Office won’t start ‘This app can’t run on your PC’ – Fix

This is a really screwy error message.  You try to start an Office desktop program and are stopped with the message ‘This app can’t run on your PC’. Here’s the fix.

To make it even stranger, some Office programs will work while others say they can’t run?  We’ve seen the very latest version of Outlook get the error message but Word starts quite happily.

This problem seems to arise when Windows updates go ‘pear shaped’ as the British say.  It can happen to any program but is especially annoying with the ‘software publisher’ you’re supposed to check with is Microsoft itself.  Grrrrrr.

Despite the word ‘app’, the error can appear in both traditional desktop programs or modern Windows apps.

Fix – ‘This app can’t run on your PC’

A simple reinstall of the troubling program should fix it.  With modern Office 2016 desktop for Office 365 subscribers you have two choices:

Force an update of Office from File | Account | Office updates | Update Now.  If that starts a download and update then you’ll be updated and fix the bug at the same time.

If you don’t want to or can’t update go to Control Panel | Programs and Features. Select Microsoft Office and then Change.  This starts the Repair option, choose Quick Repair.

We’ve seen other suggested fixes related to raising the user privileges.  That might be necessary but in our experience a Repair or, at worst, uninstall/reinstall is enough.

Want More?

Office Watch has the latest news and tips about Microsoft Office.  Delivered once a week.