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Windows cannot find steam.exe

Sometimes, when you want to open Steam via the shortcut on the desktop or after installation, you may encounter the Windows cannot find steam.exe issue. In a situation like this, you can read this MiniTool post to select one suitable solution to get rid of this steam.exe missing issue.

Windows cannot find Steam.exe is an error you may receive when double-clicking the Steam shortcut on the desktop to open the Steam client. This error can also appear when you directly open the Steam.exe file from the Steam installation folder.

After checking, you may find that the file is existing and accessible. But, Windows still failed to find steam. Why does this issue happen?

Top Reasons for Windows Cannot Find Steam.exe

Steam.exe missing is mainly caused by these two situations:


This is a very common reason. But, you may not perceive it. Many users have reported this as the cause of Windows failed to find steam. So, you need to scan your computer using antivirus software to kill the virus and malware.


AVAST is not friendly to Steam. It may block the Steam and you need to add it to the list of exceptions to make Steam work. Even sometimes, you need to uninstall AVAST or delete a certain registry entry to solve the issue.

avast not opening on windows thumbnail
Avast Not Opening on Windows? Here Are Some Useful Solutions

If Avast won’t open on Windows and you don’t know how to deal with this situation, you can read this post. It will teach you how to fix this issue in detail.

Read More

Fix #1: Scan Your Computer for Virus/Malware

In case that the Windows cannot find steam.exe error is caused by virus or malware, you can first download anti-virus software on your computer and then use it to perform a full scan for your computer.

Malwarebytes is a good choice for virus/malware scanning. You can download it on your computer and then use it to scan your computer and then remove the virus/malware that is found by this tool.

Fix #2: Add Steam to the List of Exception in AVAST

Steam and AVAST can’t work well together. AVAST is even in the list of programs that interfere with the Steam installation and the Steam client has been flagged by AVAST. You can fix Windows cannot find steam.exe by adding Steam to the list of Exception in AVAST.

Here is a guide:

  1. Open AVAST.
  2. Go to Menu > Settings > General > Exception > Add Exception.
  3. Click Browse and then navigate to the folder that you want to install Steam.
  4. Select that folder and then click Add Exception to add Steam to the exception list.

At last, you can go to check whether you can successfully open Steam without the Windows cannot find steam.exe error.

Fix #3: Uninstall AVAST

If the Windows cannot find steam.exe error still persists even you have added Steam to the Exception list in AVAST, you can uninstall AVAST to have a try. This can completely get rid of the conflict between AVAST and Steam.

Fix #4: Delete a Certain Registry Value

However, if all the above solutions don’t work for you, you need to consider deleting a certain registry value. You should be very careful when you delete a registry value. To keep the registry value safe, you’d better back up registry in advance.

Then, you can follow these steps to delete the registry value you need to delete:

1. Press Win + R to open Run.

2. Type regedit and press Enter to enter the Registry Editor.

3. Navigate to the following location:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options

4. Open Image File Execution Options and go to find the Steam.exe entry. Then, right-click Steam.exe and select Delete from the context menu.

5. Close the Registry Editor.

At last, you can go to check whether you can open Steam normally.

These methods should solve the Windows cannot find Steam.exe issue.

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