Fix: The Application Was Unable to Start Correctly 0xc000003e

Error code 0xc000003e pops up on the screens of both Windows 10 and Windows 11 users when they attempt to launch a newly installed application. This error code is accompanied by a message that states ‘The application was unable to start correctly. Click OK to close the application’. 

According to our research, this error is typically caused by one of the following reasons:

  • Insufficient permissions – the application you are trying to run might require administrative privileges to launch. If it has only a limited set of permissions, you are likely to face the error 0xc000003e.
  • Outdated Windows – your Windows operating system version might be outdated and incompatible with the application that you want to run. In this case, installing all the available pending updates can fix the problem.
  • Overly-protective antivirus – In some cases, the antivirus program installed on your system might identify the targeted application as a potential threat, thus blocking any actions related to it. If this situation applies, you can either temporarily disable the antivirus or try installing the same application from another source.
  • Corrupt application installation – the application’s installation can also be corrupt, leading to a crash. The best solution, in this case, is to reinstall the application by following the steps we have outlined in Method 6. 

Now that we know about the potential causes, let’s have a look at how to fix the 0xc000003e issue for good.

1. Run App as an Administrator

Every application on your system is provided a set of permissions to operate properly. The permissions provided by default are limited, and if some application requires additional permissions, you can provide those by running the program as an administrator. 

There is a possibility that the app you are trying to run needs administrative privileges to operate. In that case, running the program as an administrator should help you fix the issue.

Follow these steps to do so:

  1. Head over to your desktop and right-click on the app shortcut.
  2. Select Run as administrator from the context menu.

    Open Program as Administrator
  3. Click Yes in the User Account Control prompt.

If the app was previously unable to run due to insufficient permissions, the steps above should fix the error 0xc000003e. However, if the issue remains, head over to the next method below.

2. Update Windows

If you are running an outdated version of the operating system, several programs, applications, and drivers will become incompatible with the system version, leading to issues like the one at hand.

The only viable solution, in this case, is to update the Windows to the latest available version. The latest updates not just provide you with new features but also are packed with bug fixes and security patches that will help you fix the current issues and protect your operating system from any future problems.

If you haven’t installed the pending updates in a long time, follow the steps below to install them. 

  1. Press Windows + I keys together to open Windows Settings.
  2. Select Windows Update from the left pane.
  3. Next, click on the Check for updates button on the right side of the window.

    Click Check for Updates
  4. If the screen shows any pending updates, take your time to install them.
  5. Then, restart your computer and upon reboot, check if you can launch and use the application now without the 0xc000003e error.

3. Run SFC and DISM Scans

Your system files might also have gotten corrupt, leading to the problem at hand. There can be a lot of reasons behind this, such as a temporary bug or malware infecting your system. 

If this scenario is applicable, then we recommend you go ahead and run the SFC and DISM commands via Command Prompt. The SFC tool will examine all of your Windows files, including Windows DLLs. Any protected file that System File Checker finds a problem with will be replaced with its healthier counterpart.

On the other hand, DISM is a command-line tool for servicing Windows images, and it combines various Windows platform technologies into a single, cohesive tool.

If the System File Checker (SFC) cannot fix a computer’s problems, DISM is generally used. This tool can also be used to fix a problem known as Component Store Corruption, which prevents SFC Scan from working properly.

If a corruption error within the system is the culprit behind the issue under consideration, running the SFC and DISM scans together should fix the issue for you.

4. Restore a Previous Working State

In Windows 10, System Restore creates a snapshot of the current working state of your computer and saves it as a “restore point” when your computer detects an important change. These restore points can then be used in the future whenever an issue like the one under consideration occurs.

On your Windows computer, you should set aside 2-4 percent of disk space for restore points. Over time, older restore points are deleted to free up space for newer ones.

However, it is important to note that the work you did after the restore point was created will be lost when you will use System Restore to revert to a previous working state.

If are not having any luck with the troubleshooting methods mentioned in this guide, you can try to restore the system back to a previous working state by using the System Restore point utility.

Once you have restored a previous state, install the targeted application again and see if it works without the error 0xc000003e now. 

5. Temporarily Disable Antivirus

There are times when the antivirus program installed on your system blocks perfectly safe processes by identifying them as threats. If you are using a security application, there is a chance that it is interfering with the legitimate process of the application. 

In this case, you can either temporarily disable the antivirus program or uninstall it completely. We recommend going for the first method because you can enable its process back after the application has been successfully launched. 

If you run into errors like this often and feel that your antivirus is most likely causing the issue, then this is a good time to uninstall the program and install a better, reliable security application. 

You can also try to disable Windows Defender Firewall and see if that makes a difference. However, make sure you immediately enable it back after accessing the application as, without Firewall, your system can be vulnerable to a lot of threats.

6. Run the App in Compatibility Mode

Compatibility mode is a feature of the Windows operating system that allows older applications to run on newer versions. Depending on the older software program, compatibility mode may be needed for a specific version of Windows. Without it, some software will be unable to run or will have multiple errors like the 0xc000003e code.

You can also run the targeted app in compatibility mode and check if that does the trick for you.

  1. Head over to the desktop and right-click on the app icon.
  2. Choose Properties and click the Compatibility tab.

    Click on Compatibility Tab
  3. Checkmark the box associated with Run compatibility troubleshooter.
  4. Then, click on Run this program as an administrator and hit OK.

Try running the program now and check if you can launch it without any problems now.

7. Reinstall the Application

Finally, if none of the methods have worked for you and you are still facing the 0xc000003e error, then we encourage you to uninstall the application and reinstall it. 

Here is how you can do that:

  1. Type Control Panel in the search area of the taskbar and click Open.
  2. Click on Uninstall a program.

    Uninstall a Program
  3. In the following window, locate the app and right-click on it.
  4. Choose Uninstall from the context menu and follow the on-screen instructions to proceed. 

    Uninstall the Program
  5. After the system uninstalls the application, you can proceed with installing it back.

This should get rid of the error code 0xc000003e once and for all.

Zainab Falak
Zainab is an actuarial science graduate with a keen interest in technology. She specializes in data analytics and learns python and R in her spare time. At Appuals, she writes about anything and everything related to Windows 8, 10 and 11.
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Fix: The Application Was Unable to Start Correctly 0xc000003e

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