Steam offers the option to share your library of games with other Steam users. This can be achieved through the Steam Family Sharing feature.
The feature lets users you’ve approved access your games library. They will be able to play the games available in your library.
Alternatively, you can gain access to another user’s library and play the games available there. Sometimes errors can occur when using a shared library on Steam, such as the locked error.
This will prevent you from accessing shared Steam libraries. There are many reasons for why this error occurs, some of which will be covered here.
Steam shared library locked error – The reason
The most common reason why users get this error message is that something is blocking the shared library from working properly – this could be a firewall, internet connection or something else.
Sometimes, simply restarting your Steam client is enough to resolve the error. You will also want to check that you’re signed out from other devices, and make sure that you authorise library sharing from within Steam too.
We’ll go through a few issues that could be causing the Steam shared library locked error, along with ways to solve each issue.
One reason the error is showing up could be due to a firewall block. Firewalls can sometimes block certain files or programs, which could be interfering with your ability to access shared Steam libraries.
In order to fix this issue, open your firewall program and ensure that it allows Steam past its defences. There should be a setting for allowing an app or feature through the firewall.
If you’re using the default Windows firewall (Windows Defender Firewall), open the application. You can access it by searching for it in the search feature available on the taskbar.
After opening the firewall, click ‘allow an app or feature through Windows Defender Firewall’.
You should now see a list of programs. Next to each program, there is a check box for private network connections and public network connections. If a box is checked, it means it has permission to bypass the firewall.
Find Steam and see if the boxes next to it are checked. If not, click the boxes to check them. Both boxes should be checked.
Now, try accessing your Steam shared library to see if the error still occurs.
Restart the program
Another method for remedying the locked error is to simply restart Steam.
Log out of your account on Steam and close the application. Ensure that it’s not running in the background by opening the task manager. You can do so by pressing Windows-Key + ‘x’, and clicking ‘task manager’.
Check to see if Steam is on the task manager. If so, click on it and click ‘end task’ to completely close the application.
Finally, open Steam again and log in. Try accessing your shared library to see if the error pops up.
Close Steam on other devices/accounts
The locked error could be due to another Steam user currently using the library. Multiple users being logged in can affect your shared library – you can often tell if someone else is signed in as Steam will say a game is running, even though you personally haven’t opened anything.
See also: Steam game says it’s running when it isn’t
To remedy this problem, try closing Steam down on all devices and accounts that have permission to access the shared library. Then, try accessing the library again on your account/device.
Check Player Status
Your shared Steam library could be inaccessible due to another user playing the same game as you at the same time.
When many users are trying to access the Steam library simultaneously, it can end up with the library becoming locked (even though this is the point of a shared library, it’s something Steam has trouble with – much like transferring Steam funds).
Related: Can you transfer money from Steam to PayPal?
Multiple users playing the same game simultaneously can cause errors to occur, so ensure that other users that have access to the library are not currently active.
Block the Internet
Another method for solving the shared library locked error is by blocking Steam’s access to the internet. Blocking your internet connection could fix your Steam client.
First, open Windows Defender Firewall. You can find it by searching ‘firewall’ in the Start Menu.
Click ‘advanced settings’.
Click ‘outbound rules’ in the left tab, and then click ‘new rule’ on the right tab. A window should pop up. Ensure that ‘program’ has been selected, and press ‘next’.
Click ‘browse’ and find the Steam application. This should be in This PC > Windows (C:) > Programs (x86) > Steam. Scroll down until you find the Steam app and double-click on it. Then, click ‘next’.
Ensure that ‘block the connection’ is selected and click ‘next’.
Ensure that the boxes for domain, public, and private are checked. Then, click ‘next’.
Finally, you’ll be asked to name the new rule. After naming it, press ‘next’. Now, try accessing your shared Steam library again without an active internet connection.
If you can, also try whilst connected to both private and public networks too and see if this makes a difference.
If none of the solutions above worked, try contacting Steam’s customer support for Family Library Sharing.
You can access their request form by going to https://help.steampowered.com/en/wizard/HelpWithSteamIssue/?issueid=803. Make sure you’re logged into your Steam account on your browser before trying to access the form.
Alternatively, you can go to the discussion forum for Steam Family Sharing mode and post your issue there – they have different forums for specific needs, like the SteamVR 306 error.
You can get answers/feedback from other users. You can access the forum by going to https://steamcommunity.com/groups/familysharing/discussions?snr=.
Getting in touch with Steam’s customer support is usually a last resort, though they can be helpful in resolving the Shared Library Locked error as it’s fairly common.
In conclusion, there are several things that could be causing your shared Steam library to be locked. The issue may be that other users are currently active on the library, which can sometimes cause errors to occur. In this case, it’s best to ensure you’re the only active member.
Or, the issue may lie with the program itself. There are several ways to remedy this, such as restarting the program or blocking its access to the internet. If none of the solutions in this article worked in solving the locked error, try contacting Steam’s support service for shared libraries.