This app can’t run on your PC error? Top 8 solutions

Many Windows users struggle with the “This app can’t run on your PC” error, which prevents them from launching and using various applications. This error message usually indicates underlying problems, such as compatibility issues, system architecture mismatches, or even corrupted system and application files. Understanding the causes of this error is the first step in troubleshooting.

In this article, we’ll walk you through several effective solutions to this problem, from running your applications in compatibility mode and updating your system to scanning for malware and repairing corrupted files, ensuring that your apps run smoothly on your PC.

Why can’t an app run on your PC?

The “This app can’t run on your PC” error can occur for a variety of reasons, each indicating a different aspect of system compatibility and integrity. At its core, this issue frequently arises from:

  • Compatibility Issues: Although Windows is intended to support a wide range of applications, not all software is compatible with all versions of Windows. An app designed for a previous version of Windows may struggle to run on Windows 10 or Windows 11 without modifications, such as compatibility mode settings.
  • System Architecture Mismatch: Applications are typically designed for specific system architectures (32-bit or 64-bit). Attempting to run a 64-bit application on a 32-bit version of Windows, for example, will yield this error because the system cannot support the app’s architecture.
  • Corrupted System Files: Windows depends on a complex set of system files to function. If these files become corrupted, possibly as a result of software conflicts or malware, the system’s ability to launch and run applications will suffer.
  • Security Restrictions: Windows includes security measures to protect the system from unauthorized or potentially harmful applications. If an app does not meet certain security requirements, Windows may prevent it from running, resulting in this error message.
  • Damaged Application Files: Similarly, if the application’s files are corrupted or incomplete, possibly due to a failed download or installation process, Windows may be unable to run the program.
  • User Account Issues: The problem may be related to a specific Windows user account. Apps may not launch if their profiles are corrupted or have restrictive permissions.

What to do if an app won’t run on your PC?

The error message “This app can’t run on your PC” in Windows can be caused by compatibility issues, incorrect settings, or damaged files. It can be frustrating, especially if you don’t understand why it’s happening.

Here are the most effective ways to address and resolve this issue:

Solution 1: Check for Windows Updates

Ensuring your Windows is up to date can fix compatibility issues and bugs that might be causing this error.

  1. Go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update.
  2. Click Check for updates and install any available updates. This app can't run on your PC

Solution 2: Run the Program in Compatibility Mode

Running an application in compatibility mode can resolve issues related to older software not designed for your version of Windows.

  1. Right-click on the application’s executable file and select Properties.
  2. Go to the Compatibility tab.
  3. Check Run this program in compatibility mode for: and select an older version of Windows.
  4. Click Apply and then OK.

Solution 3: Check the App’s Requirements

Ensure the application is designed to run on your PC’s architecture (32-bit or 64-bit). Some apps designed for a specific architecture won’t run on the other.

  1. Right-click This PC or My Computer and select Properties to see your system type.
  2. Verify the application’s requirements from its website or documentation to ensure compatibility.

Solution 4: Use the SFC and DISM Tools

Corrupted system files can prevent apps from running correctly. The System File Checker (SFC) and Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) tools can repair Windows system files.

  1. Open Command Prompt as Administrator.
  2. Type sfc /scannow and press Enter. This app can't run on your PC
  3. After SFC completes, type DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth and press Enter. This app can't run on your PC

Solution 5: Enable Sideloading of Apps

If the issue is with a non-Store app, ensure sideloading is enabled in your settings.

  1. Go to Settings > System > For developers.
  2. Enable Sideload apps or Developer mode.

Solution 6: Create a New User Account

Sometimes, the problem can be tied to your user profile. Creating a new user account can resolve these issues.

  1. Go to Settings > Accounts > Family & other users.
  2. Click Add someone else to this PC and follow the prompts to create a new account.

Solution 7: Scan for Malware to fix This app can’t run on your PC error

Malware can sometimes cause this error by blocking or interfering with applications. Run a full system scan with your antivirus software to check for and remove malware. You can also get a free tool from Malwarebytes to scan for PUPs.

Solution 8: Reinstall the Application

If the application itself is corrupted, uninstalling and then reinstalling it can resolve the issue.

  1. Go to Settings > Apps > Apps & features.
  2. Find the application, click on it, then select Uninstall.
  3. Reinstall the app from its original source.

When confronted with the “This app can’t run on your PC” error, it is clear that Windows is having difficulty executing an application due to one or more factors affecting system compatibility and integrity. You can address the root causes of this issue by systematically implementing the solutions outlined, such as updating Windows, adjusting app compatibility settings, and ensuring system file integrity.

This troubleshooting guide aims to provide you with the knowledge and steps necessary to resolve the error and improve your system’s ability to run applications efficiently. Remember that keeping your system updated and secure is critical to avoiding such errors and providing a smooth computing experience.

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