Bugs & ErrorsSteam

Fix Steam Error Failed to Start Game (Missing Executable)

Fix Steam Error Failed to Start Game (Missing Executable)

The Steam Error Failed to Start Game (Missing Executable) is an error that can occur when you are trying to open a game via Steam. The error is not specific to any game and can occur with any game. Recently large number XCOM players have reported the issue after an update. The Steam Error Missing executable comes along with a verity of messages from error occurred while updating, installing, etc. and ‘missing executable’ in brackets. Regardless of the variation in the message, the error is similar and common fixes can resolve the error.

Whenever a game is installed on Steam, it creates an executable within the Steam folder for that game. When there is a problem with this executable, the error occurs. The missing executable error can arise due to a range of issues from lack of privileges, corrupt game files, antivirus, or corrupt Steam cache.

One of the above problems is the reason you have encountered this Steam error. Here are the five fixes that are known to resolve this error.

Fix 1: Provide Steam Admin and Full Permission

Lack of permission to the Steam client can prevent it from performing certain operations. Hence, you must provide it admin permission and the error might be fixed. You could run Steam with admin permission for a single run or provide the permission permanently. Since, it’s essential and you must always run Steam with admin permission we are going to share the steps to provide permanent permission. Here are the steps.

  1. Right-click on the desktop shortcut of Steam and select Properties
  2. Go to the Compatibility tab
  3. Check Run this program as an administrator
  4. Click on Apply and OK.

Now, let’s provide the Steam folder full permission. Here are the steps to follow.

  1. Locate Steam (follow the path C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam)

2. Right-click on the Steam Folder and select Properties

3. Go to the Security tab and click on Edit…

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4. Check Allow for Full control

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5. Click Apply and OK

Once you have performed the above steps, try launching the game and check if the Steam Error Failed to Start Game (Missing Executable) still occurs.

Fix 2: Repair the Steam Library and Check the Game Files for Corruption

One of the most likely cause of the Steam Error Failed to Start Game (Missing Executable) is corrupted game files. Since the file is corrupted, Steam cannot launch the game and results in the error. Thankfully, Steam has a very efficient function that can detect corrupted game files and replace it will a new copy. The feature in Steam is called Verify Integrity of Game. We will also repair the Steam library in case that’s the culprit. Steam Library folder is where all the games are installed on your PC. Here are the steps for both the processes.

First, verify the integrity of game files, in this case we do it for XCOM, but you can do it for your game.

  1. Launch the Steam client
  2. From the LIBRARY, right-click on XCOM and select Properties
  4. Allow for the process to complete. If there are corrupt files, Steam will download them automatically.

Now, let’s repair the Steam Library folders. Here are the steps.

  1. Launch Steam > Steam > Settings > Downloads
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2. Click on Steam Library Folders

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3. Right-click on the SteamLibrary folder and select Repair Library Folder

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4. You will be prompted for permissions by Steam and Windows, grant them.

After performing the above processes, check if the Steam Error Failed to Start Game (Missing Executable) error still occurs.

Fix 3: Add Exclusion to Windows Virus and Threat Protection or Third-party Antivirus

A lot of program don’t pair well with the Windows Security or third-party anti-virus software. Sometimes the antivirus can mistake Steam or its functions as malware or suspicious, it will then suspend some of its operations which can lead to the Steam Error Failed to Start Game (Missing Executable). You can fix the issue by disabling the security software, but that can be dangerous as your system becomes vulnerable to attacks. Hence, you must exclude Steam from the rules of the antivirus. So, it bypasses the scrutiny of the antivirus. Here are the steps you can follow.

Windows Virus & Threat Protection

  1. Press Windows Key + I and select Update & Security
  2. Click on Windows Security, select Virus & Threat Protection
  3. Under Virus & threat protection settings, click on Manage settings
  4. Locate Exclusions by scrolling down, click on Add or remove exclusions
  5. Click on Add an exclusion and select Folder
  6. Browse the Steam folder at C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam and set the exclusion.

Kaspersky Internet Security

  • Home >> Settings >> Additional >> Threats and Exclusions >> Exclusions >> Specify Trusted Applications >> Add.


  • Home >> Settings >> Components >> Web Shield >> Exceptions >> Set the exception.

Avast Antivirus

  • Home >> Settings >> General >> Exclusions >> Set the exclusion.

Fix 4: Play the Game Directly

If you are unable to launch the game from Steam, you could try and launch it directly from the installed folder. For this you have to go to the directory where the .exe of the game is located. This steps bypasses Steam and can possibly fix the issue.

Here is the path you need to follow: C: > Program Files (x86) > Steam > steamapps > common

Once you reach this destination, you will see a list of all games installed on Steam. Select the game that’s causing the issue and open it. Look for a folder named ‘game’ and open it. Now, look another folder named ‘bin’. After you open ‘bin’, you will see two folders Win32 and win64, depending on your system select the folder. For example, if your system is 64-bit, select the win64 folder.

Now, you can see the executable of the game with the .exe extension. Right-click on the .exe file and select Run as administrator. The game should work without Steam Error Failed to Start Game (Missing Executable) popping up.

Fix 5: Deleting Game Files

If all the above steps have failed to fix the error, you can delete the local files of the game and Steam will re-download it. Sometimes, when you change the location of the game files or other configuration error can occur that can cause this problem. Re-downloading the game will fix the issue. Here are the steps you can follow.

  1. Launch the Steam Client

2. Go to Library

3. Select the game and right-click, select Properties

4. Go to the Local Files tab and click on Browse Local Files

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5. You will be redirected to a new folder, Delete everything in this folder.

6. Close Steam completely from Task Manager.

7. Launch the Steam client again. Steam will re-download the game.

Once the download is complete, check if the error “an error occurred while updating XCOM 2 (missing executable)” still occurs.

Fix 6: Delete Steam Configuration Files

If none of the above solutions have worked to resolve the error, you may want to refresh the steam client so all the configurations are deleted but your games and other data remain intact. If you want to know more about this step you can comment.

By now, we hope your Steam Error Failed to Start Game (Missing Executable) is fixed.

Harsh Clif
He is caught in a loop between writing about games and playing them. It's a vicious cycle. Although he's biased towards PC, you can occasionally find him on the PS5. He does not own an Xbox Consoles but plans on getting one soon.

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