Fix Steam Disk Write Error (Easy Steps)

Steam Disk Write error occurs when the game being downloaded or installed cannot be written to the disk/drive.  Users encounter following type of error messages when they try to install or update a game in the Steam client:

  • An error has occurred while installing [game title].
  • An error has occurred while updating [game title].

This error most commonly occurs when steam is not able to complete the installation or updating process because Steam cannot write to the disk. There may be many different reasons behind this depending on the problem your PC encountered. The most commonly suggested solution is to delete steam and download the entire content (including games) again. Although this method should work just fine, it is quite a hard measure and takes a lot of time. There is no need to resort to this solution if a simpler one works for you.

What Causes the Disk Write Error on Steam?

  • Underlying Antivirus interference – According to a few documented user reports, it is possible that the active antivirus might block the Game download from happening via Steam. This is mostly reported to occur with the built-in Antivirus present on Windows 10. To resolve this issue, you’ll need to whitelist the main Game executable together with the main Steam executable. 
  • Failing Disk Drive / Disk problems – If you’re encountering similar issues with other Steam games, you can expect this error to occur because the disk on your computer might have sector defects and it’s beginning to fail. 
  • Corrupted Game Installation files – It’s not uncommon to see this error code popping up due to some type of file corruption that is affecting the Steam installation of Game. If this scenario is applicable, you can resolve the issue by triggering an integrity check on Steam. 

1. Change Steam Settings

Before advancing to advanced troubleshooting, we will change Steam’s settings to see if the problem gets fixed. One of the basic things you can do is change the download region.

The Steam content system is divided into different regions. The client automatically detects your region through your network and sets it as default. If the servers in that specific region are overloaded or having an issue like hardware failure, then the user may encounter the disk write failed error. In that case, changing the download region of the Steam client may solve the problem.

  1. Open Steam and click ‘Settings’ on the drop-down menu in the upper left corner of the window.
  2. Select ‘Downloads’ and navigate to the ‘Download Region’.
  3. Select other regions other than your own and restart Steam.

2. Temporarily Disable Antivirus/Firewall or Whitelist Steam + the Game

2.1 Disabling the Antivirus

Antivirus/Firewalls are known to create different types of issues for computer games especially Panda Antivirus is known to cause the disk write error for Steam. To rule that out, temporarily disabling the antivirus/firewall is a good idea.

Warning: Change your firewall/antivirus settings at your own risk because it can make your PC vulnerable to fraudulent, viral or malicious attacks.

  1. Turn off your Anti-virus.
  2. Turn off your Firewall.
  3. Now check if Steam Disk Write Error is resolved. If it is, then add an exception for the Steam folder in the antivirus/firewall settings. Afterward, do not forget to enable the antivirus/firewall.

2.2 Whitelisting the Game and Steam

In some cases, the disk write error on steam results from both 3rd party security suites (firewall + antivirus) and the integrated security app (Windows Defender + Windows Firewall).

If this is a suitable scenario, the fix is simple – You need to whitelist both the main executable and the Steam launcher that is used to launch the game inside your AV / Firewall settings.

Note: If you’re using a 3rd party security suite, the instructions you’ll need to follow to create a whitelisting rule will be different from app to app. Look online for the exact instructions of your specific security app.

If you’re using Windows Defender + Windows Firewall (the integrated security app on Windows 10), you can follow the step-by-step instructions below to create a whitelisting rule for the main game executable and the Steam launcher:

  1. Press the Windows key + R to open up a Run dialog box. After that, type ‘control firewall.cpl’ and press Enter to open up the Windows Firewall window.
    Accessing the firewall screen
  2. Access the left side menu inside the main menu of the Windows Defender Firewall , and then click on Allow an app or feature through Windows Defender firewall .
    Allowing an app or feature
  3. As soon as you’re inside the Allowed apps menu, click on the Change Settings button.
    Changing settings in Windows Defender Firewall
  4. Go straight to the Allow another app below the list and click on it, after that click on Browser and find the location where the game is installed.
    Allowing Game
  5. After you manage to find the main executable for Game, add it to the whitelist, then do exactly the same thing with the Steam executable.
  6. Search inside the list of Allowed apps for the 2 entries you added before and make sure that both the Private and Public checkboxes related to them are checked.
  7. Now just save the changes, then try to download the game again to see if the error still occurs.

