If your PC recently ran the “bad image” error notification you’re in good company. This common issue plagues many a windows user. But though common, the issue can nevertheless be debilitating, halting progress, and slowing productivity. You don’t want that, and we don’t want it for you. 

ION the guide below we work to help you identify why this error is happening. We also delve into what it means, and what you can do to fix it. By following our instructions closely you should have no trouble at all getting your PC back up and running. Read on for information on how to fix the bad image error!

First, What it Means

Bad image error code may mean that the program you are trying to run or install was not intended to run on Windows. It could similarly mean that the program has been perceived by Windows as such, even though this is not explicitly the case. In certain situations, for example, the bad image error runs because of a failed Windows update. In any case, the error itself, though persistent and irritating, does not mean long term or serious harm. 

How it Plays Out

Typically, the bad image error will push in as a pop-up notification anytime you attempt to run a program. The message advises you to attempt to install the program again. The loop is time-consuming, and often very frustrating. 

How to Fix the Bad Image Error Code

The bad image error code is undoubtedly very frustrating. However, it does at least have the benefit of being relatively easy to fix. Here we outline how you can get your programs back up and running with a relatively minimal level of effort. 

Tools Required

There are no expensive tools or programs that are required to fix this error code. However, there are troubleshooting programs online that are often available for free that can help with this and other common user errors. When downloading any program (especially for free) always be sure to do extensive background vetting. 

Downloading a program from a less than the reputable source can do significantly more harm than any error code notification ever will. Short of enlisting the services of an error code program meant to expedite your repair, no acquisitions are necessary for this process. 

Skill Level Required

Generally speaking the minimal skill level threshold for fixing the bad image error code is somewhere around zero. It’s an easy fix that just about anyone can do for free from the comfort of their own home. To perform this repair, you essentially just need to be able to access the following areas on your PC

Windows 10 control panel.
Windows 10 command prompt
 Windows 10 Automatic Repair

There are a number of different fixes you can take to alleviate this problem. Here are several of the most common and effective means of doing so.

Uninstall and Reinstall the Program

More often than not, the bad image error code is simply the result of some sort of glitch in your installation process. By uninstalling and reinstalling the program you can quickly alleviate a significant number of bad error code events. As most know, programs can typically be uninstalled with a quick right-click. 

Uninstall the Windows Update

Another reason that this notification will occur is that a Windows update has for whatever reason rendered the program you are using incompatible with the system. Consequently, it may be necessary to uninstall that update and revert back to an earlier version of Windows. The idea is that the previous version will be more compatible with your program. 

To do this, review your Windows update history (available by right-clicking start and heading over to the “run” dialogue box). In this section, you will find a detailed break down of all of your recent Windows updates. There will usually often also be a short explanation of what they were for. For example “security update for flash player”.

You can typically identify the problematic update by checking the date to see which one occurred most recently. Otherwise, it may require a little bit of sleuthing on your part to get the information. Once you’ve identified the problematic update, uninstall it and restart your computer. The bad image error should be resolved. 

System Rollback

Similar to our aforementioned point, a system rollback may be able to revert your computer back to its state prior to a certain date. To open up this service you will want to right-click run and then type in rstrui.exe.

From there you should see a number of different options available from which you can restore your computer. Of course, one must be careful when doing this that they roll the PC back to a time in which it was stable.
Ideally, you will have an idea of when this bad image notification first started popping up. In this way, you will be able to easily select an appropriate date for your system rollback. 


Pretty easy, right? The good news for anyone suffering the bad image error message is that this is among the easier issues to fix at home. This means there is no need to call in for reinforcements from the Geek Squad. The aforementioned steps are all free to take and be performed from the comfort of your home in an hour or (sometimes significantly) less. 

In the very rare situation in which none of these recommendations have worked, you may need to perform a clean installation of Windows. While this is a very frustrating and time-consuming undertaking, it should not be necessary. If you find yourself comfortably within the statistical majority of users the chances your problem has already been resolved. With any luck, you aren’t even reading these words. 


My name is Jim Kevin Taylor, also known as, Jimmy The Geek, I recently graduated from MIT with computer science major. I intern at a network security firm. I am passionate about solving technical issues.

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