Steam Disk Write Error: What It Is and How to Fix It

Stop dropping downloads and get back to gaming

The Steam disk write error can occur when you're downloading or updating a game you bought on the Steam platform. These messages typically appear when you attempt to install or download a new game or attempt to update a game that you previously installed. It can also appear when you attempt to launch a game that needs an update.

Instructions in this article apply to the Steam client for Windows, macOS, and Linux.

Cause of Steam Disk Write Errors

The Steam disk write error appears anytime Steam is unable to download and save game data to the storage drive on your computer during an update or new installation. It's usually accompanied by one of the following error messages:

An error occurred while installing game title (disk write error): C:\Program Files (x86)\steam\steamapps\common\game_title

An error occurred while updating game_title

An error occurred while installing game_title

The disk write error can happen when:

  • The drive or Steam folder is write-protected.
  • There are defects in the hard drive.
  • Your antivirus or firewall blocks Steam from downloading and saving data.
  • There are corrupt or outdated files in the Steam directory.
The Steam disk write error prevents a person from playing a game on their laptop.
d3sign / Moment / Getty Images

How to Fix the Steam Disk Write Error

If you experience the Steam disk write error, try these fixes:

  1. Restart Steam. The easiest way to rule out a temporary issue is to close the Steam client, reopen it, and then download or play it again.

  2. Restart the computer. If closing and reopening Steam doesn't resolve the issue, rebooting the PC could fix it by closing ongoing processes that might interfere with Steam.

  3. Remove write protection from the drive. Write protection prevents a computer from altering or adding files to a folder or an entire drive. If you believe this to be the source of the problem, verify which drive your Steam games are stored on, and then remove write protection from that drive.

  4. Turn off the read-only setting for the Steam folder. If the Steam directory is set to read-only, then the whole directory is write-protected. Go to the Steam folder properties and make sure the read-only setting isn't selected.

  5. Run Steam as an administrator. Running software as an administrator gives it extra permissions and can fix several odd problems.

  6. Delete corrupted files. When something goes wrong while Steam is downloading a game, it may create a corrupted file that causes the Steam disk write error. To fix this problem, go to the main Steam folder and open the steamapps/common directory. If you see a file with the same name as the game you're trying to play that is 0 KB in size, delete it and attempt to download or launch the game again.

  7. Verify the integrity of the game files. In your Steam library, right-click the game and select Properties. Then, go to the Local Files tab and select Verify Integrity of Game Files. If Steam finds any corrupt files, it automatically replaces those files.

    If your game uses a launcher that downloads additional updates, do not complete this step. Doing so will replace your updated game with the base launcher, and you will then need to re-download the updates through the launcher.

  8. Clear the Steam download cache. If the Steam download cache is corrupted, it can cause disk write errors. To fix this problem, open Steam and navigate to Steam > Settings > Downloads > Clear Download Cache.

  9. Move Steam to a different drive. In some cases, there may be a problem with the drive that prevents Steam from writing to it. If you have multiple drives or partitions, move the Steam installation folder to a different drive.

    If this step resolves the Steam disk write error, check the original drive for errors.

  10. Check the drive for errors. In some cases, this process can identify bad sectors and tell Windows to ignore those sectors in the future. If the problem persists or gets worse, you may need to replace the hard drive.

  11. Disable the antivirus program or add exceptions. In rare instances, antivirus programs can incorrectly identify Steam as a threat and prevent it from downloading and saving game data. If the Steam disk write error goes away with the antivirus disabled, add an exception for Steam in the antivirus scans.

  12. Disable the firewall or add exceptions. If temporarily disabling the firewall fixes the problem, add an exception to the Windows firewall.

  13. Contact Steam for help. Steam's technical support team can walk you through potential solutions for your specific problem. You can also find help in the Steam Community forum.