A few words of thanks would be greatly appreciated.

.exe is Not a Valid Win32 Application

This article examines the scenario of .exe files not opening due to a corrupt file system or an unregistered file. Sometimes while launching an .exe file, an error occurs where the file is termed as an invalid Win32 application. This article solves this problem for the user. It highlights the reasons for the error and subsequently provides remedies for it. The various situations discussed here are: File downloads, a badly configured IDE Controller, support CD/DVD unreadable, a corrupted or unregistered file, spyware and a problematic browser configuration.

Invalid Win32 Application

When you launch an executable file, Windows displays a message like:

Application name is not a valid Win32 application 

.exe is a file execution extension. There are different file formats for different systems that are identifiable with the help of different alphabets that accompany them.

  • File download
  • IDE Controller badly configured
  • Support CD / DVD unreadable
  • File system corrupted
  • File unregistered
  • Virus / spyware
  • Problem with browser configuration

Downloaded File

If the application in question was uploaded to the Internet, it is possible that it was corrupted during the download. In this case, just download the file again.

IDE Controller Badly Configured

  • Right click on My Computer and select "Properties".
  • In System Properties, select the Hardware tab then Device Manager.
  • Double-click the IDE ATA / ATAPI controllers.
  • Double-click on Primary IDE Channel and Secondary IDE channel.
  • In the tab "Advanced Settings", under Device 0, ensure the command is set to DMA if available and not PIO only.

CD / DVD is Unreadable

If the error is caused by a defective media, follow the steps below:

  • Try to read the CD / DVD in another drive
  • Clean with a soft cloth and water (no soap)
  • Attempt to retrieve the data with software such as Win ISO (free version), which will retrieve the damaged file

File System Corrupt

To check the integrity of protected system files, run the following command:


File Unregistered

If the error occurs at the opening of files, click Start / Run, then enter and confirm the following command:

regsvr32 / i SHELL32.DLL


The problem may be related to malware. Post a question on CCM's forum in the virus/security section for further help.

Problem with Internet Explorer Configuration

  • Disconnect from IE (Internet Explorer) or Firefox
  • Double click on IE (even if you only use Firefox)
  • Tools> Internet Options> Security Tab
  • Verify that the security level for this zone is medium-high and high NO.
  • Validate OK
  • Disconnect
  • Reconnect

Photo: 123rf.com


A few words of thanks would be greatly appreciated.

Ask a question
CCM is a leading international tech website. Our content is written in collaboration with IT experts, under the direction of Jean-François Pillou, founder of CCM.net. CCM reaches more than 50 million unique visitors per month and is available in 11 languages.
This document, titled « .exe is Not a Valid Win32 Application », is available under the Creative Commons license. Any copy, reuse, or modification of the content should be sufficiently credited to CCM (ccm.net).