How to Fix Steam ‘missing file privileges’ Error?

This error mainly occurs after specifying the old Steam library folder to discover the existing files of the applications and games. This error can also occur while trying to update the application/game on Steam. To fix this error, you will need to repair the Steam library, give permissions to the Steam apps folder, run Steam as administrator and disable the third-party antivirus.

Steam missing file privileges
Steam missing file privileges

The main reason for this error is inappropriate permissions to the Steam apps folder located in the Steam library folder. If you don’t have full control permission over the Steam apps folder, you will encounter this issue. Besides, interference from third-party antivirus software or running Steam without administrator privileges can also lead you to this error message.

1. Repair the Steam library

Usually, this error occurs due to a corrupted Steam library, which needs to be repaired. In most cases, this happens when you install Steam and specify the directory that you used before, which contains all the games. Therefore, before discovering existing files of a game, follow the steps and repair the steam library.

  1. Open the Steam application.
  2. Click on Steam from the top and select Settings.
    Opening Steam Settings
    Opening Steam Settings
  3. Select Downloads from the left pane, and click STEAM LIBRARY FOLDERS.

    Opening Steam library folders
    Opening Steam library folders
  4. Select the library where you have installed the game showing the error.
  5.  After that, click the three dots and then select Repair Folder.

    Repairing Steam Library Folder
    Repairing Steam Library Folder
  6. Click Yes when UAC prompts.
  7. Wait for the repair process to be completed, then try updating the game and check if the issue is fixed.

2. Grant access to the Steam apps folder

Steam apps is a folder located in the Steam library containing all the games and applications you have downloaded or installed through the Steam client. If you do not have permission to read/write data to the Steam app folder, you won’t be able to update or install any game or application unless you create a new library. Therefore, check the folder’s permission to fix this error.

  1. To check the permissions, right-click the Steam icon and select Open file location.
    Navigating to Steam location
    Navigating to the Steam location
  2.  You will be navigated where Steam is installed; right-click the Steam app folder and select Properties.
    Note: Remember, if you are not using the default directory for the Steam library, then go to the disk where you specified the Steam library, navigate to the Steam library folder, then right-click the Steam app folder to select Properties.

    Opening Steam app folder properties
    Opening Steam app folder properties
  3. Go to Security from the top and select the individual Group or user names one by one to make sure that Authenticated users, Administrators, SYSTEM, and Users have full control of the folder.
    Ensuring that Steam has full control of the library folder
    Ensuring that Steam has full control of the library folder
  4. If you see any unchecked permission under Allow of any Group or usernames, click the Edit button and tick the Full control option to take full access to the folder.
  5. Once done, Apply and click OK to close the Window.
    Giving group or user names full control over the folder
    Giving group or user names full control over the folder
  6. Then, go back to Steam and check if the issue persists.

3. Run steam as an administrator

This error can also result from missing permissions to the Steam application. If the application does not have access to the required components, you probably run into missing privileges issues. Therefore, when you run the Steam client as an administrator, it will give all the access that the application requires to run without interference.

  1. To run the application as an administrator, right-click the Steam.exe icon on the desktop or search for Steam using the Windows search and then right-click on it.
  2. Then, select Run as administrator to run the application with administrator privileges.
    Running Steam with administrator privileges
    Running Steam with administrator privileges.
  3. Once done, now check if the privileges issue is resolved. If the issue is fixed, follow the steps to always run the steam with an administrator.
  4. Right-click the steam launcher and select Properties
  5. If you have not created a launcher, go to the following directory and right-click Steam to select Properties

    Opening Steam properties
    Opening Steam properties
  6. Then, go to Compatibility
  7. Tick Run this program as an administrator

    Configuring Steam to always run as administrator
    Configuring Steam to always run as an administrator
  8. Click Apply and click OK.

4. Disable Third party Antivirus Temporarily

If you have any third-party antivirus application installed on your computer, try disabling it temporarily. There is a chance of interference from the antivirus software as it can block the privileges requested by Steam.exe. Hence, it is recommended to disable the third-party antivirus software temporarily.

The following steps are for avast antivirus. These steps might be different if you use any other antivirus software.

  1. To disable the third-party antivirus software, right-click the antivirus software from the system tray.
  2.  Hover, Avast Shields Control.
  3. And click Disable for 10 minutes.
    Disabling third-party antivirus temporarily
    Disabling third-party antivirus temporarily.
  4. After that, check if your issue is resolved.

5. Reinstall Steam Client

Unfortunately, if none of the methods worked for you, the last solution you can try is to reinstall the Steam client properly. Since you have tried all the solutions, the issue could be due to a Steam client problem, which might be fixed after reinstalling. To do so, follow the steps:

  1. To reinstall the Steam client, right-click the Start Menu and select Settings to open.
    Launching settings
    Launching settings
  2. Once the settings is opened, go to Apps & features.
    Heading to Apps and features
    Heading to Apps and features
  3. Then, find and select Steam and click Uninstall.
  4. Again, click Uninstall to confirm the delete action.
    Uninstalling Steam application
    Uninstalling Steam application
  5. After uninstalling, press the Windows + R keys simultaneously.
  6. Enter AppData and press Enter to open the folder.
    Opening Appdata folder
    Opening Appdata folder
  7. Now go to Local and right click the Steam folder and select Delete.
    Deleting Steam folder from appdata
    Deleting the Steam folder from AppData
  8. Once done, go to the official Steam website and download the Steam.
  9. Once the downloading is finished, run the setup and install Steam by following the on-screen instructions.

Hamza Mohammad Anwar

Hamza Mohammad Anwar is an intermediate JavaScript web developer with a focus on developing high-performance applications using MERN technologies. His skill set includes expertise in ReactJS, MongoDB, Express NodeJS, and other related technologies. Hamza is also a Google IT Certified professional, which highlights his competence in IT support. As an avid problem-solver, he recreates errors on his computer to troubleshoot and find solutions to various technical issues.