How to Repair “Windows Cannot Find Steam.Exe” Issue on Steam

Windows cannot find Steam.exe is an error message that you can get when you double-click the Steam shortcut on the desktop to open the Steam client. This error can also occur if you open the Steam.exe file directly from the Steam installation folder.

After checking, you may find that the file exists and is available. But Windows still cannot find Steam. Why is this problem occurring?

What’s causing ‘Windows can’t find Steam.exe’?

  • Antivirus issue: It may have flagged the Steam executable and you need to add it to your exclusions list. If that does not help, you may need to delete it or even delete a certain registry entry.
  • Malware: It is not uncommon for malware to be present on your computer and directly cause this problem.

How to solve the “Windows can’t find Steam.Exe” problem?

Reboot your computer

Sometimes a simple reboot can solve the problem. Some users report that rebooting has solved many problems with Steam. We recommend that you do the same. Restarting restores all programs to their original state and also clears the cache.

Scanning your computer for viruses

  1. Press the Windows+I key combination to open the settings window, and then click on Update & Security.
  2. Now tap the Windows Security option and select Open Windows Security.
  3. Click on the Virus and Threat Protection option.
  4. On the next screen, select the scan options and select Full Scan.
  5. Wait for the scan to finish and go to the protection history.
  6. Here you can see scanned items that have been identified as potential viruses.
  7. You can either delete them or quarantine them.

Add Steam to the “Exceptions” in Avast Antivirus

  1. Launch the Avast program with admin privileges and go to the menu.
  2. Select the “Settings” option.
  3. Select the “General” tab and visit the “Exceptions” section.
  4. Click on the “Add Exception” button and navigate to the folder where Steam is installed.
  5. Click on the “Add Exception” button.
  6. Finally, restart your computer.

Deleting a related registry key

  1. Hold down the Windows+R keys at the same time to open the startup window.
  2. Type the word “Regedit” and press the Enter key.
  3. Navigate to the location listed here-HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options.
  4. Select Image File Execution Options and delete the Steam.exe file.
  5. Finally, restart your computer.

Frequently Asked Questions

When system files are missing, corrupted, or incorrectly modified, PC problems like "exe no longer works" error occur. And you need the help of Windows built-in tools to restore your system files.

If an antivirus program has modified or deleted Appmanifest files in your Steam folder, the problem can also occur when Steam self-deletes your game. This is because the file contains information about the saving path of your games. You can solve this problem by properly editing the file.

  1. Restart the failed program.
  2. Change the compatibility settings.
  3. Run the program as an administrator.
  4. Check for malicious programs.
  5. Clean up registry values.
  6. Clean up the temporary files.
  7. Perform an SFC and DISM.
  8. Change permissions.

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Mark Ginter is a tech blogger with a passion for all things gadgets and gizmos. A self-proclaimed "geek", Mark has been blogging about technology for over 15 years. His blog, techquack.com, covers a wide range of topics including new product releases, industry news, and tips and tricks for getting the most out of your devices. If you're looking for someone who can keep you up-to-date with all the latest tech news and developments, then be sure to follow him over at Microsoft.