For many PC gamers, Steam is effectively the whole platform. Almost every PC game is sold in their storefront and the Steam client handles all the boring things, such as game installations and upgrades.
Steam is very solid software and most gamers will never have any. However, it can sometimes go wrong in the most frustrating way.
What is the disk write error on Steam anyway?
As a case, the dreaded “disk write error” on Steam can throw a spanner in the works of your playing time. To get you back in the game, let’s look at some common ways to fix this problem.
As its name suggests, Steam throws a “disk write error” when it can’t write game data to the hard drive. This is pretty straightforward, but the real problem is that you have no idea why Steam can’t write to disk. The causes can range from a real problem with the Steam file structure to problems with data download.
Run a disk scan
Before we even look at Steam, we need to make sure that the problem is with Steam and not with the actual hard drive on which you are trying to install a game.
Just run Windows disk error checker to see if there are any issues with your unit. If there is a problem with the unit, the corrector should fix it. Although a serious problem may require a unit replacement. You can find the disk check tool in the folder Tools to the properties of the unit.
Restart the computer
Before you go crazy trying all sorts of different solutions, take a deep breath and restart your computer. Obviously, this also restarts Steam, which you can do without completely restarting. However, even when you close Steam, it usually leaves the processes running in the background.
Therefore, unless you want to kill all Steam processes manually in the task manager, it is faster to restart your PC.
Run Steam as an administrator
Sometimes Steam can’t write to disk because the software doesn’t have a sufficient permission level to make those changes. Running the client as an administrator will eliminate these problems.
However, this is not a permanent solution, as Steam should not need administrator privileges to run. It’s just a way to do the write operation and confirm that the cause of the problem is related to the file permissions. By default, the Steam executable should be in Program Files (x86)> Steam.
Change the download region
It seems that a disk write error is sometimes the result of Steam’s inability to extract data from the server.
Some users have reported success in changing the default download region from the Steam settings. Steam has several servers around the world. By default, it will choose the server that offers you the best speeds, but things can go wrong between you and that location. So simply switching to the next best server or the next one can fix the typo problem in some cases.
Check the game files
Sometimes Steam can’t write to a game folder due to incomplete or damaged files. In this case, try to verify the installation of the game.
This is a built-in client function that checks computer game files with the error check sum of server files. If they do not match, Steam will assume that your disk file is corrupted and replace it with the server file.
Note that this will remove any changes you have made to the game folder. You can run the integrity check from the Local Files section of a particular game’s properties page.
If nothing seems to work and you still get the disk write error on Steam, you can always download the latest Steam installer and reinstall the entire client. You must not lose any game data and the Steam installer will check the current files and verify them correctly.
Make sure the Steam folder is not read-only
Sometimes the attributes of the Steam folder are changed without your knowledge. This can happen, for example, if you manually back up your Steam folder and simply copy it to a new installation.
If the Steam folder has been marked “read-only”, Steam will not be able to make any changes to it. Because all of your Steam games are stored in the Steam folder by default, this can be the source of a disk read error.
Just go to the Steam folder properties and uncheck the “Read Only” attribute. Hopefully, after making this change, things will return to normal.
Unlock Steam in the firewall
We mentioned earlier that sometimes a disk write error on Steam looks more like a server read error. One of the reasons Steam may not get data from the server is that the firewall is blocking.
The first time you run Steam, you will be asked to take advantage of the Internet access of the software. If you do not, you will need to enter your firewall settings and allow Steam to access the Internet.
If the Windows firewall isn’t the problem, make sure your router’s firewall isn’t blocking Steam. See the router’s manual on how to unlock the ports that Steam needs.
Turn off your VPN
While it may not be a firewall that prevents packets from reaching Steam, your VPN may be causing a problem. While this is not confirmed, it seems that some users have been successful in getting rid of the disk write error on Steam by temporarily shutting down their VPNs.
Clear the download cache
Steam has a special retention area where it caches data from games that are currently being downloaded. Sometimes this cache gets corrupted, stopping the flow of data. This is a known issue with Steam and there is actually a convenient way to clear the cache.
You can find the clears the download cache button below Downloads in Steam settings. Press it and restart Steam for a good measure. Then try the downloads again.
Try a different Steam library
If you have multiple drives on your system, you can create a second Steam Library folder on another drive and try to install the game on it. To create a new Steam library folder:
- Go to Steam settings.
- Go to downloads.
- Select Steam library folders.
- Select Add a library folder
- Choose the location of the new library.
If you already have multiple library folders, you can try downloading the game to the alternate library you already have. If this works, it indicates that something is causing the non-cooperative disk to be damaged.
Don’t get too steamy
A Steam bug can be more frustrating than mission critical system errors. Just when you want to sit back and have some fun, you suddenly get stuck doing problem-solving exercises. It’s enough to make you want to buy a console, but with the above tips you’re likely to get back into the game in no time.