6 Ways to Fix Steam Validation Errors

How to Fix Steam Validation Errors - Hero

Having trouble running your Steam games? If you’re getting Steam validation errors, follow these steps to fix the problem.

If you’re having trouble with one of your Steam games, it’s a good idea to validate your files. Steam validation runs a complete check on all installed files for your game, but if you’re seeing a Steam validation error, you’ll need to troubleshoot through the problem first. The error usually appears with the message “Files failed to validate and will be reacquired” and will wipe your installation, starting again from scratch. If it keeps happening, follow these steps to fix Steam validation errors.

Restart Your Steam Client or Your Computer

There’s something to be said about giving everything a quick restart. Restarting Steam or your PC will close any connections with Steam and clear any active memory. It’s always a good idea to try a quick restart to see if it fixes a validation error on Steam for you.

To restart Steam, click Steam > Exit from the top client menu, then relaunch Steam after a few seconds.

Exit the Steam client

If this doesn’t fix the problem, right-click the Start menu and select Restart to restart your Windows. On a Mac, click the Apple menu > Restart and confirm by clicking Restart in the pop-up box.

After your PC or Mac restarts, launch Steam to check if the validation error has been resolved. If the error still occurs, you’ll need to try one of the options below instead.

Manually Verify the Integrity of Your Steam Game Files

Steam will automatically try to validate your game files, especially before or after a recent update. If you’ve just restarted your client, you might want to try manually verifying the integrity of your game files.

During this process, Steam compares your installed game files against the latest versions stored on Steam’s servers. If discrepancies are found, Steam will replace the corrupted, missing, or broken files. Depending on the size of your game, it may take some time to complete. To manually verify game file integrity in Steam, follow these steps.

  1. Open the Steam client.
  2. Select Library from the top menu.
    Open the Steam library
  3. Locate your game in the menu on the left.
  4. Right-click the game and select Properties.
    Open game properties in Steam
  5. In the Properties menu, select Installed Files.
    Open installed files properties menu in Steam
  6. Click the Verify Integrity of game files button.
    Verifying Steam game files
  7. Wait for the process to complete—this may take some time.
  8. Once the process is complete, exit the menu and return to your game’s list in the Library menu.
  9. Select your game, then click Play to see if it launches with the validation error occurring again.
    Steam play button

Repair Steam Library Folder

Your Steam library folder is the repository for all of your Steam games. You can have multiple library folders—usually held on different devices. If there’s a problem with your Steam game installation, it’s a good idea to try and repair your library folder to fix the problem. To repair your Steam library folder, follow these steps.

  1. Open Steam and click Steam > Settings (or Steam > Preferences on a Mac) from the menu at the very top.
    Open Steam settings
  2. In the Settings window, select the Storage tab.
    Storage settings on Steam
  3. Using the drop-down menu at the top, select the library folder containing the game that won’t validate properly on Steam.
  4. Click the three-dots menu icon next to the available space bar below the drop-down menu.
  5. From the menu, click Repair Library.
    Repair your Steam library
  6. Allow time for the process to complete. Once completed, click Close to exit the confirmation box, then exit the menu.
  7. Return to the Library folder, select your game, and then click Play to see if the problem is resolved.
    Steam play button

Clear Your Steam Download Cache

Steam relies on a local download cache to allow you to quickly pause and resume game downloads. If you’re seeing the Steam validation error appear after trying to install a recent update, the installation files might be corrupted.

If that’s the case, it’s worth clearing your Steam download cache. This will force Steam to download a fresh copy of any installation files before it tries to update your game and begin the validation process again. To clear your Steam download cache, follow these steps.

  1. Open the Steam client and click Steam > Settings. On a Mac, click Steam > Preferences instead.
    Open Steam settings
  2. In the Settings menu, click the Downloads tab on the left.
    Downloads tab in Steam settings
  3. Scroll through the list of options until you reach the Clear Download Cache section.
  4. Click the Clear Cache button next to this option to clear your Steam download cache.
    Clear Steam download cache
  5. You’ll be asked to confirm your choice—click Confirm to do so.Confirm deleting Steam download cache
  6. Steam will restart, clearing your cached files in the process. You may also need to log in to Steam again afterward.

Check Your Hard Drive for Errors Using CHKDSK

The CHKDSK command has been available to DOS and Windows users since the 1980s. Because your Steam validation errors might occur due to a problem with your hard drive, you should run the CHKDSK command if you’re running Steam on Windows to rule out a hardware problem.

If your hard drive has errors that CHKDSK can fix, running the command will do so. You can then manually validate your game installation afterward. To check and repair your hard drive on Windows using CHKDSK, follow these steps.

  1. Right-click the Start menu and select Terminal (Admin). On older versions of Windows, you may need to select PowerShell (Admin) or Command Prompt (Admin) instead.
    Open Windows Terminal
  2. In the terminal window, type chkdsk c: /f /r and press Enter on your keyboard. Replace c: in the command with a different drive letter if your Steam library is held on a different drive.
  3. If prompted, press Y to schedule a check during the next system reboot. This is mandatory if you’re running a check on your installation (c:) drive.
    Running CHKDSK on Windows
  4. Once the CHKDSK boot check is scheduled, right-click the Start menu and click Shut down or sign out > Restart to restart your PC.

Once you restart your PC, the CHKDSK command will begin its boot-level scan of your drive. This can take a lot of time, depending on how large your drive is and how many files you have stored.

Make sure to keep an eye on the command as it runs. You may be asked to confirm certain instructions. It’s also possible that CHKDSK is unable to fix certain errors. In this case, your hard drive might be failing, and you’ll need to investigate whether you can repair or fix it.

Remove and Reinstall Your Game

File validation on Steam is designed to keep your game installation synced with Steam’s own files. If there’s a problem, it might be time to remove the game entirely from your PC and download a completely fresh copy from Steam itself. To remove and reinstall a game on Steam, follow these steps.

  1. Open the Steam client and click Library at the top.
    Open the Steam library
  2. Right-click the game you want to remove from the list on the left.
  3. From the pop-up menu, select Manage > Uninstall.
    Uninstall a Steam game
  4. Steam will ask you to confirm that you want to remove the game—click Uninstall in the pop-up box to do so.
    Confirm Steam game uninstall
  5. Once the game is removed, select the game from the list, then click the Install button.
    Steam installation button
  6. Confirm where you want to install the game, as well as any other specific options, in the pop-up box.
  7. Click Install to begin the game installation.
    Confirm game installation settings
  8. Allow time for Steam to download and install the game. Once the game is installed, click the Play button to run the game.
    Steam play button

Steam will validate your game files the first time you try to run it. If the game launches successfully, the game validation error will be fixed.

Managing Steam File Validation Errors

If there isn’t a hardware problem with your PC, you should be able to fix Steam validation errors like the “Files failed to validate and will be reacquired” message using the steps above.

In the first instance, always try to manually validate your files. In most cases, manually verifying your game files should fix any errors with your game installation. If reinstalling the game doesn’t work, however, you may need to think about removing the Steam client itself and reinstalling it to see if that resolves the problem.

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