3. Check Directory Permissions & Run CHKDSK

3.1 Checking Directory Permissions

  1. Exit steam and navigate to your Steam directory, which is by default:
    C:/Program Files (x86)/Steam

    If you have chosen a custom location for the installation, navigate there.

  2. Make sure that the directory is not “Read-only”.
  3. Right-click on the Steam launcher icon and in the resulting menu, click on ‘Run as administrator’.

This will ensure that the steam directory is not marked as Read-only due to the corruption of installation or update files. After ensuring that it isn’t, running the application as administrator will give it privileges to write to the disk again; hence the problem will be solved.

3.2 Running ChkDSK

If you’re experiencing similar issues with other games you try to launch via Steam, there is a possibility that sectors on your hard disk are corrupted and your HDD is well on its way to failing for good.

In this case, you can use CHKDSK to look for logical errors and check on the status of the hard disk and replace any potential corrupted sectors on your hard drives with healthy equivalents.

Keep in mind that if CHKDSK is used simply without parameters it will only check the status of the drive. But if it is used with parameters it can repair various hard disk errors by replacing corrupted HDD sectors with unused equivalents.

Note : Even if the CHKDSK utility will fix your HDD issues, you still have to consider going for a replacement since your hard drive will eventually fail for good.

This is how you can check & repair your hard disk for logical errors with CHKDSK:

  1. Right-click on the Start menu in the bottom left corner, and click on File Explorer .
    Opening File Explorer
  2. Right-click on the partition where you have Game installed, then click on Properties .
    Opening the Properties screen of drive
  3. Click on Tools , and after that click on Check .
    Checking for Disk Errors

Your system will show you if there were errors found, it will either tell you that errors were found and repaired, or that no errors were found.

If the disk write error still occurs, move down to the final repair strategy below.

4. Run the flushconfig Command

  1. Press the ⊞ Win(windows) + R key to bring up the Run window.
  2. In the dialogue bar type steam://flushconfig.
    Flushconfig Steam
  3. A dialogue will appear asking you to proceed with the command or cancel. Click Yes.
  4. After you press ‘OK’, Steam will restart and hopefully, the problem will be solved. This command resets the configuration of Steam and when you re-enter Steam, every setting will be set as default.

5. Check Corrupt Files

If these two methods don’t work for you, we can troubleshoot which file went corrupt/missing and try to re-download the entire file again.

  1. Exit steam and navigate to your Steam directory. By default location is:
    C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam

    If you have chosen a custom location for the installation, navigate there.

  2. Move to the folder ‘logs’ and open ‘workshop_log.txt’.
  3. Move to the bottom of the text file and search for recent errors.

An example of an error is this:

[2017-04-12 12:47:31] [AppID 346110] Update canceled: File commit failed: failed to move unchanged file "C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\workshop\content\346110\570371714\LinuxNoEditor\NPC\Female\Assets\Nude\Nude_Human_Female_Body_D.uasset.z.uncompressed_size" (Disk write failure)

The first number written in the URL is the APPID, in this case, the AppID (346110) for ARK Survival Evolved.

  1. Navigate to the root folder of the mod, in this case, it is 570371714. It has no specific file size as the root folders of different games may vary and delete that file noted above.
  2. Restart steam and move to Downloads. Here you will notice that Steam will be asking for an update for the game. Update the necessary files and you’ll be good to go.

6. Remove Write Protection of The Steam Folder/Drive

If you have enabled or any of the applications you have installed has write-protection, then Steam will give you the disk write error. Write protection is very common in a lot of different games/applications for enhanced security. In that case, removing write protection of the Steam folder/drive may solve the problem.

