How to fix error 10: ERROR_BAD_FORMAT

  • Some programs were specifically designed for a 32-bit system. Incompatibilities with the 64-bit operating system can appear even though they are now quite rare.
  • This problem was shown when using Start menu overrides. Delete them to get rid of the problem. For Visual Studio users, there is a setting to be found in the article.
  • The article is part of the System Errors series that you can bookmark for future reference in case of similar errors.
  • Debugging any software can be stressful. Relieve this process with good debugging and diagnostic software that you can find on our site.

If you get error code ERROR_BAD_FORMAT 11 with an attempt to load a program with an incorrect format description , follow the troubleshooting steps listed in this article to fix it.

Contents index

  • ERROR_BAD_FORMAT: background
  • How to fix error 10: ERROR_BAD_FORMAT
    • ERROR_BAD_FORMAT on .NET platforms
    • Fix ERROR_BAD_FORMAT in Windows 10

ERROR_BAD_FORMAT: background

The error An attempt was made to load a program with an incorrect format, it is a rather mysterious error code. There is not much information about it, except for several forum posts where users describe the problem.

The ERROR_BAD_FORMAT error code primarily affects Windows 7 machines, but can sometimes occur on Windows 10 as well. It usually occurs when users try to start an application or program on their Windows PCs or servers.

Error code 11 is often triggered by VS redistributable package issues, incompatibility issues between programs, incorrect registry changes, etc.

How to fix error 10: ERROR_BAD_FORMAT

ERROR_BAD_FORMAT on .NET platforms

Solution 1: enable 32-bit support

Users report that this error occurs mainly due to DLL incompatibility issues triggered by applications running in Visual Studio installed on 64-bit operating systems with the value TargetCPU = Any CPU. In other words, applications try to load DLL files created for 32-bit platforms on x64 computers, and vice versa.

To work around this problem, you must configure the utility to run as a 32-bit .NET process with  CORFLAGS .

  1. Download CORFLAGS from Microsoft’s support page
  2. Run it as follows to enable 32-bit execution mode: corflags utility.exe / 32Bit +
  3. Use / 32Bit- in the command line above to disable it.

You can also enable 32-bit support in the Windows form application. Just right-click on Project> go to Properties> Build> check Prefer 32-bit.

In addition, you can also use the Any CPU option and use dedicated code to identify which DLL to use. In this way, you will use an assembly to handle 32-bit and 64-bit platforms. Here is the code to use:

if (Environment.Is64BitProcess)
// call MiniDumpWriteDump
// call MiniDumpWriteDumpX86

You can also use preprocessor conditions, but in this case you need to compile two different assemblies. In other words, build a 32-bit assembly for 32-bit platforms and a separate 64-bit assembly for 64-bit platforms.

Solution 2: install the correct VS redistributable package

Your target PC may not have the proper VS redistributable package installed. Go to the Microsoft website and install the appropriate VS redistributable package version on your system.

Fix ERROR_BAD_FORMAT in Windows 10.

by Abdullah Sam
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