How do I fix the Steam.exe Bad Image error in Windows 10

Matthew Adams
by Matthew Adams
Windows & Software Expert
Download PDF
Affiliate Disclosure

“Bad Image” error messages can pop up for Steam and other software. The error message might state something like: “Steam.exe – Bad Image. C:WindowsAppPatchexample.dll is either not designed to run on Windows or it contains an error. Try installing the program again using the original installation media.” As a consequence, users can’t launch Steam. Here are some potential resolutions for users who need to fix a “Bad Image” error for Steam.

4 Resolutions That Should Fix the Steam.exe -Bad Image Error

  1. Roll Windows 10 Back to a Restore Point
  2. Reinstall Steam
  3. Run a System File Checker Scan
  4. Verify Steam Game File Integrity

1. Roll Windows 10 Back to a Restore Point

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

  1. Open the Run accessory with the Windows key + R keyboard shortcut.
  2. Input ‘rstrui’ in Run’s text box and click OK.
  3. Click the Next button to open a list of restore points.system recovery
  4. To fully expand the restore point list, click the Show more restore points check box.system recovery point
  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.

2. Reinstall Steam

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.

  1. Enter ‘appwiz.cpl’ in Run and click OK to open the uninstaller window shown directly below.
  2. Select the Steam software listed there.uninstall steam client
  3. Click the Uninstall button.
  4. Select Yes to confirm and uninstall Steam.
  5. Restart Windows 10 after uninstalling Steam.
  6. Click Install Steam on the software’s website to get the latest Steam version.
  7. Then open the installer to add Steam to Windows.

3. Run a System File Checker Scan

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.

  1. First, open Cortana with the Windows key + Q hotkey.
  2. Input ‘Command Prompt’ as the search keyword.
  3. Right-click Command Prompt and select Run as administrator to open an elevated Prompt window.
  4. Before initiating the SFC scan, enter ‘DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth’ in the Command Prompt and press Return.
  5. Then input ‘sfc /scannow’ and press Enter to run the System File Checker scan, which can take up to 30 minutes or longer.sfc scannow cmd
  6. Thereafter, the Command Prompt window will tell users if WRP repaired any corrupted files. If so, restart the desktop or laptop.

4. Verify Steam Game File Integrity

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 the “Bad Image” error for Steam games.

  1. To select the Verify Game File Integrity option, click Library in Steam.
  2. Right-click the game that returns the “Bad Image” error message and select Properties.
  3. A Properties window will then open. Select the Local Files tab on that window.
  4. Press the Verify Integrity of Game Files button on the Local Files tab.verify integrity of game files steam

Those resolutions might fix the “Bad Image” error for some Steam users. Note that some of the above resolutions might also fix the same issue for alternative software.


Was this page helpful?
Thanks for letting us know! You can also help us by leaving a review on MyWOT or Trustpillot.
Get the most from your tech with our daily tips
Tell us why!