What to do when your steam content file is locked

What to do when your steam content file is locked

Steam is one of the best platforms to download some of your favorite games, but it’s not without its issues. One of the most common errors occurs when you upload a game update and get an error message that the steam content file is locked, preventing you from uploading the file to the hard drive.

This error can be frustrating because you can’t update the game and play it with the upgrades. If you’ve gotten this error, you can try to fix it with a few troubleshooting tips. Read on for what to do when your steam content file is locked.

Common reasons why your steam content file is locked

Common reasons why your steam content file is locked

There are several reasons you may get a message stating: An error occurred while updating – content file locked. Figuring out why the content file is locked can be the key to solving the issue. We’ll discuss the solutions for each of these problems in the next section.

Winsock issues

In many cases, there may be an issue with Windows sockets or ‘Winsock’ for short, causing your Steam download “content file locked” message. You can often resolve the problem by just resetting Winsock.

Antivirus issues

If you have antivirus software, it can cause problems when you try to update a game on Steam and can give you a content file locked error. The antivirus mistakenly sees your Steam content as a potential threat and locks down the files.

Location issues

Steam and your game files may be located in the wrong place on your computer. The incorrect location can prevent you from updating your games.

Corrupt files

Sometimes when you get “content file locked” in Steam, your game files are corrupted. Or there is another unknown issue, and there isn’t much that you can do to fix it. You’ll have to delete and then reinstall Steam completely. This process can be a pain, particularly as you’ll lose everything, but sometimes it’s the only option to get Steam working again.

How to unlock a steam content file for a game

How to unlock a steam content file for a game

Below you’ll find a list of troubleshooting options for a “content file locked” Steam fix. For example, you may get an error that your Mordhau content file is locked while playing the game. Don’t panic! These steps will help get the game back up and running.

Reset Winsock

If you think your issue is with Winsock, you can reset it. Start by pressing the Windows key and R. In the blank, type in “netsh winsock reset” and choose OK. Restart your computer and reload Steam.

Reset Winsock

Disable antivirus

If your antivirus is causing Steam issues, you simply need to turn off your antivirus while downloading the required content. You can then turn it back on once the download is finished.

The way you turn off your antivirus software varies based on the program you’re running. If you’re working on Windows, you can disable it reasonably simply. Go to the Windows notification section and find the antivirus icon. Right-click the icon, and you’ll see some options, including one that should say something like turn off, disable, or stop.

You’ll then need to restart your computer and open Steam. Go to the library and right-click on the game you’re trying to update. Select “Verify the Integrity of the Game Files” to make sure the download is legitimate.

Move steam and game files to another location

To move Steam and your game files to another location, go into the Steam Client and choose Settings. Go to “Downloads” and then “Steam Library Folders.” Choose “Add Library Folder” and set a new Steam location. Close the client.

Move steam and game files to another location

From there, navigate to the default location for your Steam directory: C:\Program Files\Steam. Delete “exe” and all other files save SteamApp and UserData. Move SteamApp and User Data to the location you chose in the client. Quit and then log back into Steam.

If moving doesn’t work

If moving Steam and the game files doesn’t work, try closing Steam and then locating the SteamApp folder in its new location. Drag it to your desktop. Uninstall steam and then reinstall in the current site. Drag the SteamApp folder into the directory, and then log into Steam Again.

You can also go to the game that’s giving you trouble and right-click on it. Choose “Properties” and then “Local Files.” Then “Move Install Folder” and find your new location.

Last resort

If all else fails, uninstall Steam and then delete all of your game files before reinstalling. This option uses a lot of data and requires you to start everything over. However, if you’re looking for a last resort on how to fix “content file locked” message, this one will work.

With these troubleshooting steps and a little effort, you should have your Steam content file unlocked. You can update your game and go back to enjoying video games like Mordhau!


Do you have a few more questions about Steam issues? Read on to learn more.

How to clear a Steam cache?

How to clear a Steam cache?

It’s essential to regularly clear your Steam cache, as it can sometimes cause you to have issues with downloading, updating, and playing games. Go into the Steam client and choose Settings. Go to “Downloads” and then “Clear Download Cache.” Choose OK. You’ll have to log in to Steam once again before using your account.

Can I transfer Steam games to another hard drive?

Yes, it’s actually pretty easy to transfer your Steam games to a different hard drive. You’d have to completely re-download the game in the past, but Steam has recently updated its features, and the process is now much more straightforward.

You’ll need to go to the Steam client and choose “Settings,” then “Downloads.” Go to the Steam Library Folders. Choose “Add Library Folder,” then find the drive you want. From there, select “New Folder,” type in a name and hit OK. Then select the new folder you made.

Now go to the game you want to move and right-click to open up the “Properties” box. Go to “Local Files” and then “Move Install Folder.” Choose the library you want and hit “Move Folder.” Steam will take care of the rest, moving the game into the new folder. If you’re going to move more games, just follow this process for each game.

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