Steam.exe Bad Image error: Fix it in Windows 10/11

by Matthew Adams
Matthew Adams
Matthew Adams
Windows & Software Expert
Matthew is a freelancer who has produced a variety of articles on various topics related to technology. His main focus is the Windows OS and all the things... read more
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  • The Steam.exe Bad Image error won't let users launch their favorite games and this can be extremely annoying.
  • If you face the same issue, try running a System File Checker Scan.
  • As some users already confirmed, verifying the integrity of game files might solve today's problem.
  • To fix the Steam.exe Bad Image error, you should roll Windows 10 back to a restore point.

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Bad Image error messages can pop up for Steam and other software. The error message might state something like:

Steam.exe – Bad Image. C:\Windows\App\Patchexample.dll is either not designed to run on Windows or contains an error. Try installing the program again using the original installation media.

As a consequence, users can’t launch Steam games. Here are some potential resolutions for users who need to fix a Bad Image error for Steam.

What is Steam.exe and where can I find it?

For those of you who don’t already know, steam.exe is a mandatory program for the most popular games. Keep in mind that games won’t start without.

It is not harmful as long as it’s a legitimate version of Valve. It is what allows the games to update their version over the internet.

By default, Steam is installed to the C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam folder.

All the games-related files are stored in the folder C:\Program Files\Steam\steamapps\.

How can I fix the Steam.exe -Bad Image error?

1. Repair your system with a specialized tool

Most of the time, the Steam.exe Bad Image error can appear due to file corruption. This is a pretty common issue and you can easily fix it by performing a scan with a specialized tool.

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2. Roll Windows 10 Back to a Restore Point

  1. Use the following keyboard shortcut to open the Run dialog box: Windows + R.
  2. Input rstrui in Run’s text box and click OK.
  3. Click the Next button to open a list of restore points.
  4. To fully expand the restore point list, click the Show more restore points check box.
  5. Select a restore point that predates the Bad Image error on your desktop or laptop.
  6. To check what software and updates get removed for a restore point, press the Scan for affected programs button. That button opens the window shown directly below which lists software updates which will be deleted.
  7. Click Next and OK to confirm the selected restore point.

Bad Image errors can be due to faulty Windows 10 patch updates.

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Thus, restoring Windows 10 to an earlier date that predates recent patch updates might resolve the Steam.exe – Bad Image error for some users.

Doing so might delete a recent update responsible for the Steam.exe -Bad Image error. Users can restore Windows 10 to an earlier date with the System Restore utility as follows.

3. Run a System File Checker Scan

  1. Use following keyboard shortcut: Windows + S.
  2. Input Command Prompt as the search keyword, then right-click on it, and choose to Run as administrator.
  3. Before initiating the SFC scan, enter the following command, then press on Enter: DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth
  4. Then, input the next command, and hit again the Enter key: sfc /scannow
  5. This will run the System File Checker scan, which can take up to 30 minutes or longer.
  6. Thereafter, the Command Prompt window will tell users if WRP repaired any corrupted files. If so, restart the desktop or laptop.

All Bad Image error messages include path references to DLL files. Therefore, Bad Image errors can be due to corrupted DLL system files.

A System File Checker scan can fix corrupted system files to resolve the Bad Image error. So, users should give an SFC scan a shot as follows.

4. Verify Steam Game File Integrity

  1. Press on the Windows key, type Steam, then open the desktop client.
  2. From the top menu of the window, navigate to Library.
  3. Right-click on the game that returns the Bad Image error message, then select Properties.
  4. Select the Local Files tab on the opened window.
  5. Press the Verify Integrity of Game Files button on the Local Files tab.

Some users have said on forums that the Bad Image error arises for specific Steam games instead of the client software.

Thus, users can launch the client software, but not the Steam games that the error message pops up for.

Users have confirmed that verifying Steam game file integrity can fix today’s issue for Steam games.

5. Reinstall Steam

  1. Press simultaneously on the following keys: Windows + R.
  2. Enter appwiz.cpl, then click OK.
  3. Select the Steam software listed there, then click on the Uninstall button.
  4. Select Yes to confirm and uninstall Steam.
  5. Restart your PC.
  6. Now, navigate to the Steam download page.
  7. From the top-right corner of the window, select Install Steam.
  8. Follow the on-screen instructions to reinstall the app.
  9. Log in with your credentials, then check if the issue persits.

Steam Bad Image error messages suggest that users try reinstalling the software. Doing so could replace corrupted Steam files.

Thus, that’s another potential resolution for the Bad Image error. Follow the guidelines below to reinstall the Steam client software.

Is Steam setup exe safe?

If you’re wondering if the Steam setup executable file is safe, keep in mind that from our perspective, Steam is quite trustworthy.

 Steam is perfectly safe to download, so long as you download it from the official manufacturers’ page.

A .exe file is an executable program file which is what most applications you will get on your computer run. If you ever end up installing an unknown .exe file, then that is cause to worry.

Those resolutions will surely fix the Bad Image error for some Steam users. Note that some of the above steps might solve the same issue for alternative software.

In case of facing any additional questions, do not hesitate to leave a comment in the dedicated section below.

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