Windows Cannot Find Steam.exe

Windows cannot find Steam.exe is an error that may appear when trying to open a Steam shortcut that you have saved on your desktop. You can try to open the steam.exe file by navigating to the Steam installation folder C:\Program Files\Steam, however the error may still occur.

How to fix “Windows Cannot Find Steam.exe”

This error message can appear for a number of different reasons. It is important to follow the steps below in order to ensure that your system will run at its full potential.

Method 1: Remove Malware

Malware isn’t always the case, so don’t panic! With that being said, it is still recommended to try scanning your computer for viruses if you haven’t already. We recommend using the free version of Malwarebytes and running a scan at least once a week.

Method 2: Delete a Registry Value

If you do not have any malware detected on your computer, you can try removing a specific value from the registry. It is always recommended to make a backup of your registry before editing/deleting values, but you may choose to simply proceed with extra caution.

To remove the Steam.exe value from the registry, simply
1. Click the Windows Start button in the bottom left corner and type “Regedit“.
2. Click on the Registry Editor:

3. Navigate to the folder:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options

4. Delete the folder/entry called “steam.exe” in the left window.
5. Exit the Registry Editor and try launching Steam.

Method 3: Rename the Application

Sometimes Windows can cause glitches. In the event that you are still getting the error “Windows cannot find Steam.exe” after deleting the Registry Value, we recommend trying to rename the application. Simply navigate to your steam installation folder, right click Steam, and rename it to “Steam.exe”.

Method 4: Add an exception to AVAST

AVAST can block steam from launching. If you use this program, try creating an exception message for the steam.exe file. AVAST provides step by step instructions for creating an exception message on their official website.

1. Open AVAST
2. Go to Menu > Settings > General > Exception > Add Exception

3. Click Browse and then navigate to the Steam installation folder.
4. Select the folder and then click Add Exception to add Steam to the exception list.

If this still doesn’t work, we recommend uninstalling AVAST and trying to launch Steam.exe to see if the problem is related.


At this point, we hope that your issue was resolved! If you are still unable to launch steam and receive the Windows Cannot Find Steam.exe error message, it is recommended that you do a fresh install of steam. Simply uninstall the application from the control panel, and download an updated version from Steam’s website.

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