How to Fix the Steam Invalid Depot Configuration Error

Some Steam users are reporting that they get the “Invalid Depot Configuration Error” while trying to install a game that they recently brought from the store. The issue doesn’t seem to be specific to a particular Windows version since it’s reported to occur on Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10.

Invalid Depot Configuration Error on Steam

What is causing the “Invalid Depot Configuration” error?

We investigated this particular issue by looking at various user reports and the repair strategies that are commonly being used to fix this error message. As it turns out, there are multiple potential culprits that might end up triggering this error message:

  • Outdated Steam client – As it turns out, this particular error can also occur if you’re using an outdated Steam client version. This might happen if the auto-updating feature is glitched and cannot update the client automatically. In this case, you can resolve the issue by forcing an update manually or by reinstalling the entire Steam client. There’s also a third approach in which you can force Steam to update.
  • Glitched DNS address – It’s also possible that the issue is occurring due to a problem with the DNS cache of steam. If this scenario is applicable, you can resolve the issue by flushing the generic DNS cache or by flushing only the DNS address of Steam.
  • Beta participation is causing the error – This error is commonly linked with instances where affected users are active participants of the beta programs. Several affected users have reported that they managed to resolve the issue by either enlisting or opting out of a Beta program (depending on the game).
  • Permission issue – If your UAC (User Account Control) is configured to be strict, you might be encountering this issue because the platform shortcut doesn’t have the necessary permissions. In this case, you will be able to resolve the issue by opening Steam from the installation folder.
  • Steam Client Bootstrapper is enabled – An unlikely culprit that is confirmed to cause this error message is the Steam Client Bootstrapper. Several users encountering this precise issue have reported that the issue was resolved after they disabled Steam Client Bootstrapper as a startup item. You can do this easily from the System Configuration window.
  • Corrupted appmanifest.acf – It’s also possible that you are encountering this issue because the appmanifest.acf file belonging to the game that’s triggering the error is corrupted. If this scenario is applicable, you can resolve the issue by opening the .acf file and deleting the MountedDepots section.

If you’re currently struggling to resolve the same issue, this article will provide you with some troubleshooting steps. Down below, you’ll find a collection of methods that other users in a similar situation have successfully used to resolve the issue. Every method that is featured below was confirmed to work by at least one affected user.

For the best results, we advise you to follow the potential fixes in the order that they are presented since they are ordered by efficiency and difficulty. Regardless of the culprit that ends up causing the “Invalid Depot Configuration” error, one of the methods below should resolve the issue eventually.

Method 1: Updating the Steam client to the latest version

In some cases, the reason why this error occurs is that you’re using an outdated Steam client version. Steam is now fully capable to update itself without any user intervention, but in reality, this doesn’t always happen. This seems to be a glitch that typically occurs with Windows 10.

In most case, you can get Steam to update automatically by simply restarting the app. You can also force the store to update by going to the ribbon bar at the top and clicking on Steam > Check for Steam Client Updates.

Checking for new Updates in Steam

If that doesn’t work, follow the steps below on uninstalling the Steam app and then downloading the latest version:

  1. Press Windows key + R to open up a Run dialog box. Then, type “appwiz.cpl” and hit Enter to open up the Programs and Features window.
    Typing in “appwiz.cpl” in the Run prompt
  2. Inside the Programs and Features screen, scroll through the list of application, right-click on Steam and choose Uninstall.
    Uninstalling the Steam client
  3. Follow the on-screen prompts to complete the uninstallation. Once the process is complete, restart your computer.
  4. Once the next starting sequence is complete, visit this link (here). Once you get there, click on Install Steam and follow the on-screen screen to reinstall the digital store.
    Re-installing Steam
  5. Repeat the action that was previously triggering “Invalid Depot Configuration” error and see if the issue has been resolved.

If the same error message is still occurring when you try to install a game, move down to the next method below.

Method 2: Flushing the DNS cache

Several affected users have reported that they managed to resolve the issue by flushing the DNS cache. If the error code was caused by a network issue, this procedure will probably fix it since it will flush the DNS cache.

There are two ways to tackle this issue. You can either do this in a generic way by clearing the whole DNS of your computer or you can take the focused accounts and flush only the DNS of the Steam client.

Here’s a quick guide on taking the focused approach:

  1. Press Windows key + R to open up a Run dialog box. Then, type “steam://flushconfig” and press Ctrl + Shift + Enter to open up an Elevated Command Prompt. When prompted by the UAC (User Account Control), click Yes to grant admin access to the CMD window.
    Flushing the steam configuration
  2. Once you’re prompted by the Clear Download Cache window, click OK to clear your local download cache.
    Confirming the flushing of the Steam client
  3. After doing so, open Steam again and log in with your account once again.
  4. Repeat the action that was previously triggering the Invalid Depot Configuration error and see if the issue has been resolved.

If the error message is still appearing, move down to the next below.

Method 3: Forcing Steam to update

If the two methods above didn’t allow you to resolve the issue, chances are you will be able to circumvent the Invalid Depot Configuration error by forcing your Steam client to update. You can do so by navigating to your Steam installation folder and delete everything aside for Steamapps, Userdata, and Steam.exe. Doing so will force the application to re-download the missing files and update to the latest version.

