DIY Fix EXE errors

EXE errors often occur when the EXE file is damaged, corrupt or even missing.

When you try to launch a program and either the program is missing or it’s damaged, you will get an EXE error.

What are EXE files?

An EXE is an executable file, hence the name of the file extension. Executable files are programs themselves and the EXE file type is used by all versions of Windows. Most of the shortcuts in your start menu or on your desktop will lead to an executable program file. The executable is the core of any program and it contains instructions for the computer to run the program and call upon various program resources. If the executable file is damaged or missing, then the program will not be able to run at all.

What causes EXE errors?

EXE errors may be caused by a variety of errors, but the most common problem is the file in question being missing. If this is the case, Windows will report an invalid shortcut if you attempt to run the program from a shortcut on your desktop or start menu. In other cases, the EXE may fail to open and instead report an error if it is either incompatible with your computer or corrupted in some way due to a virus infection.

How do I fix EXE errors?

To fix EXE errors you can use one of the following options:

Option 1: Reinstall the Program

You should try reinstalling the program in cases where Windows reports an invalid shortcut when you attempt to open it.

    1. Click “Control Panel” in the Start menu and click “Uninstall a program” under the “Programs” section. If you do not see the option, ensure that “Category” is selected in the “View by” menu in the top-right.


    1. Right-click on the program that you are having problems with and click “Uninstall.”


    1. Select “Yes” to the prompt that says “Are you sure you want to uninstall program”.


  1. Once the program is uninstalled, reinstall the program using the original installation disk. If the program was acquired over the Internet, download it again and run the setup wizard.

Option 2: Try System Restore

System Restore fixes many common problems on your computer by reverting your computer to an earlier point in time when the EXE worked properly. Use this method if the program was working fine before.

    1. Open the Start menu and navigate to “All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > System Restore.


    1. Click “Next” when System Restore opens.
    2. Choose a restore point created at a time when you last remember the program working. Be aware that any other applications installed after this time may need to be reinstalled after System Restore has completed. With the restore point highlighted, click “Next” to continue.


  1. Click “Finish” once the process is complete. Windows will restart.

Option 3: Check the Program’s Compatibility

If you have never been able to run the EXE file before on your current computer and version of Windows, then it may be due to a compatibility issue. For example, a 64-bit program will never be able to run on a 32-bit operating system (although 32-bit programs run fine on 64-bit Windows). Check the program manufacturer’s website to ensure that it is compatible with your computer and obtain a suitable version if required. In other cases, you can use Windows 7’s compatibility feature to make the program think that it is running in an earlier version of Windows. Note that this will still not make a 64-bit program work on a 32-bit program, however.

    1. Right-click on the program shortcut on your desktop or start menu and click “Properties.”
    2. Click the “Compatibility” tab.


  1. Check the box beside “Run this program in compatibility mode for:” and choose a previous version of Windows that the program used to work with, such as Windows XP.
  2. Click “OK” and try to run the program again.

While the above methods should fix the majority of EXE errors, there are various other issues which could be causing them. To help minimize the chance of such errors, it is also highly recommended that you keep your computer up to date with Windows Update and that you have updated antivirus software running at all times.

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