Steam is undeniably one of the most used applications amongst gamers. Steam is a video game digital distribution that was created by Valve and launched as a standalone application in September 2003. Its store is filled with amazing games and it’s now holding the number one destination for gamers to download their favorite games. However, and like any other application running on Windows, some players may encounter the well-known issues: Steam disk write error or Steam content file locked when trying to install or download a game.
We provide you with the ULTIMATE FIX to rectify this problem and never encounter it once again.
Please note that the solutions mentioned below require you to close Steam application before trying the next fix.
Restart Steam as Administrator
Sometimes, the application needs privilege permissions to access and modify certain files within its directory. Usually, you can find the directory under the C Drive
C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam
Starting Steam administrator any issue related to writing on the disk or modifying certain files. In our case, restarting Steam as administrator will fix the Steam disk write error message.
Recover from Socket Error
The command below will recover Windows from any socket errors which are the results of corrupted or incomplete downloaded data.
- Run Command Prompt as Administrator
- Enter the command line
netsh winsock reset
- Restart your computer to apply the changes
This is a guaranteed method to fix Steam content file locked.
Verify the Integrity of Game Files
If the game is already installed and you’re having issues updating it, then the game’s files might be corrupted. This is usually due to the sudden closure of the application while it’s downloading and installing data on the hard drive, and the disk sometimes can’t keep up with the speed of Read & Write, so the files get corrupted.
To apply this fix, simply follow the steps below:
- From the Library section, right-click on the game and select Properties from the menu.
- Select the “Local files” tab and click the “Verify integrity of game files…” button.
Steam will verify the game’s files. This process may take several minutes.
Low Disk Space
If you’re still having the same problem, then your free disk space is probably the issue. Double-check the remaining disk space on your computer and if you notice that you don’t have enough disk space, then it’s time to clear some. Usually, Steam will display an error saying that you don’t have enough space to download or install a game, but sometimes, it displays another error message like the Steam disk write error message.
- You can use Windows feature to clear out unnecessary data from the system:
- In Disk Cleanup, select Clean up system files.
- Select the file types to delete.
- Select OK.
- You can also analyze the files’ size using Treesize and select the right disk (usually the C Drive), then clear up some space by deleting the unnecessary files, logs, temp, Recycle Bin.
- Sometimes, Windows doesn’t allocate space to C Drive until it’s added manually. You can check by searching for Create and format hard disk partition. Under the right disk, if you see unused space, right-click on the drive and select Extend disk, then add the space. This will apply automatically and instantly to the drive space.
Change Download Region
If the game stopped downloading out of the blue and you think that the Steam disk write error message is due to an internet problem, then changing the download region or the content server might fix the issue.
Content server or (CDN) is a technology that allows content to replicated across all servers on different regions to shorten the distance for data request and to download game files from the nearest server rather than just getting them from the source server.
To change the region, simply follow the steps below.
- Go to Settings > Downloads tab
- Under Download region, select another region that is near you and hit OK
Delete Existing Empty Folder
When downloading games’ files, Steam automatically creates a folder with the name of the game. Even if the download progress bar shows that it downloaded a couple of MB, nothing will be shown in the game’s folder.
Files are being downloaded to a sperate temp folder and then transferred to the original location of the game. Deleting the existing empty folder proved to be an effective solution for most players.
You can find the folder under this path if you’re using the C Drive as your main disk:
C:\Program Files\Steam (x86)\SteamApps\Common
Re-install Steam Using IObit Uninstaller
Steam app might be blocked from downloading or installing any updates, and the old version of Steam app might not work as expected with Windows updates and may cause the Steam disk write error & Steam content file locked.
In order to fix this, you need to re-install Steam completely from your system, even the registry key associated with that application.
The usual way of uninstalling an application is from the control panel, but this is not very effective as it might leave behind some temp files, logs and registry keys.
IObit uninstaller is a great tool to completely delete any software from your system.
Change Steam Library Location
If you have an external HDD or SSD, you can use that to contain all of your Steam games (Steam Library). By default, the folder that contains your Steam files resides in:
C:\Program Files\Steam (x86)\SteamApps\Common
In order to change that:
- Open Steam client and go to “Settings”
- Go to “Downloads” and select “STEAM LIBRARY FOLDERS”
- Click on “ADD LIBRARY FOLDER” and select the new path to where you want to save the library
- Once done, all future downloads and installations will be saved there
- Right-click on the folder and set it as default
Now to change the location of the already installed games, simply copy the “common” folder content to the new library after closing the Steam app. Launch it again and select the game that you’ve been having issues with and download it again. It will check if there are any existing files in the new library and re-install them after it’s done with the search.
If the default Steam library is still showing the same errors, you can repair it.
- Open Steam app and go to “Settings”
- Open “Downloads” and then go to “Steam Library Folders”
- Right-click on the default library and select “Repair folder”
Check the Permissions
As mentioned above in restarting Steam as an administrator, the application needs special permissions in order to add or modify data to its directory. Sometimes, relying only on running the app as admin, will not fix the issue and we need to override the current permissions and give full control to the current admin user:
- Right-click on the folder: C:\Program Files\Steam (x86)
- Select Properties
- Click the Security tab
- Click Advanced
- Under your name, click on edit
- Check Allow on Full Control
- Click on Apply and then OK
You now have full access to the Steam folder and the application is able to modify and add folders & files to the directory with no issues
Restart Your Computer
Restarting any device nowadays seems to fix 90% of the problems that we encounter on a daily basis. Restarting your machine will refresh the temporary and logs files and will enable Steam to start the process from the beginning and not get interrupted by old logs.
