c:\hpssbem.exe is not a valid win32 application

Sunday, October 20th, 2013

Today was a new message.  I was supposed to convert two Linux servers to Windows 2008 Server.  The two servers are HP DL360 G5s.  Old but still usable as they were going to be workgroup servers.

The install procedure was to use the HP Smartstart CD.

One server converted without issue but the other after going through these two steps:

X:\windows\system32 > wpeinit
X:\windows\system32\ C:\hpssbem.exe

Gave the interesting error message of:

C:\hpssbem.exe is not a valid Win32 Application

Wait?……..This is a 64bit install?…….Why would it want a Win32 application?……..

I tried a restart.  I tried to rerun the install and even formatted the disks but the same error occurred.

Finally, after clicking OK and using the console window; I had a look at the hpssbem.exe and found it’s size was “0.”   Rather odd as why would there be a copy problem if it worked on the previous server?

I inserted the Smartstart CD again an located the application at:


I copied hpssbem.exe to C:\ and re-ran wpeinit which started the installation of the OS.


2 comments on “c:\hpssbem.exe is not a valid win32 application

  1. tia says:

    i am in same situation. i am using smartstart 8.70b x64. I cant get through the hpssbem.exe copying files for deployment. I need more instructions on how to do the processdure.

    • Mathew Shember says:

      Hi there,

      What errors are you getting? Mind you I have seen this since I posted it but your setup should error off and be left with a command prompt. There you can copy the file mentioned on top of the existing one which should be 0 in length. After that run the wpeinit and you should be ok.

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