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 settings enabled in the Compatibility tab of its properties:


I assume that Windows has enabled a setting that cannot be controlled from that dialog. I'd rather not shrug this off and want to fix this problem. How can I do that?


I found the solution here. From within the Registry Editor, navigate to:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\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.

  • In my instillation on Windows 10, the registry keys are under HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\AppCompatFlags\Compatibility Assistant\Store – raumkrieger May 24 '19 at 22:40

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"
  • A nice tidy way to do things instead of going into the registry where kittens die :) – MickyD Oct 27 '16 at 3:32

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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