Steam Whitelist on Antivirus
Antiviruses are necessary for protection against malicious applications. But sometimes, these bad boys can interfere with Steam functionalities, and this is known amongst Antiviruses; they block legit applications thinking that the code running in the background to start a task is malicious and this is called false positive.
Antiviruses can block the application from starting or just simple functionality. In our case, the Antivirus block might result in the Steam disk write error message, and in order to fix this problem, you will need to whitelist the application on your Antivirus.
Since it depends on the Antivirus you’re using and we can’t just list all of them here, you will have to search for “how to whitelist an application on <Antivirus name>” and the first result should be a link to the Antivirus documentation which you can follow and whitelist Steam.
Add Steam to the Firewall Exceptions
If the above possible fixes didn’t do the job for you, then adding Steam to exceptions on the firewall should do it.
Windows firewall main task is to simply block all non-authorized applications or traffic to/from the internet to further secure the system from any intrusion.
In order to add any application to Windows firewall, simply follow these steps:
- Search for “firewall” in Windows search bar
- Select the “Windows Defender Firewall” option
- Select “Allow an app or feature through Windows Defender Firewall”
- Search for “Steam” and check both Private & Public
If you can’t see Steam listed:
- Click on “Allow another app…”
- Browse the file explorer to find Steam and select it then allow it
- Click OK
The errors Steam disk write error & Steam content file locked are sometimes the result of installing an old version of Steam or simply, the Steam client updates are not installed correctly or they are being blocked.
To change Steam client compatibility:
- Close Steam client app
- Right-click on your Steam shortcut found on your Desktop
- Select “Properties”
- Click on “Compatibility” tab
- Under “Compatibility mode”, check “Run this program in compatibility mode for:”
- Select Windows 8
- Click on Apply and then OK
- Start Steam client app again
Refresh Client Cache
Clearing out the client cache which holds the downloaded cache can fix the Steam related error messages. Follow the instructions down below.
- From Steam, go to Settings
- Select Downloads
- At the bottom, click on CLEAR DOWNLOAD CACHE
- It will ask you if you want to clear out the local download cache. Click on OK to continue
After refreshing the client cache, you will have to restart and login to Steam and the issue with Steam content file locked will be fixed.
Contact Steam Support
If all of the above failed, then it’s time to contact Steam support. Don’t forget to send them all the details, what you have done exactly and the logs. You can extract the logs by navigating to these folders:
- Logfiles: C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\logs
- Crashdumps: C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\dumps
For more details on how to contact Steam support, navigate to this website.
Force Disable Write Protection
Write protection is a method of protecting storage devices, usually used for USB flash disks, external or internal HDD or SSD to prevent any loss of data from unintentional deletion or modification. You can enable and disable this feature. However, since it’s a sensitive feature and needs special privileges, you will need to use CMD to run the command.
- Right-click on Command prompt and select Run as Administrator
- Enter the command “diskpart”
- When you enter DISKPART on CMD, type “list disk”; this will list all of your partitions and disks available on your system
- Enter the command “select disk 0” (change the “disk 0” with your disk) and press Enter
- It will then list all of the properties of the selected disk.
- Check if Read-only is set to “Yes”. If so, run the command below:
attr disk clear readonly
This command will force disable write protection to enable you or the application which is Steam to access the files that reside inside that selected disk.
Scan Disk for Errors
In addition to Steam files, the C Drive itself can have some errors that may affect program functionalities. Windows has a feature that can search and automatically repair all corrupted system files.
- Right-click on Command Prompt and select Run as administrator
- When you see the CMD pops up, type in the following command
chkdsk C: /f
Scan The System Using Malwarebytes
Some malicious applications may be the reason why Steam is failing when trying to install or download a game as these apps tend to use system resources to run in the background blocking Steam functionalities from running normally.
Install and run Malwarebytes to clear out all of the junk affecting your system that is affecting your system negatively. Malwarebytes is free and very effective when it comes to removing malicious files.
Restore The Previous Windows Version
- In the search box on the taskbar, type “control panel”, and then choose it from the list of results
- In the “Control Panel” search box, type “recovery”
- Select Recovery > Open System Restore
- In the “Restore system files and setting” box, select Next
- Select the restore point that you want to use in the list of results, and then select “Scan for affected programs”
- Bear in mind that this process may take up to one hour depending on your computer’s performance
Check For Updates
Windows updates nowadays are becoming crucial since a lot of applications are relying on the newest updates to deliver the performance. Since the updates’ frequency went up over the years, also did the errors that came along with these updates.
So, in order to fix the Steam disk write error message, you will need to update Windows to the latest version.
You can do that by searching for “Windows updates” in the search bar and after clicking on it, it will redirect you to the window where you can update Windows manually or just select the important updates rather than just the whole unnecessary packages.
Disable Unused Applications
Sometimes, people tend to install a free application on their computer but after a while they just uninstall it from control panel thinking that it will erase everything related to that app. But some applications are a bit stubborn and they continue running on the computer even after the complete uninstallation. Even more, they tend to run at startup which slows the computer and affects other programs such as Steam from running since it will be using hardware resources and prioritizing the usage. This will heavily impact the CPU and RAM which may result in the Steam disk write error as there are not enough resources to utilize and write on the disk drive.
In order to disable these applications:
- Open “Task Manager” by right-clicking on the Taskbar
- Go to Startup tab
- Select the programs that you want to disable
- Right-click and hit Disable
To apply the changes, restart your computer and this should fix the issue.
If you still experiencing the problem with Steam disk write error message, please let us know and we would be glad to search for another solution to fix this for you. However, we are 99% sure that the above fixes will do just that.
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