How To Fix Steam Game Won’t Open (Missing Executable)

If your Steam game won’t open or if you keep on getting “Failed to Start Game (Missing Executable)” error, there may be an issue with Steam application or with other software in your machine. This problem usually occurs if there’s a missing file for a game you’re trying to launch, or if Steam or its program is being blocked. Learn what you can do for this problem by following the solutions in this post.

Causes why your Steam game won’t open

A number of possible causes should be considered if Steam won’t open. Let’s check each of these factors one by one.

Random Steam client bug.

No application or program can work 100% all the time. Steam application may stop working due a minor bug sometimes. A large majority of cases when Steam encounters a hiccup is caused by a temporary bug that goes away on its own. This is because a lot of things can go wrong with a computer’s software environment.

Conflict with Security software.

Some antivirus programs may incorrectly detect the Steam client as a malware. This can lead to a security software blocking or deleting some files or applications needed by your computer to load Steam application. Most security software have an option to allow a user to restore a file or program that it has deleted automatically. 


If your Steam app keeps saying that it’s blocked or unable to open, you must tweak your antivirus or security software settings to exclude Steam when it’s doing a scan.

Corrupt Steam data.

Steam application uses temporary files in order to do certain tasks. For example, downloaded contents are stored separately and are treated as cache. Sometimes, a file or the entire cache may get corrupted or outdated, which can lead to problems. Fortunately, a cache issue with Steam can easily be fixed. Check out the solutions for a corrupted file or cache below.

Other software glitches on PC.

Some applications or programs may negatively impact the performance of Steam. Certain applications like security software (antivirus, anti-spyware, firewall), P2P clients, FTP/web server applications, IP filtering/blocking programs, download managers, VPNs, may cause Steam or its games to crash or connectivity to be interrupted. If you can’t seem to get rid of missing executable error at all, you should dig deeper by checking your other applications by removing or disabling them one by one in order to narrow down the possible causes.

Troubleshooting a game that won’t open on Steam or missing executable error

If Steam or its game won’t open or keeps showing missing executable error, there are a number of possible solutions that you can try to fix the problem. Below are the things that you must do in order to deal with this issue.

  1. Restart Steam client.

    Rebooting Steam client is often an effective way to refresh the application and address bugs. Try to force quit a running Steam application via Task Manager application and see if that will fix the problem. Just open Task Manager, find and right click the Steam application under Processes tab, then hit End Task. If there are multiple Steam programs running, make sure to close all of them.

  2. Update Steam and its games.

    If you haven’t updated Steam for some time, be sure to install the available client update right away. Do the same for your games. You’ll probably need not do this step if your computer is connected to the internet all the time but if you only play Steam games occasionally, be sure to update before launching Steam again.

  3. Disable antivirus or security software.

    If your security software is very aggressive and is mistakenly tagging Steam as malware, there are a number of steps that you can do to address the problem.
    Firstly, open your security software and check if Steam or one of its files has been marked as a threat. We can’t provide the exact steps on how to do this since there are a lot of security programs out there.
    Secondly, try to see if your security software has Game Mode that you can enable. If it does, then make sure to tag Steam or the game you’re having a problem opening as  safe.
    Lastly, if your security software interferes with Steam after it does a system scan, you can change its settings to exclude Steam folder when it’s scanning.

  4. Check for corrupted data.

    An outdated cache or Steam files may cause crashes or connectivity problems when playing a game. Steam may also fail to download a game or updates due to a bad cache. To see if this is the reason why you can’t open a game on Steam, you can verify the integrity of game files.

  5. Delete and re-install game.

    You can also opt to reinstall the problematic game if the problem won’t go away. To do that, just open Steam application, click on Games tab, click View Games Library, right click on the game, go to Manage, and select Uninstall.
    Keep in mind that all your saved game progress may be deleted if you uninstall a game unless they’re stored in the cloud first.

  6. Reinstall Steam.

    Another possible solutions that you can try for this issue is to delete and reinstall Steam program itself. This is your last option if the issue won’t go away on its own after reinstalling the game. 
    You can redownload Steam from this link.
    Don’t forget, deleting Steam application will also delete your games. If you don’t want to redownload your games afterwards, make sure that you create a backup of your Steam games first. To do that, just go under Steam settings, select Backup and Restore Games, and click on Backup currently installed programs.

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