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Cannot open any file or run .exe files

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Old 12-19-2007, 07:56 PM
pssriram Offline
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Cannot open any file or run .exe files

Version of XP- Windows xp home version 5.1
I am not able to open any file or run .exe file
When I click on any filename from windows explorer, It throws a message box " this file does not have a program associated with it for performing this action" - it is a file association problem
Was using norton antivirus program, but any program I try open (excel sheet, word doc, ppt file etc), it opens the adobe program and it gives an error message "adobe reader could not open the exe file..........."
The only progam I am able to use is IE, when after I download any program to fix this, I cannot run the downloaded exe file.
Can any one please help to resolve this.
thanks in advance and best wishes for festive season ahead!
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Old 12-19-2007, 08:05 PM
Kevin_gibson's Avatar
Kevin_gibson Offline
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Location: UK
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Try sfc

start - run - sfc /scannow have an XP CD ready incase it needs to correct / replace any files.

This is just a grey box and it will not display any results and once completed will just go off your screen.
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Old 12-19-2007, 09:57 PM
pssriram Offline
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thanks kevin for your suggestion, but this did not solve the issue.
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Old 12-20-2007, 04:33 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Aberdeen
Posts: 1,092

You may need a fix.

Click on the link below to a forum which has a link to the fix. Give it a try.

Windows 7 Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP)
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Old 02-23-2011, 07:41 PM
scallon Offline
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Thumbs up Cannot open executable programs

Please refer to my screencast

please follow the text directions as well
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Old 02-23-2011, 07:43 PM
scallon Offline
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Old 03-15-2011, 05:39 AM
Angss Offline
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 3
cannot run exe files

I had a similar issue yesterday, could not run regedit or system restore.
After a lot of trial and error I found that I could run system restore using the "run as" option. When the Run As prompts you to chose a user account, I used current user and un checked the "protect my coputer..." option. I was then able to restore to an earlier restore point. I hope this is usefull and saves you some time.

PS I found that by using "command" in the start - run option, i was able to open up the dos prompt, change the directory to C:\windows and then i could start the registry editor using regedit. Today the exefile in HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT looks cleaner , only one "Default" entry for both shell/open/command and shell/runas/command registry keys the value for both is "%1" %* . Also registry key .exe\persistenthandler has onllya default entry value of {098f2470-bae0-11cd-b579-08002b30bfeb}.

Last edited by Angss : 03-15-2011 at 06:01 AM.
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Old 04-25-2011, 12:48 PM
vinnyMA Offline
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 1
I had the same problem due to malware

I registered just to post my solution.

I'm the admin of a company, I could launch programs with my admin account, but could not open .EXE files with the user's account.

We have malwarebytes installed on that computer, so I changed the malwarebytes file extension from .exe to .com. (go to program files>Malwarebytes> mbam.exe rename it to

and was then able to launch malwarebytes. Update it, and run a full scan.

it picked up a registry hijacker at the following key: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\exefile\shell\open\command

after removing infection the problem was gone.
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