Fix: Steam Not Enough Disk Space

Steam is one of the most popular gaming distribution platforms in the world. It has more than 30 million users which are active. Steam traces its origins back to September 2003. The first game which required a Steam client was Counter Strike 1.6. After that, third party game developers started distributing their game on Steam and the popularity increased until it is what it is today.

Despite being updated frequently and having “bug fixes” updates all the time, Steam also comes up with many problems. One of them being when Steam prompts you don’t have enough disk space even though you have a lot of it available. This is a very common problem with a lot of fixes available. There is no specific “one” fix for this solution as the software and hardware configuration of the user may vary. We have listed down a number of steps and techniques to ensure that your problem goes away.

Solution 1: Reboot your PC

Steam’s client updates itself very frequently. Some updates configure the core of the Steam client. Because of this, a restart is required. A restart starts Steam from scratch and all the updates which occurred would be implemented.

It is also possible that the error you might be facing is caused by another third party application. There can be many conflicts possible; therefore it is advised that you disable all third party programs. Especially programs who claim to speed up your PC or clean your hard drive. Reboot your PC and play the game to check if the error at hand got fixed or not.

Don’t forget to save all your work before restarting your PC

Solution 2: Deleting downloading file

There can be a conflict with an installation and with the Steam client. It may be possible that the game you are trying to run is partially downloaded because of any error. Because of this, Steam doesn’t understand whether to install it or download it again. Hence it pops up an error that there isn’t enough disk space.

We can try deleting the downloading file and running the game again. Steam may download some files again, but it will run as expected if it does.

  1. Exit all Steam Start by ending the process “steam client bootstrapper” and then end the rest of them.

  1. Navigate to your Steam directory. The default location is “C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam”. Now locate the folder of Steamapps. Here you will see another folder named “downloading”. Inside you might see a folder containing all the download files. It will be identified by the application ID of the game you are installing. Delete that folder completely.
  2. Now restart your computer and launch Steam again using administrator privileges. Check if the error got solved.

Solution 3: Granting administrator access to Steam

There can be another case where you may be experiencing the error because Steam doesn’t have enough administrator access to make amendments. It may be possible that Steam can’t find out how much space is already available in the drive because it doesn’t have access to it.

Since all Steam installations follow a protocol where Steam checks whether there is enough space available. If there is, it continues with the installation. If there isn’t, it gives an error. In this case, Steam wouldn’t be able to determine “how” much space is there to make the computation and because of this, it gives an error stating that the required space is too low.

We can grant Steam full administrative privileges and check if the problem gets solved. Fi, st we should make the changes to the Steam.exe file and later grant the whole Steam directory access as there are various configuration files present in the main directory.

Read our guide on how to grant Steam administrative access.

Solution 4: Clearing your Download cache

It may be the case where your Steam Downloads have excessive download data present in the cache that it is starting to make a problem for you. Whenever you download something on Steam, it accumulates in the Download cache. All of the downloaded files are stored in the download cache until they are installed. It may be possible that some of them are corrupt or some files may be missing. It is also possible that Steam downloaded more than the copies required for your game/application to install.

We can try clearing the download cache and check if it helps in the error with your Steam client.

  1. Launch your Steam client by right clicking on it and selecting the option Run as administrator.
  2. Once in the client, click on Steam present at the top left corner of the screen. From the drop down box, click on Settings.

  1. Once in the Settings, navigate to the Downloads tab present at the left side of the window.
  2. Here you see an option of Clear Download Cache present at the near bottom of the screen. Click it. Now Steam will ask you to confirm your action. Press Ok and wait until the process is completed. Now save changes and exit the client.

  1. Restart Steam after ending all Steam related processes using the task manager. Check if your problem got solved.

Solution 5: Adding an exception to your antivirus and disabling Firewall

It is a well-known fact that Steam conflicts with the Windows Firewall. As we all know, Steam tends to download updates and games over the background while you are using Windows for something else. It tends to do so you don’t have to wait for the download to finish when you want to play your game or use the Steam client. Steam also has access to a number of system configuration and it alters it so you can get the best experience available for your gaming. Windows Firewall sometimes marks some of these processes as malicious and tends to block Steam. There may even be a conflict going where the Firewall is blocking Steam’s actions in the background. This way you won’t know it’s even happening so it’ll be hard to pinpoint it out. We can try disabling your Firewall temporarily and checking if the error dialogue goes away or not.

You can check our guide on how to disable the firewall.

Like in the case of Firewall, sometimes your antivirus can also quarantine some of Steam’s actions as potential threats. The obvious solution would be to uninstall your antivirus but it isn’t wise to do so. If you uninstall your antivirus, you will be exposing your computer to a number of different threats. The best way is to add steam in the list of applications which are exempted from scanning. The antivirus will treat Steam as if it wasn’t even there.

You can read our guide on how to add Steam as an exception to your antivirus.

Solution 6: Verifying integrity of game files and repairing library

Most of the games available in Steam are very huge files consisting of several GB’s. It is possible that during the download/update, some of the data may have been corrupted. Steam has a feature within the client itself where you can verify the integrity of game files quite easily.

This feature compares your downloaded game with that of the latest version present in the Steam servers. Once it is done cross-checking, it removes any unwanted files or updates them if needed. There are manifests present in each computer where a game is installed. Instead of checking the files one by one (which take hours), Steam compares the manifest present on your PC with the one in the servers. This way the process takes place much more quickly and efficiently.

