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It's happening to me since the last update and I'm unable to play any game. When I click the Steam icon, it opens the "Updating" bar, which sits at 0%. Then, the app closes, a second Steam app instance opens, and the error pops up with this exact text:

Steam.exe (main exception): ERROR: copying SteamNew.exe to Steam.exe failed, Win32 Error 32 "The process cannot access the file because it is being used by another process."

I've restarted my computer normally and in safe mode, and there don't seem to be any processes legitimately tying up the app. I know I'm not the only one with this issue, as I've seen the question popping up here and there.

Does anyone have a solution that doesn't involve deleting all of my game data? I'm on limited bandwidth so I can't afford to download everything again

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Could you explain the problem in more detail? –  BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Aug 4 '12 at 5:24
    
When I click the Steam icon, it opens the "Updating" bar, which sits at 0%. Then, the app closes, a second Steam app instance opens, and the error pops up with this exact text: Steam.exe (main exception): ERROR: copying SteamNew.exe to Steam.exe failed, Win32 Error 32 "The process cannot access the file because it is being used by another process." I've restarted my computer normally and in safe mode, and there don't seem to be any processes legitimately tying up the app. I know I'm not the only one with this issue, as I've seen the question popping up here and there –  xyroclast Aug 4 '12 at 5:29
    
Take a look at Steam support article: support.steampowered.com/kb_article.php?ref=2279-EDGC-6315 , and see if that helps. –  mordi2k Aug 4 '12 at 12:18

2 Answers 2

I discovered Steam's "Repair tool" in the installer. I'm not sure if it matters, but during my earlier troubleshooting, I deleted everything in my Steam folder except for steamapps, userdata, and "Steam".

The Repair tool ran for quite a while (it seemed to be stuck at the end) and then when it was finished, the update went off without a hitch. It took a few minutes to remember that I'd already downloaded most of my games, but it seems to be in its original working order!

I'm not sure why they don't mention this at all in their troubleshooting article...

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I believe this issue was more prominent some years ago (like when you posted your question), but I still see this or similar errors once in a while.

It's a long shot, but one thing that can cause these kinds of errors, is if the Application Experience service in Windows is not running. I have not looked into the specific details about why, but give it a try and check if it is running before starting Steam. It has solved this kind of issue for me before.

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