Not a Win32 application - why it happens, how to fix it

  1. Content:
  2. Fixing the error "Not a Win32 Application"
  3. Short summary

Greetings   In the operating system of the Windows family, when launching any program already installed or just downloaded or taken from a disk, an error “ Greetings

In the operating system of the Windows family, when launching any program already installed or just downloaded or taken from a disk, an error “... is not a Win32 application” may occur.

Let's take a closer look at why this error is displayed and how to resolve an issue with an application or distribution of a program or game that is not working.


"Not a Win32 Application" - the reasons for this message

Based on the message that appears in the text of the error, you can make a definite conclusion: in the opinion of the operating system, the launch of this file is impossible, because although it is executable, but for some reason or other it is not intended for the 32-bit version of the Windows operating system.

But these reasons why the operating system came to a similar conclusion can be quite a lot. Let's look at them in detail:

  • Windows OS crash - if the system worked for a while, it launched resource-intensive applications, installed programs, then it makes sense to restart the PC in order to refresh the system environment.
  • A program or distribution was created exclusively for a 64-bit system - in this case, it is worth downloading a version of a utility or distribution package of a program that is designed for a 32-bit version of the operating system.
  • Program \ distribution is not for Windows - in addition to Windows, there are other operating systems. It may be long-obsolete MS-DOS, as well as Linux or Mac OS. Be sure to make sure that the utility is designed to work under the system of the Windows family.
  • A file is corrupted by a virus - a rather frequent occurrence when malicious elements in an attempt to infect legitimate executable files ultimately lead to the complete inoperability of the latter.
  • Antivirus actions - some antiviruses, when a malicious file is detected in a file, completely block access to it from the operating system. As a result, the operating system cannot access the file and concludes that it is not an application created for it.
  • Error in the registry of the Windows operating system - in the settings of the OS itself, the parameters that are responsible for interacting with executable files were changed. This is often caused by viruses and other malware.
  • The absence of files that are part of the program - programs and installation distributions sometimes have many of their component files. And the inaccessibility of these files, when trying to run the main executable, can lead to the described error.
  • In Windows, there is a lack of system components — some applications need additional components to work, which by default may not be in the operating system. Among them: Net Framework, library Visual C ++, Java.
  • The file being run has an error in its structure - it is also quite common when a file downloaded from the Internet or a distribution kit was downloaded with an error. Exactly also relevant for files running from disks and other not very reliable storage media.
  • Unlicensed software - if you download from the Internet so-called unofficial autoinstallers, software kits and the like, then be prepared for the fact that when you try to install or use such things, you end up with an error to be disassembled.
  • Installed version of Windows OS - if you installed some kind of Windows assembly (which is not official) on your PC or laptop, then this error can also be observed in it, along with other manifestations of instability in work.

Now, when we have found out the main reasons for which the error "Not a Win32 Application" occurs, we will proceed to correct it.

Fixing the error "Not a Win32 Application"

Because there are a lot of reasons for the error that has arisen, then we will solve it progressively, carrying out step-by-step actions, which are listed below. Something from this will surely completely solve the problem with the error "Not a Win32 application."

  1. It should start with a simple, namely restart the computer. It is possible that the overload of the PC, its long-term work adversely affected the processes occurring in the depths of the operating system and its interaction with the hardware components of the system.
  2. Check the requirements of the program or game being launched. If you have a 32-bit operating system ( how to find out ), and the requirements indicate the mandatory presence of 64-bit, then, of course, nothing will turn out. It will only help to reinstall the 64 bit version of Windows.
  3. It is worth to see if all the files of the program being run are available. If you are not sure, just reinstall the program, knowingly downloading the distribution from a reliable source, for example, the official site.
  4. Scan your operating system for viruses. Always use the latest version of the antivirus with the latest antivirus databases. If you do not use an antivirus or it doesn’t find anything when scanning, then it is worth it to check the system with any additional portable antivirus scanner. Proved well Dr.Web CureIt! - use it.

    Web CureIt

  5. Check if the antivirus does not block the file or other files that you launch, without which the functionality of the utility or game being launched is impossible. To do this, disable your antivirus for a while.
  6. Try running the "problem" file as an administrator. To do this, click on it with the right mouse button and select the corresponding item in the context menu.

    To do this, click on it with the right mouse button and select the corresponding item in the context menu

  7. It is also worth trying to launch the file of interest, which under normal conditions gives an error, in compatibility mode with an earlier Windows operating system. To do this, open the properties of the file \ shortcut, click on it with the right mouse button and click on the Properties item. In the window that appears, go to the Compatibility tab and check the corresponding item, select an earlier version of the OS from the drop-down list and click OK to save the setting.


    Try running the file again.

  8. Check the file extension, it is possible that you are trying to launch a program that is not intended for Windows. The most popular and, accordingly, often encountered extension for executable files is - exe .

    Note: if your system does not display file extensions, then material will help you. "How to enable the display of file extensions in Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10" .

  9. It is worth checking the registry, in particular, the line responsible for launching executable files in the system. Open Registry Editor ( how to do it ) and go to the path: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Classes \ exefile \ shell \ open \ command

    There should be two values ​​that are detailed in the image below:

    If in your case there are significant differences, the paths to some files are indicated, then correct these entries and enter the values ​​indicated above.

  10. Check all Windows system files, this is done in the Windows command prompt window, which must be run as an administrator ( how to do it ).

    Type "CHKDSK / F" (without quotes), press Enter and wait for the procedure to finish.

  11. The system may be missing \ obsolete additional components. Be sure to download the Microsoft NET Framework and Microsoft Visual C ++ from the Microsoft website.

    When downloading, you may need to specify the bit depth. For the 32-bit version of the OS, specify x86, and for the 64-bit version, specify x64.

    If you have a 64 bit OS, then install the components for both the 64 bit and 32 bit versions at the same time.

  12. If the downloaded file \ distribution gives an error, then it makes sense to try to download it through another browser, from another Internet resource, another version of it, or with the antivirus turned off. The latter is relevant for those antiviruses that check all Internet traffic and neutralize everything suspicious even at the download stage.
  13. In cases when an already installed program refuses to work, issuing "Not a Win32 application", then the regular system restore function can help. Carry out rollback to restore point in which this problem was not observed.
  14. Do not use different builds of Windows. The stability of these solutions is unpredictable, especially after installing official Windows updates, which, of course, have not been tested with all the modifications in the system files that were made by the authors of this or that Windows assembly.

Short summary

As we can see, there are a lot of reasons why a window with the error "Not a Win32 application" appears. However, with a competent and thoughtful approach, it is quite capable of defeating this problem to any user. It is only necessary to follow the detailed instructions that are available in this exhaustive material.