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December 13, 2012 at 9:27 pm

Windows Programs Won’t Open? Do This!

Select Real Security

Hello everyone,

Guest post today by fellow computer repair tech and security guru Brian Meyer. Brian’s Select Real Security website is full of Windows security information, as well as some awesome malware removal tricks and tips. Great stuff!

Programs Won’t Open in Windows
If programs won’t open on your computer, it usually means Windows file associations have become corrupted. When you try to open a program (.exe), you may get one of the following error messages:
  • Windows can’t open this file.
  • This file does not have a program associated with it.
  • Windows cannot access the specified device, path, or file
  • Open With box
Fortunately, there is a simple solution to this annoying problem. Follow the instructions below to fix the programs.
 Method 1 – Use a Registry File
 Method 2 – Use FixEXE.inf
 Method 3 – Use CleanAutoRun
 Method 4 – Create a New User Account
Note: The problem can also be caused by malware. If the steps on this page don’t work, follow the steps on this page.

Method 1 – Use a Registry File (.reg file)
1. Fix .exe file association (programs)
Download and open the appropriate registry file – Windows XPWindows 7 – Windows 8

It will ask you if you want to continue. Click Yes. Move on to #2. 
Note: If the .reg file opens in Notepad, follow the instructions on this page.

2. Fix .lnk file association (program shortcuts / desktop icons)
Download and open the appropriate registry file – Windows XPWindows 7 – Windows 8

It will ask you if you want to continue. Click Yes. Now, restart your computer (save or bookmark this page). If you still can’t open programs, move on to method 2. 

Method 2 – Use FixEXE.inf
FixEXE.inf is a setup INF file that fixes .exe file association.
Download FixEXE.inf to the Downloads folder or desktop.

Right-click on the file and then click Install. Now, try to open a program. If that doesn’t work, move on to method 3.

Method 3 – Use CleanAutoRun by Kaspersky Lab
CleanAutoRun is a free tool that fixes Windows file associations. This tool has a different file extension, so you should be able to open it. 
Download and open CleanAutoRun – Two versions: CleanAutoRun.comCleanAutoRun.bat – Homepage

If one version won’t open, try the other. Once the fix is complete, restart the computer. If that doesn’t work, go to method 4.

Method 4 – Create a New User Account
You can also create a new Windows user account to fix the problem. After you create a new account, transfer your personal data from the old account to the new one. Your web browser and other programs such as Microsoft Office and iTunes should work in the new account.
To create a new user account, follow the instructions here: Windows XPWindows 7 – Windows 8
Professor Randy says: Thanks for the post Brian! The information will help us all to keep our machines clean, safe, secure, and running smooth!
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