error. Find out what this Steam error message means, and how to fix it, in this article.

When you start playing games on Steam and you install a game of your liking, the game’s content files are put into the correct places and can be accessed by the game at times.

But sometimes errors happen that prevent the game from being played properly, and one of these dreadful errors is the “Content File Locked” error. This blog post discusses what causes this error, and how to fix it so that you can enjoy your Steam games again hassle-freely. So, if you are among the ones looking for it, then stay with us for the next couple of minutes.

What Causes the Steam “Content File Locked” Error?

There are a few things that can cause the “Content File Locked” error in Steam. One is if the game files are corrupted. This can happen if the game was not properly installed, if there was an error during an update, if the game was partially downloaded or if it was damaged in some other way.

Another thing that can provoke this error is if there are security software or permissions issues. Sometimes, antivirus or firewall software can block Steam from accessing the game files. Moreover, this error can also be caused by hardware issues, such as a faulty hard drive.

One more potential cause of this error is that the content you\’re trying to launch is currently being downloaded or updated by Steam. If this is the case, you\’ll just need to wait until this process is finished completely and successfully, before you\’ll be able to launch the content.

Finally, it\’s also possible that your Steam client is not up-to-date. This can prevent Steam from being able to properly launch certain files.

If you’re seeing this error, there are a few things you can try to fix it. We will be mentioning them in detail in the next section. So, keep reading guys!

Fixes for Steam “Content File Locked” Error


Below mentioned are some of the best methods that one can use to fix the problem of interest i.e., Steam “Content File Locked” Error. All these techniques have proven their worth so you must give each one of them a try at least once.

By Resetting Winsock

This method will assist in building a fresh new connection between the Steam application and its servers across your device connection. In this way, all the latest updates will be installed and any bugs or errors will be dealt with effectively.

For resetting Winsock (aka Windows Socket API), all you need to do is run the Command Prompt as an Administrator on your PC. Next, type in the following command inside the command prompt window i.e., netsh winsock reset.

After that, proceed with hitting the Enter key on your keyboard. Now, it will take some time to execute the command. Once done with this, go on and reboot your PC. Finally, check to see if the error is resolved or still persists.

By Clearing Download Cache

Clearing the cache files plays a major role in getting rid of many errors including this one. Here\’s how to clear the downloaded cache inside the Steam application.

  1. First, open the Steam desktop app on your PC.
  2. Next, navigate to the Settings section. 
  3. After that, click on the option labeled Downloads from the left pane window.
  4. Now, go and click on the CLEAR DOWNLOAD CACHE button appearing at the bottom end of the Settings window.
  5. Next, be patient as it will take some time to clear all the cache data files. Once done, click on the OK button. Finally, relaunch the Steam application and examine its behavior now.

By Carrying Out a Disk Scan 

This is another method that one can utilize in order to get rid of the Steam “Content File Locked” error. It helps in inspecting your PC and removing any bugs or errors encountered. 

For this, you need to first run the command prompt/terminal as an administrator. Then, type the following command i.e., chkdsk c:/f

After that, press the Enter key on your keyboard for its execution. Now, you will be asked, \”Checked the next time the system restarts?\” 

Proceed with typing the letter \”Y\” and hitting the Enter key again. Now, when your system reboots, a complete scan will be conducted and all junk data will be removed. As soon as your PC starts, check if the Steam error is now resolved or not. 

By Deactivating Your Antivirus Software

Some of you might be using antivirus programs like Avast Antivirus, Norton AntiVirus, Kaspersky Anti-Virus, etc. for the protection of your PC from malware, bugs, viruses, and trojans. 

However, in terms of the Steam application, you must disable your antivirus program when you are using it. Otherwise, this antivirus protection feature will interfere with the normal working of this application, thus leading to glitches and unsuccessful installation of important updates.

So, to avoid these errors allow Steam to run freely by providing it permission, so that it will be in the good books of your antivirus program.

By Launching the Steam App as Administrator

At times, some applications require administrator permissions or privileges for their successful operation. Try running the Steam app as administrator. Maybe this will assist you in coping with the error of interest. Here is how to set up the Steam app to run as an administrator.

  1. First, click on the search bar appearing in the bottom left-hand corner of your PC screen right next to the Windows icon.
  2. Next, type in Steam and click on the option Open file location from the right-pane window.
  3. After that, a new window will open. From here, right-click on the file named steam.exe
  4. Now, from the context menu, click on the option labeled Properties.
  5. Next, from the prompted window, click on the tab named Compatibility.
  6. After that, click on the check box present on the left-hand side of the option i.e., Run this program as an administrator, to enable it.
  7. Now, click on Apply followed by clicking on OK.

Finally, with this step completed you will now be able to run the Steam app as an administrator. So, what are you waiting for, go on and launch it! Then also examine whether the error is resolved or not.

By Uninstalling & Then Reinstalling Steam App

If none of the above-mentioned methods worked for you then don’t worry. You can go on with uninstalling and then reinstalling the Steam app to cope with the aroused error. This will give the application a fresh new start.

  1. First, launch the PC Settings by searching for it in the search bar located at the bottom of the screen.
  2. Next, click on the option labeled Apps from the complete list of available options in front of you.
  3. After that, navigate to the Apps & Features section from the left-pane window.
  4. Now, keep scrolling until you find the option named Steam. Click on it.
  5. Next, click on the Uninstall button appearing just below the Steam App logo.
  6. After that, wait for some time until the uninstallation process is finished completely without any issue.
  7. Now, as soon as it will be finished, you will be notified by a message. 
  8. Next, go on and reboot your Windows machine.
  9. After that, open a web browser of your own choice on your PC. 
  10. Now, navigate to this link and download the Steam App’s latest version from there. 
  11. Next, once the download process is complete, go on and install it by double-clicking on the .exe file and then following the on-screen instructions carefully.
  12. After that, restart your PC. Finally, check to see if the error is resolved now or still persists.

See also: How to Fix a Discord Fatal Javascript Error  


There you have it! Six of the very best ways to fix the Steam “Content File Locked” Error. We hope that one of these methods worked for you and that you can now enjoy your Steam games again. If you have any other tips or suggestions on how to fix this fault, please share them in the comments section below.

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