We can also try repairing Steam Library files. Steam Library is the place where all your games are present and you can only access them through it. It is possible that your Steam library isn’t in the correct configuration. There may also be a case where you have installed Steam on one drive and your games are on another one. In that case, you have to repair both the libraries before launching your game again.

Do note that this process takes some times as a lot of computation is going on. Don’t cancel the process in between to avoid any further errors. Furthermore, Steam may ask you to enter your credentials once it is done with the process. Don’t follow this solution if you don’t have your account information at hand.

You can check our detailed guide on how to verify integrity of games and repair your Steam library

Solution 7: Changing the read-only attribute from the Library

Your Steam Directory might be set as read-only. This can stop Steam from writing files to that specific library this can cause issues and report back to steam that there is no space left on the disk. Fortunately, we have some commands that you can try to fix this issue. Follow these steps:-

  1. First of all, you will have to check which drive your Steam is installed on.
  2. Once you know that, you can follow the steps.
  3. Search for Command Prompt in the search bar of Windows. Right-click on it and click “run as administrator“.
    Running Command Prompt as administrator
  4. Now type you will have to:-
    cd C:/Program Files (x86)/Steam

    Note: Change the letter “C” after “cd” to the letter in which your Steam is installed. For example, if you have installed the Steam on the “D” driver, the command should look like “cd D:/Program Files (x86)/Steam“.

  5. Once you cd to your Steam directory, you will have to type this command and press enter:-
    attrib -r /S *.*
  6. Now you will have to restart Steam, we also have a command for properly killing Steam.
    taskkill /f /IM "steam.exe"
  7. Now simply run the Steam manually and check to see if the issue persists.

Solution 8: Changing path of installation

It may be possible that Steam isn’t accepting the file path which is already specified with the Steam installation. We can set a new file path on a different drive and try installing your game there. If the method succeeds, it means there is something wrong with the desired directory where you were trying to install your game.

  1. Open your Steam client. Open its Settings by selecting it after clicking Steam present at the top left side of the screen.
  2. Once in the Settings, navigate to the Downloads tab.
  3. At the top of the window, you will see an option which says “Steam Library Folders”. Click it.
  4. Now you will see a list of all of your Steam directories present in front of you. Click the button which says “Add Library Folder”.
  5. Now you will be asked to select a drive. It is advised that you select a different one from where you were initially installing the program.
  6. After selecting the drive, create a new folder and name it something simple which you can easily locate afterward.
  7. Press Ok and select the new directory you have just created.
  8. Now when you go to the Steam store and download and install a game, the client will first ask you which directory you want to install the application. Select the one you just created.
  9. After the downloading, check if the problem got solved.

Solution 9: Freeing up disk space

You should check your disk if it is really low on space. Sometimes it happens that Steam may actually be using larger amount of space as compared to what it’s showing on the web page. You should delete all the unused data or back it up on some portable drive. We can also free up disk space using the Windows tool.

  1. Open “My computer”. All of the drives connected to your computer will be listed here.
  2. Right click on the drive on which you are trying to install the game and select Properties.
  3. Now you will an option of Disk Cleanup. Click it. Now windows will guide you on how to clean up your required disk.

  1. Now you will see several check boxes consisting of various options which could be deleted. Select the ones which you think won’t bring any problems to your or your PC and click OK.

  1. Now Windows will start the disk cleanup. This process may consume time if your files have a lot of volume. Be patient and let the process finish.

Solution 10: Installing in a portable drive

It is also possible that your disk drive may have several bad patches or sectors. Because of this, Steam might be unable to install the game in consecutive memory slots and its refusing to install. You can attached a portable hard drive and installing it there.

You can follow the method on how to make another installation directory by referring to solution 8. Once you have created a folder and selected it as a valid path, you should go over to the Steam store and try installing the game on the new location.

Solution 11: Making the library default

Not setting your directory as default can also be a culprit in this situation as a lot of people reported. Fortunately, you can easily do that by following the steps shown below:-

  1. First of all open the Steam Settings then head over to the “Downloads” section.
  2. Now click on the “Steam Library Folders” option.
    Steam Settings
  3. Right-click on the library you want to install the game in and click “Make default folder”.
  4. Restart Steam and check to see if the issue persists.

Final Solution: Refreshing Steam files

Now there is nothing left except to reinstall Steam and see if that does the trick. When we refresh your Steam files, we will preserve your downloaded games so you won’t have to download them again. Furthermore, your user data will also be preserved. What refreshing Steam files actually do is delete all the configuration files of the Steam client and then forces it to install them again. So if there were any bad files/corrupt files, they will get replaced accordingly. Do note that after this method, you would need to log in again using your credentials. Don’t follow this solution if you don’t have that information at hand. The process may take a while so avoid cancelling once you start the installing process.

Note: If you have exhausted yourself with all the other methods try the following user suggested one.
Steam>Settings>Downloads>Steam Library Folders>Right Click the Folder> Press the Repair Downloads Option.

You can read our article on how to refresh your Steam files.


Kevin Arrows

Kevin Arrows is a highly experienced and knowledgeable technology specialist with over a decade of industry experience. He holds a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification and has a deep passion for staying up-to-date on the latest tech developments. Kevin has written extensively on a wide range of tech-related topics, showcasing his expertise and knowledge in areas such as software development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. His contributions to the tech field have been widely recognized and respected by his peers, and he is highly regarded for his ability to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and concise manner.