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Yesterday, Windows decided Steam needed a compatibility setting to run properly and showed me an informative dialog that left me with no choice but to acknowledge this. Steam ran fine, until it needed to be restarted for a beta update.

Steam however doesn't like compatibility settings one bit.

C:\Program Files\Steam\steam.exe

Running Steam in Windows compatibility mode is not recommended. Please remove any Windows compatibility settings for all users under file properties for Steam.exe and restart Steam. Press 'Cancel' to permanently ignore this warning and continue.

[Ok] [Cancel]

However, Steam.exe has no such compatibility option enabled in the Compatibility tab of its properties. I must then guess that Windows enabled a setting that cannot be controlled from there.

I'd rather not shrug this off and fix this problem. How can I do that?

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up vote 11 down vote accepted

Found the solution here.

From withing the registry editor (Windows, regedit, Enter), navigate to:

    • Software
      • Microsoft
        • Windows NT
          • CurrentVersion
            • AppCompatFlags
              • Layers
From there you can find per-user compatibility settings. In my example I found a value named C:\Program Files\Steam\Steam.exe with data ELEVATECREATEPROCESS. Removing it fixed the problem.

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Alternatively, you can use the Program Compatibility Troubleshooter.

Right click Steam shortcut. Click "Troubleshoot compatibility".

1. Choose "Continue troubleshooting the problem"
2. Choose "Troubleshoot program"
3. Uncheck all boxes
   Click "Next"
4. Select "No, I am done investigating the problem - undo any changes made and clear all settings"
   Click "Next"
5. Choose "Close the troubleshooter"
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For per-applications compatibility settings, navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\AppCompatFlags\Compatibility Assistant\Persisted. You'll have a list of all the flagged executables, and you can delete the ones you want to undo. You might also want to check HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\AppCompatFlags\Layers, as previously suggested.

You can also check if there are machine specific entries in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\AppCompatFlags\Layers.

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