How To Fix Windows Cannot Find Steam.exe Error

There have been reports from Steam users getting an error when trying to open Steam on Windows PC. An error message “Windows cannot find steam.exe” error usually appears. Normally, opening Steam is done by either double clicking on Steam shortcut located on the desktop or from steam installation folder. In this latest installment of our troubleshooting series, we will talk about the recommended solutions on how to fix Windows cannot find steam.exe error on Windows 10.

What to do if Windows cannot find Steam.exe error occurs

There are several factors that can cause this particular error to occur ranging from lack of administrative privileges, issues with the registry, a virus present on the computer, corrupt temporary files to issues with Steam installation. If you are experiencing Windows cannot find Steam.exe error on Steam, follow the solutions below to fix it.

Solution 1: Run Steam as Administrator

There’s a possibility that Windows cannot find Steam.exe when trying to open Steam is because you do not have administrative access. Errors are sometimes triggered when opening steam if you do not have permissions. To fix this, make sure to run Steam as Administrator.

To do this:

  1. Right click on Steam shortcut icon.

    Windows Cannot Find steam.exe

  2. Click Properties from the drop down menu.

    Windows Cannot Find steam.exe

  3. At Properties window, click Compatibility tab

    Windows Cannot Find steam.exe

  4. Under Settings, click the option Run this program as an administrator.

    Windows Cannot Find steam.exe

  5. Click Apply to apply changes made

    Windows Cannot Find steam.exe

  6. Click OK to exit Properties window.

    Windows Cannot Find steam.exe

After running Steam as Administrator, check if Windows cannot find Steam.exe error still occurs.

Solution 2: Scan computer for virus

There are instances when virus or malware can cause error on Steam to occurs wherein it disguises as Steam and or preventing executables files from being opened. With that, Windows will have a hard time distinguishing between the real Steam application from the virus. To fix this, you may need to scan your computer for virus and fix it if there are any.

To do this:

  1. Press the Windows key or Start located at the lower left.
  2. Click Settings, an icon that looks like a gear.
  3. At Windows section, click Update and Security
  4. Click Windows Security at left pane
  5. Click virus and threat protection at right pane.
  6. For Windows Defender Antivirus, click on Full Scan for scan options. Windows will now scan for viruses and threat. Wait for the process to complete.
  7. After scanning is complete and it could not identify any virus or threats, exit Windows Security

After scanning computer for virus, open the Steam again and then check if Windows cannot find Steam.exe error still occurs.

Solution 3: Change Registry Settings

If at times registry entries get corrupted, errors can occur. In here, the registry entry for steam.exe might have been corrupted, thus getting Windows cannot find Steam.exe error occurs.

To do this:

  1. Press Windows key + R on your keyboard to open RUN dialog box
  2. At RUN dialog box, type “regedit” and press Enter or click OK. This will open Registry Editor section
  3. Inside Registry Editor window, navigate to the following path:
  4. Click HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE to expand it.
  5. Click SOFTWARE folder to expand it.
  6. Click Microsoft Folder to expand it.
  7. Click Windows NT Folder to expand it.
  8. Click CurrentVersion to expand it.
  9. Click Image File Execution to expand it.
  10. Right click steam.exe and click Delete from the drop down menu.
  11. Exit Registry Editor Window.

Open the Steam again and then check if Windows cannot find Steam.exe error still occurs.

Solution 4: Add Steam as Exception in Avast

Steam and Avast does not always go along well together. There are times when Avast can cause issues with Steam and even Steam installation. But if you need both apps on your computer, you may need to add Steam as an exception list in Avast.

To do this:

  1. Launch Avast, it is usually located on your desktop.
  2. Click Menu located at the upper right
  3. Click Settings from the drop down menu.
  4. At left pane, click General tab
  5. Click Exceptions
  6. Click Add Exception tab
  7. Click Browse to locate file location
  8. Scroll down and locate Steam.exe file
  9. Click on Steam to put a check mark.
  10. Click OK
  11. Click Add Exception.

After adding steam as exception, open the Steam again and then check if Windows cannot find Steam.exe error still occurs.

Solution 5: Delete Avast Antivirus

If adding Steam as an Exception in Avast did not fix Windows cannot find Steam.exe error, you may need to uninstall Avast and see if the problem will be fix.

To do this:

  1. Press Windows key + R on your keyboard to open RUN dialog box
  2. At RUN dialog box, type “appwiz.cpl” and press Enter or click OK. This will open Programs and Features section
  3. Scroll down and locate Avast Free Antivirus.
  4. Right click on Avast Free Antivirus and click Uninstall from the drop down menu.
  5. Click Uninstall at the prompt message. Follow the onscreen instructions on how to uninstall. Wait for uninstall process to complete.

Open Steam again and then check if Windows cannot find Steam.exe error still occurs.

Solution 6: Disable Windows Defender Firewall

It is possible that Windows cannot find Steam.exe error occurs if Windows defender Firewall is having issues and identifies Steam as a virus or threat. If that happens, you will not be able to open Steam but gets the error message. To fix Windows cannot find Steam.exe error, try to disable Windows Defender Firewall temporarily and then check if the issue will be resolved.

  1. Press Windows key + R on your keyboard to open RUN dialog box
  2. At RUN dialog box, type “Control panel” and press Enter or click OK to open Control Panel
  3. Make sure View by at the upper right is set to Large Icons.
  4. Click Windows Defender Firewall
  5. At left pane, click Turn Windows Defender Firewall on or off.
  6. Make sure to check the option “Turn off Windows Defender Firewall in both Private and Public settings.

Open Steam client again and then check if Windows cannot find Steam.exe error still occurs.

Solution 7: RUN DISM

A corrupt and or missing system files can cause issues when trying to open an application. To fix Windows cannot find Steam.exe error, you may need to run DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management). It will search the computer for corrupt system files and fixes them if there are any found.

To run DISM, follow the steps below:

  1. At the search bar on your Windows located at the lower left, type Command Prompt
  2. Right click on the Command Prompt result and click Run as Administrator from the drop down menu. If a prompt User account control (UAC) appears, click OK.
  3. At command prompt, type the following commands and then press Enter after each command
  4. Type Sfc /scannow and press Enter
  5. Type DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth and press Enter. Wait for each command to complete as it can take some time.
  6. Type DISM /Online/Cleanup-Image /Restorehealth and press Enter. Wait for each command to complete as it can take some time.
  7. Type DISM /Online/Cleanup-Image /startcomponentcleanup and press Enter.

After DISM scan is complete, launch Steam client again and then check if Windows cannot find Steam.exe error message still occurs.

Solution 8: Reinstall Steam

If none of the above mentioned methods did not fix issues with Windows cannot find Steam.exe error, try uninstalling and reinstalling steam and see if the issue will be resolved.

To do this:

  1. Press Windows key + R on your keyboard to open RUN dialog box.
  2. At RUN dialog box, type “appwiz.cpl” and press Enter or click OK to open Programs and Features section.
  3. Inside Programs and features, scroll down and locate Steam app
  4. Right click on Steam and click Uninstall.
  5. A prompt message appears, click Uninstall to confirm. Wait for the uninstall process to complete.
  6. Restart your computer.
  7. After computer completely reboot, go to steam website from here
  8. Click Install steam to download the latest version.

Once steam has been installed,  check if Windows cannot find Steam.exe error message still occurs.

After following the steps mentioned, you will successfully fix Windows cannot find steam.exe error message. Visit our TheDroidGuy Youtube Channel for more troubleshooting videos.

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