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Steam "Cannot open blob archive file" Error

The resolution to this problem is relatively simple. I will try to help you save your downloaded Steam games, but if the problem is bad enough, you could lose them and have to re-download them. Of course, I recommend you take the first steps in solving computer problems before trying anything here. Go do that now, if you haven't already, but bookmark this page in case you need it for later.

Method 1

Follow the directions at the Steam Support Wiki.

This tells you to do the following:
  1. Exit Steam. Even from the System Tray.
  2. Rename the ClientRegistry.blob to ClientRegistryOld.blob. This file is located in the directory: C:\Program Files\Steam (or whichever directory you specified during installation).
  3. Restart Steam to allow this file to be recreated.

Method 2

Note: I only included this one because it's from the Steam Support Wiki which I think is from the actual Steam support staff (I could be wrong.). Though I often question if steam support are the brainless zombies from Left 4 Dead. Either way, I wouldn't recommend this method since it's mostly a waist of time and effort for most.

Follow the directions at the Steam Support Wiki.

This method will have you change security settings for Steam. This really doesn't make any since to me, especially if you are currently running steam under an administrator account. But I included it here just because it's a solution from the Steam Support Wiki. At the bottom it tells you if that doesn't work "you should reformat your hard drive, reinstall your operating system, and reinstall Steam to resolve the issue.", which was very funny to me. Instead I would suggest trying Method 3 below.

Method 3

If the above two methods didn't work for you, you're not alone. This is a method I found by my own troubleshooting and that is the only thing that works for me when this problem happens. It has happened more than a few times and this has worked each time. So I wrote this guide.

  1. Close Steam.

    If steam is still open for some reason, close it. Look in the system tray (where the time is displayed on the start menu), if the Steam icon is there, right-click it and then click close. Open the Task Manager [CTRL]+[SHIFT]+[ESC] or right click the start menu and select Task Manager, click the Processes tab, and then make sure "steam.exe" is not in that list. If steam.exe is in the task manager, right click it and click End Task then click Yes on the following confirmation window.
  2. Backup the 'steamapps' directory.

    Open the directory where steam was installed. The default install location is C:\Program Files\Steam but you may have installed it elsewhere. move the steamapps directory to another location for temporary storage. This directory contains all of your downloaded games. Tip: If you move it to the root of the same drive or to another directory outside the Steam directory on the same drive, it will save you some time because moving the files from and to the same drive is much quicker than from one drive to another.
    If you installed to C:\Program Files\Steam, move C:\Program Files\Steam\Steamapps to C:\Steamapps. Move the whole Steamapps directory, not just the files inside it.
  3. Uninstall Steam.

    Just uninstall steam completely. Your games should be saved if you followed step 1 correctly. Remove the Steam directory if it was left behind by the uninstaller.
  4. Install steam.

    Go to http://store.steampowered.com/about/ and click on Install Steam Now. This will download a small installation file which you can use to install Steam. Go ahead and install Steam.
  5. Start Steam.

    Start Steam and login. Once it's completely loaded you will notice your list of games, but none are installed. This is normal.
  6. Close Steam

    Now close Steam and make sure it's completely closed. Again, look in the system tray and look in the task manager.
  7. Move the games back.

    Move your games back into the Steam directory. Windows may warn you that there are already folders there with the same name and ask if you would like to continue anyway. Just click Yes to All.
  8. Start Steam

    After all of the games have copied back over, start Steam. After it's loaded, you should notice that all of the games you had previously are now updating/downloading. That's normal. They will update quickly and your games should be ready to play again in no time. If some remain in an update/download process and they are not making any progress, close and restart Steam.

Method 4

Uninstall Steam and then reinstall it without saving your games. There may be a problem with one or more of your downloaded games that is causing the issue. Slim chance, but it's a possibility. Maybe if you can remember what game you were last playing when steam crashed or what the last game was that you tried to install, you might just be able to remove only that one from the steamapps directory and everything may be fine. If this doesn't work, there is probably a problem with your PC or more likely, the operating system... and that is beyond the scope of this article.
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