Fix Steam Family Sharing not Working

Discover the factors limiting your access to games available on your Steam Family Library, what to do to fix the issues, and access the games.

Steam Family Library sharing is perhaps the most fantastic feature ever introduced by a gaming company. With Steam Family Sharing, players can access thousands of games paid for by friends and family.

We’re talking about a way to keep playing hundreds of premium-rate games for endless hours, free. Now, for every true gaming pro, that’s a dream come true.

In response to so many complaints from our dear followers, we have compiled a list of detailed and simple fixes that will resolve all ‘Steam Family Sharing not Working’ issues.

Read on to find out how to finally gain access to your old buddy’s game library.

Causes of Steam Family Sharing not Working

1. Steam Library Family Sharing is disabled

You won’t be able to play games in a friend’s Steam Family Library if Family Sharing is not enabled on their Steam account.

2. Game not available for Steam Sharing

There are specific requirements a game must meet to be shareable on Steam Family Library. If your desired game doesn’t meet these conditions, you won’t be able to play it as a borrowed game.

3. Library account Holder’s authorization

Your inability to play a game in the library might suggest an authorization error from the account of the Library Holder. 

 4. Game app cache errors

Your previous game data could be corrupted in storage and render the game app inaccessible. 

5. System Firewall preventing Steam Update

In some instances, your system security firewall may be resisting your game sharing access by preventing regular updates on Steam.

6. Unsupported Operating System

Steam Family Library Sharing works with particular Operating systems. Attempting to play a game on an unsupported OS will result in gameplay errors.

7. Shared Library is Locked

A limitation to Steam Family Library sharing is that only a member of the Library Family can access the game at a particular time. 

You won’t be able to play a game if there’s another player currently playing the same game, or another game in the shared library.

8. SFC errors

System files get corrupted for several reasons, most of which are related to malware, firmware, and virus attacks on your system. Sometimes, your current antivirus and firewall package isn’t layered enough to keep those hackers away.

It’s crucial to complement antivirus scans with SFC (System File Checker) scans to repair damaged system files after such malware attacks.

9. Shared Limit Exceeded

Steam’s limit on Family Library game sharing is pegged at five different accounts on ten devices for a window of 90 days. You may be experiencing issues accessing a game on the shared library because the account holder’s limit is exceeded or your time window has elapsed.

How to Fix Steam Family Sharing not Working

1. Enable Game Sharing on Family Library

Before you enable Family Library Sharing on your Steam account, ensure that your Steam Guard security is operational and running to safeguard your user data from external breaches.

  1. Go to settings and select ‘Account’ to enable Steam Guard.
  2. Now go ahead and set up Steam Family Sharing by heading to Settings > Family.
  3. If you’re in Big Picture mode, you should go to ‘Settings,’ then ‘Family Library Sharing’ to set up Library Family Sharing.
  4. You can also select the Steam Family Library members to authorize for game sharing here. Without your authorization, they won’t be able to play games in your library.

2. Request Account Holder’s Authorization

You can request a Steam Family Library account holder’s authorization to share their games.

  1. First, ensure Steam Guard is enabled.
  2. Now go to your library to see games other users on your computer have in their library.
  3. Select a game to request sharing authorization.
  4. The account holder will receive an e-mail notification with a link to authorize your access to their library.
  5. Ensure the game you want to play is permitted for sharing

Not all games on Steam Family Library can be shared with friends. See Steam’s Family Library Sharing policy for a list of reasons you cannot share a game. 

Also, ensure your internet connectivity is excellent, as you can only share a game in your library online.

3. Temporarily disable system Firewall/Antivirus settings

  • You should ensure there aren’t any malicious or background processes running on your PC.
  • Disable your system Firewall/Antivirus.
  • Then restart your system and verify the integrity of your game cache.
  • Go to the Steam library and select the game you’re trying to play. Then right-click and go to properties > local files > verify integrity of game cache.

4. Other users accessing the same library

A necessary protocol in Steam Family Library game sharing is only one user can share the library at a particular time. So you may be having difficulty accessing a shared library because other users are on it too, and you have to wait it out.

5. Clear your Steam cache and app data

Clearing your game cache will remove all glitches and playback errors. Before doing this, ensure you have a backup of your mod files.

  • Head to ‘settings’ on your Steam app (that’s ‘preferences’ If you’re on an Apple Mac).
  • Select ‘downloads’ and click ‘clear downloads cache.’
  • After that, you restart your PC to finish up. You’ll need to log into your Steam account again to access your library.

6. Perform SFC scan

System File Checks are essential to ensure there aren’t any system file errors limiting your access to a friend’s library.

  1. Hit Windows + r keys and hit ‘enter‘ to open run dialogue
  2. Next, input CMD and run as administrator.

Input the command SFC /scannow and hit enter to perform the scan.

7. Perform Winsock reset

You can also perform a Winsock reset to delete all socket errors during gameplay and downloads.

  • Run command prompt as administrator, just as outlined above.
  • Input the command netsh Winsock reset and hit enter to perform reset.

8. Change the location of Steam game files

Consider changing the installation files’ location on your PC as a last measure. 

Head to C:\program files\steam and copy all files on this folder somewhere safe as a backup.

Except for user data, steam apps, and steam.exe, you should delete all other files in the folder. 

Go to another location in your system directory and paste all remaining steam files, including the backup folders. You can now launch your steam app and observe for any changes.

The management of Steam (development and marketing division for all Valve’s digital gaming products) has been blazing the trail in so many ways. First, they made their games subscription-free, a considerable relief to gamers who had no alternative for the Xbox game pass or Google play pass.

Then came the era of game library sharing across up to 5 accounts and ten devices at a go. 

We hope that Steam continues to roll out more players’ enjoyability-centered ideas that will keep driving the Xbox/Playstation gaming monopoly into oblivion.


Can I play a game in my library together with someone sharing the same game with me?

Answer: no, Steam Family Library game sharing only allows one user, including you, to access a shared library at a particular time.

Can I still access a game in my library when someone is sharing the library and currently on a gaming session?

Answer: Yes, you can access your library anytime you want. If someone is Sharing your library with you, they’ll receive a notification to either close their session in 5 minutes or purchase the game themselves when you begin your session.

For how long can I access a shared library?

Answer: 90 days from authorization from the library account holder.