Some Windows users are encountering the ‘An error occurred while updating (corrupt content files)’ message whenever they try to install a new update for a game they own through Steam. While some users are facing this problem with a single title, other users are seeing this error message with every game they attempt to update.
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After investigating this particular issue, it turns out that there are several different scenarios that might end up causing this particular error code. Here’s a shortlist of potential culprits that might be responsible for your problem:
Ongoing server issue – As it turns out, this problem can also originate from an underlying server issue that’s currently preventing end-user Steam clients from downloading updates from the regional servers. If this scenario is applicable, the only thing you can do is change the default download server and hope that not every server is affected by this problem. If this doesn’t work, the only thing you can do is wait for Steam to fix their server issues.Missing admin access – Depending on your UAC settings, you can also expect to see this error because Steam doesn’t have the necessary permissions to modify & ovveride existing files. In this case, you need to force open Steam with admin access and potentially modify the default behavior in case this method proves to be effective.Unreliable wireless Internet connection – According to some affected users, this problem can also occur due to an issue with how your Steam sees the network that your computer is currently connected to. If Steams deems the connection to unreliable to establish a connection with the download server, you might need to move to a wired connection before you’ll be able to download the game updates.Steam is blocked by Firewall – There are a lot of verified user reports where this problem was proven to be caused by the Windows Firewall. Under certain circumstances, this might occur due to a false positive (typically after one game executable get’s quarantined). In this case, you should be able to fix the problem by establishing an exception rule from Steam allowing the exchange of data and opening the ports used when downloading data through steam.Corrupted appcache directory – As some users have reported, you can face this error if you’re dealing with data corruption located inside the appcache folder. Some users that were previously dealing with this problem have managed to fix the issue by deleting the cache directory, forcing Steam to create a new one that’s not plagued by the same issues.
Now that you know all the potential causes, here’s how you can fix the problem:
Method 1: Investigating a Server Issue
The ideal way to start this troubleshooting guide is to investigate and see if there’s an ongoing server issue you might have to worry about. After all, this problem is often associated with a server problem that’s prevented end-user Steam clients from downloading game updates.
Fortunately, there are a few services that you can use to verify if Steam is currently experiencing any server issues. You should check out SteamStat.us and DownDetector to see if Steam is currently dealing with server issues that are affecting users in your area.
Note: If the 2 websites are reporting issues with Steam’s servers, you should also check the official Steam Support Twitter account for any official announcements.
In case the investigation has uncovered a widespread server issue, the only method that might help you fix the problem is to follow Method 3 and change the default download server.
If that doesn’t work, you’ll have to wait until Steam’s software engineers manage to fix their server problems.
Method 2: Opening Steam as Administrator
If you’ve made sure that this problem is not being caused by a server issue, the first potential culprit that you’ll need to look into is a permission issue. We’ve managed to identify a lot of user reports saying that in their case, the issue occurred because the Steam client didn’t’ have the necessary permissions to install the new game files after downloading the update.
If this scenario is applicable, you can fix the problem by forcing Steam to open as with admin rights. If this method is successful, you should make this the default behavior.
To force Steam to open with administrative privileges, right-click on the executable or shortcut that you youse when launching the game and click on Run as Administrator from the newly appeared context menu.
If this operation has been successful, you might want to modify the default behavior of Steam in order to prevent the same kind of issues from occurring again. To do this, follow the instructions below:Ensure that Steam is closed and not currently running in the background.Next, open File Explorer (or My Computer) and navigate to the location where the main Steam executable is located. By default, that location is:
C:\Program Files (x86)\SteamNote: If you installed Steam in a custom location, navigate there instead.Once you get to the correct location, right-click on the steam.exe and then click on Properties from the newly appeared context menu.
If this problem is still not resolved, move down to the next potential fix below.
Method 3: Changing the Download Region
If the investigation above has revealed a server issue, what you can do is change the default Download region so that your Steam client is forced to use a different server when having to download new updates for your games.
This operation was confirmed to be successful by a lot of affected users that we’re encountering the ‘An error occurred while updating (corrupt content files) with every game title that they attempt to update.
If the problem is being caused by a server issue, doing this modification should sort the issue out.
If you haven’t tried this potential fix yet, follow the instructions below to change the Download Region that your Steam client is configured to use and see if that ends up fixing the issue:Open up your Steam client, then click on Steam using the ribbon bar at the top of the screen. Then, from the newly appeared context menu, click on Settings.Save the modification, then attempt to update the game that was previously failing to see if the problem is now fixed.
If you already attempted to change the Download server and you’re still seeing the same corrupt content files error, move down to the next potential fix below.
Method 4: Switch to a wired connection (if applicable)
If you’re using a wireless connection, one quick workaround that might allow you to get around the ‘An error occurred while updating (corrupt content files)’ error message is to switch over to a wired connection. It doesn’t have to be a permanent change.
Inconsistencies with Steam updates over wireless networks are a fairly common occurrence on Windows 7. Fortunately, You can simply switch over to a wired connection and use it to download the game updates before moving back to a wireless connection.Using an Ethernet Cable
So if you haven’t tried this already, plug an ethernet cable into your PC, restart your Steam client and initiate the download again. If the error message doesn’t return, complete the installation of every update before moving back to your regular wireless connection.
On the other hand, if the same ‘An error occurred while updating (corrupt content files)’ error is still occurring, move down to the next potential fix below.
Method 5: Whitelisting Steam in Windows Firewall
As it turns out, depending on your security preferences enforced on your Windows Firewall, the built-in security suite might sometimes decide to quarantine legitimate game executables and block Steam from communicating with the download servers – this is a common occurrence with the Rage 2 executable.
Of course, this problem can also occur with 3rd party firewalls and AV suites, but this method will focus on solving an instance in which Windows Firewall is blocking the download due to a false positive.
If this scenario is applicable to your particular scenario, you should be able to fix the problem by establishing a whitelisting rule in your Firewall to ensure that Steam is not preventing from downloading and installing pending game updates.
To do this, follow the instructions below to whitelist Steam, the download folder and the ports used by it in order to fix the ‘An error occurred while updating (corrupt content files)’:Open up a Run dialog box by pressing Windows key + R. When you’re prompted by the text box, type ‘control firewall.cpl‘ and press Enter to open up the Windows Firewall window.
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