Here’s a quick guide on how to do this:

  1. Make sure that Steam is completely closed. Check your tray bar to make sure that the application is closed.
  2. Open File Explorer and navigate to the following location:
    C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam

    Note: If you installed Steam in a custom location, navigate there instead.

  3. Once you get to the Steam installation folder, delete everything aside from the following items:
    Steamapps (folder)
    Userdata (folder)
    Steam.exe

    Deleting the non-essential files
  4. Once the Steam folder has been stripped clean, restart your computer.
  5. When the next startup sequence is complete, launch Steam from the main executable. After the integrity verification, it will automatically download and install the latest version.
  6. Attempt to install the game that was previously triggering the Invalid Depot Configuration error and see if the issue has been resolved.

If the same issue is still occurring, move down to the next method below.

Method 4: Enlisting / Opting out of Beta

For some users, the only fix that worked was to either opt to participate or opt out of a beta program. This workaround doesn’t have an official explanation, but a lot of affected users have confirmed this guide to be effective in resolving the “Invalid Depot Configuration” error.

Here’s a quick guide on how to enlist or to opt out of any Beta programs in Steam:

  1. Inside steam, use the ribbon bar at the top to click on Steam > Settings.
  2. From the Settings menu, select the Account menu from the vertical menu on the right, then move to the right pane and click the Change button associated with Beta Participation.
  3. From the Beta Participation screen, change the Beta participation drop-down menu to the item that is not currently active. Then, click Ok to save the changes.
  4. Restart your Steam client when prompted to do so, then replicate the same steps that we’re previously triggering the error.
Enlisting / Opting out of Beta participation

Method 5: Running Steam client from the install location

Some affected users have reported that they managed to resolve the issue by running Steam from the install location instead of doing them from a short cut. There’s no official explanation on why this method proved to be effective for some users, but we have seen several different confirmations of it being effective.

Several users are speculating that this fix will be effective in those situations where the issue is caused by a permission issue. Here’s a quick guide on running the Steam client from the installed location:

  1. Make sure that the Steam client is closed. Check the Tray Bar icon to make sure that the application is closed.
  2. Open File Explorer and navigate to the location of the of your Steam installation. By default, you will be able to find in it:
    C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam

    Note: If you installed Steam in a custom location, navigate there instead.

  3. Scroll through the list of items and double-click on Steam.exe to launch the digital store from the installation folder.
    Opening the Steam app from the installation folder
  4. Repeat the action that was previously triggering the issue and see if the issue has been resolved.

If the same issue is still occurring, move down to the next method below.

Method 6: Disabling the Steam Client Bootstrapper startup item

Some users that have been encountering this exact issue have reported that the issue was only resolved after they launched msconfig and modified the behavior of the Steam Client Bootstrapper to be disabled indefinitely. After doing so and flushing the download cache of Steam, most affected users have reported that the “Invalid Depot Configuration” error was no longer occurring once they launched Steam from the installation folder.

Here’s a quick guide on how to do this:

  1. Press Windows key + R to open up a Run dialog box. Then, type “msconfig” and press Enter to open up a System Configuration window.
  2. Inside the System Configuration window, go to the Startup tab and click on Open Task Manager.
  3. Inside the Startup tab of Task Manager, right-click on Steam Client Bootstrapper and choose Disable.
  4. Press Windows key + R to open up another Run box. Then, type “steam://flushconfig” and hit Enter to delete the download cache of Steam. When prompted by the Steam confirmation prompt, click Ok to continue.
  5. Finally, move to the location of your steam installation, double-click on Steam.exe and see if the issue has been resolved. By default, the steam installation folder is in:
    C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam

    Note: If you installed Steam in a custom location, navigate there instead.

Disabling the Steam Client Bootstrapper

If the Invalid Depot Configuration error is still occurring, move down to the next method below.

Method 7: Modifying the app manifest of the game

If you’re not afraid of editing the config file, a less intrusive procedure of fixing this issue is to navigate to your SteamApps folder and edit the .acf file belonging to the game that is triggering the “Invalid Depot Configuration” error. By deleting the entire MountedDeports config part of the file, several affected users have reported that Steam validated the game (re-created the MountedDepots part) which ended up resolving the issue.

Here’s a quick guide on modifying the app manifest of the game that is triggering the issue:

  1. Start by making sure that Steam is completely closed. Check your tray bar to ensure that Steam is not running in the background.
  2. Navigate to the Steam Apps folder. The default location of it is here:
    C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps

    Note: If you installed Steam in a custom location, navigate there instead.

  3. Right-click on the first appmanifest.acf file and open it with a text editor.
    Editing the .acf file with a powerful text editor

    Note: For the best results, we recommend that you use Notepad++ (here)

  4. Once you open the file with a text editor, press Ctrl + F to open up the search function, then search for “MountedDepots” and press Enter.
  5. When you find the correct config part, select the entire section and click on Delete to get rid of it. Then, use the ribbon menu at the top to Save the configuration and exit the file.
    Deleting the MountedDepots config part
  6. Return to the Steamapps file and follow steps 4 & 5 with the rest of appmanifest.acf files that you have there.
  7. Once the MountedDepots part has been stripped clean for every game, start Steam again and allow it to validate the game files that have been modified.
  8. Attempt to install the game that was previously failing and see if the issue has been resolved.

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

How to Fix the Steam Invalid Depot Configuration Error

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