Steam Disk Write Error: How to fix on Windows 10 PC and Mac

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Steam is one of the leading platforms for gaming on your computer. Established in 2003, one of the major selling points for the platform was the ease of access to video games, which could be downloaded straight from the store, as opposed to the physical copies that had previously been the only way to obtain a game. While this is great almost all the time, there is the odd occasion where Steam throws up an error. One example is the Disk Write Error. Today, we'll take a look at what this error is, what causes it, and how you can fix it whether you are running it on a Windows 10 PC, or a Mac.

What is the Steam Disk Write Error?

The Disk Write Error occurs when you are trying to download or update a game via Steam. It also seems to appear occasionally when you try to launch a game that requires an update. Specifically, if Steam is unable to download and save game data, this is when the error will crop up. There are a few common causes for this:

  • Your antivirus is blocking Steam
  • The Steam directory has been set to Read-Only
  • Your hard drive has developed a problem
  • There are outdated or corrupted files
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These are the primary causes for a Disk Write Error. Let's take a look at what you can do to fix them.

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Reboot and Restart

The first thing to try in this situation is a simple system reboot. While some people have found that restarting the Steam client is sufficient, others have found that restarting the computer was necessary. Restarting shuts down a lot of the processes that could be interfering with Steam. This makes this a good first port of call.

Read-Only and Write Protection

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If your Steam directory has somehow been set to a Read-Only configuration, then this means the directory is write protected, and you will be unable to download or install anything into it. So check the properties of the Steam folder, and make sure the Read-Only setting is not selected. It's also worth checking the drive that your Steam folder is stored on, in case the drive itself has write protection activated.

While you are checking the status of your Steam directory, it's a good idea to set Steam to run as an administrator. This grants it additional permissions which can help to avoid further problems.

Check your game files

As we mentioned above, corrupted files can cause this issue to arise. So there are a couple of things to check for.

  • Firstly, in your Steam library, you can right-click on the offending game and select Properties.
  • Go to Local Files
  • Select Verify Integrity of Game Files
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When you do this, Steam will automatically identify and replace any corrupted files. One caveat to be aware of: if your game launcher automatically downloads updates, then doing the above will replace your updated game with the base version. You would then need to re-download all the updates.

The next thing you can try, is to look yourself for any corrupted files:

  • Go to the main Steam folder
  • Open the directory steamapps/common
  • Look for any files with the same name as your game, which are 0 KB in size. If you find any, delete them, and then reattempt to download your game.
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Finally, in case the Steam download cache has become corrupted, look to clear it. Open Steam, navigate to Steam>Settings>Downloads>Clear Download Cache.

Steam Disk Write Errors can be caused by your hard drive

If your hard drive has developed a problem, this could be the reason for the disk write error. If your hard drive is partitioned, or you have more than one drive, consider switching your Steam folder to another drive. This can help identify whether a specific part of your hard drive has a problem.

Check your antivirus and firewall settings

Last, but by no means least, check to see whether overzealous settings on your firewall or antivirus software are at fault. With your firewall, you can temporarily disable it and then try to install or launch your game. If this works, then you may need to add Steam as an exception.

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With your antivirus software, it's a similar story. You can look to add Steam to the safe list, or try temporarily disabling your antivirus software, to see if this resolves the problem.

If none of these solutions works, then consider contacting Steam directly for additional support. You can do that here.

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