  1. Remove the write protection.
  2. Launch Steam to check if it is functioning normally.

7. Delete the 0 KB Game File

The disk write error by Steam can be a result of a software glitch caused by the 0KB (zero KB) file. The 0KB file is just a blank white file with the name of the game you are having the problem with. It is located in the common folder of the steamapps folder. This file does not have an extension; just a blank white file with no data having a size of 0KB. Deleting this file may solve the problem.

  1. Make sure there are no running processes in Task Manager relating to Steam.
  2. Open File Explorer and navigate to the following path:
    C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common
  3. Scroll to the bottom to find the file with the name of the game file, you are having issues with, having the size of 0KB, if it is there, then delete the file.
  4. Now launch Steam and check if it is clear of the disk write error.

8. Move Game Folder

To rule out any issues with the drive/folder, it will be a good idea to move the game folder to an alternate folder location or hard drive. If there are any local files present in the location of the game file which is conflicting, then the issue will be resolved as the entire application will have a new local space.

  1. Launch Steam and go to Settings.
  2. Now click on Downloads, then Steam Library Folders and then click on Add new Library folder.
Open Download in Steam Settings

 

  • Now navigate to the new location where you want to shift the game folder.
  • Now check if Steam has started to function properly.

9. Check Hard Drive

If your hard disk is suffering from bad sectors or is reaching its end of life, then it can cause a disk write error for Steam. In that case, checking and fixing your hard drive errors may solve the problem. For this purpose, Windows has a powerful built-in utility SFC. The system file scanner will download an online manifest from the internet, compare it with the local version and fix any discrepancies it finds. Make sure that you back up your work before proceeding.

  1. Run SFC command completely and don’t cancel at any point.
  2. Now launch Steam and check if it is functioning normally.

10. Check RAM for Errors

If the system’s RAM is having issues in operating, then the Steam may show the write disk error. RAM can be tested by a Windows’s built-in RAM testing utility called Memory Diagnostic Tool. This tool will check and automatically fix any memory-related issues. So, using the Memory Diagnostic tool can solve the problem.

  1. Click on the Windows Key, type “memory” and then in the resulting list, click on the “Windows Memory Diagnostic”.
    Windows Memory Diagnostic in Windows Search Box
  2. Following two options will be shown in the Diagnostic Tool:
    • “Restart now and check for problems (Recommended)”
    • “Check for problems the next time I start my computer”
      Options of Windows Memory Diagnostic
  3. After the system has restarted, you can perform a basic scan or you can select the “Advanced” options such as “Test mix” or “Pass count”. Simply tap the F10 key to start the test. When you select the option of your choice, then the system will restart.
  4. At the next startup, the system will boot into the Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool Environment. Wait patiently for the process to complete.
    Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool Environment
  5. If the Windows memory diagnostic tool confirms that you’re having a faulty RAM, then you have no other option but to replace the faulty memory.

11. Reinstall Steam

If nothing has helped you so far, then it is time to move to the last resort of uninstalling and then reinstalling the Steam client. Reinstalling Steam will completely erase the currently installed games on your computer and you will be logged out. So make sure that you have your game credentials at hand before proceeding.

  1. Create a backup of the library folder you wish to use with the next installation.
  2. Press the Windows key, type Control Panel and in the resulting list, click on Control Panel.
    Open Control Panel
  3. Now click on Uninstall a Program.
Uninstall a program in Control Panel
  1. Locate and select the Steam then click on the Uninstall button. Follow the instructions displayed on the screen to complete the uninstallation.
Uninstalling Steam in Control Panel
  1. Restart the system.
  2. Again, download the Steam client.
  3. After completion of the download, launch the downloaded file. Follow the instructions displayed on the screen to complete the installation process of Steam.

Hopefully, Steam Disk Write Error should now be resolved. If not, then as a last resort disable overclocking of your GPU. Also, make sure you have enough free space on the drive.

Kevin Arrows
Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.

Expert Tip

Fix Steam Disk Write Error (Easy Steps)

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