Here’s how to fix Steam Missing File Privileges

Many Steam users have encountered the issue of “missing file privileges” error. This error usually occurs while installing a new game for the first time or updating a game. If you are looking how to fix Steam Missing File Privileges error, in this guide you will find out how to deal with this problem once and for all.

Run Steam as Administrator

Most commonly the problem arises from read/write permissions on the Steam directory that varies depending on the user/group using the PC. In its core the permissions which are limited to only read will not allow Steam to write new data like game files and game update files. To go around this rule you have to run Steam client as an admin. Here are the steps that you need to do:

  1. Close Stem by right-clicking on the Taskbar and then selecting Task Manager, next click on Steam Client Bootstrapper and then click End Task.
  2. Then depending on how your system is set up, right-click on the Steam client icon on Taskbar or on the desktop.
  3. From the list that drops down as you right-click, select Run as administrator
  4. Now try to launch the install/download to see if the error is still there.

Here is another way:

  1. Close the Steam client the same as in the steps above.
  2. Right-click on the windows Start menu and then choose Search from the list that pops up.
  3. Then search for Steam directory, usually it’s C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\
  4. When you open the directory right-click on the Steam.exe file that you will see there.
  5. Then select Properties and then open Compatibility tab.
  6. Then mark the box for Run this program as an administrator by clicking on it.

Clear Download Cache

To clear out the temporary download cache which Steam uses for obtaining game files from its servers, is another simple fix. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Boot up Steam
  2. You will see options laid horizontally along the top of the client window, click on View
  3. Then from the list that drops down select Settings
  4. Then click on Downloads in the left-hand list
  5. Click on Clear Download Cache
  6. Then click OK
  7. Finally – launch install or update

Disable Antivirus Temporarily

In some cases, your antivirus software while trying to protect your computer it can affect the write permissions in the Steam directory that causes Steam missing file privileges error. If this is the case what you need to do is disable the antivirus just for a short time while Steam makes the install or update that you need. Though there are a lot of different antivirus software out there, we will use Avast as an example and hopefully you can take the same or similar steps:

  1. Find Avast icon in your system tray and right-click on it, then move the cursor over Avast shields control
  2. Then from the list that shows up select that time period that you will need to install and update game files
  3. At first maybe experiment with 10 minutes and then trigger the install or update just to see if this fixed the error. If you see that is solved the problem, then you can change the time frame to match the installation or upgrade length.

Disable igfxEM Module

This fix might work for you if you’re using a motherboard with an Intel chipset and onboarding graphics. One other thing that can hamper with permissions and block the user from reading/writing some specific files is the igfxEM Module. IF this is the case for you, you will have to end the task every time you install of update a game.

  1. On your keyboard hit Ctrl+Alt+Del and a screen with options will pop up, then select Task Manager
  2. Click on Steam Client Bootstrapper and then click on End Task
  3. Click on Details tab
  4. Then find the process that is titled igfxEM Module, click on it and then click End Task
  5. Reboot Steam

Delete Steam Downloading Directory in Safe Mode

If you have tried all the solutions listed above to solve Steam Missing File Privileges and none of them worked, then the problem might be coming from the install/update process being stuck in a loop so it is incapable to progress due to a corrupt file or a bug. To try to solve this you need to delete the temporary download files in the Steam directory.

  1. Right-click on the Windows Start menu
  2. Hold down the shift key and then click on Power, then restart
  3. From the options click on Troubleshoot then Advanced options
  4. Then click on Startup Settings and then Restart
  5. When your computer restarts select the Enable Safe Mode option by pressing the corresponding F key
  6. When you are in Windows Safe Mode go to Steam directory and enter the Downloading directory C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\downloading\
  7. Then delete all the content or just the file that is connected to the game causing issues (every game is assigned a unique numerical value that figures in the privileges error message)
  8. Restart your computer
  9. Then boot up Steam and trigger the install/update

Here’s how to fix another Steam error Steam Content File Locked.