Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Have you lost your .EXE file extension association in Windows Vista?



"I have problems to start all programs that has the .EXE extension!" "My programs are broken!" "What happened to my .exe file extensions?" "I cannot run Regedit or do a System Restore!" "I'm unable to launch..." "I have an EXE file problem, the EXE does not execute"

You have probably tried to open an .EXE file with something like Adobe Reader, Internet Explorer, Notepad or the like. This results in having the .EXE file extension corrupted.

Now you really have problems since most every program requires access the exe file association to work. But there is no need to panic.

If you have this problem the solution is not the same as in previous Windows versions. Below you can see what have been added to the registry after Acrobat Reader (AcroRD32.exe) has been associated with .exe files. They need to be removed but since you cannot run regedit.exe you need to use a .reg file like one of those below.

 

Solution (only compatible with Windows Vista)

Here are some registry files that should be able to fix this problem. Download one of them and save it locally. Double click on the file and when asked "Windows needs your permission to continue" "Registry Editor" it is to give permission to start regedit.exe. Click on Continue. Then the Registry Editor will warn you again and click on Yes to add or merge the content of the reg file to the registry. You need to be an administrator to apply these fixes.

Windows Vista exe fix.reg

Here is the content of the above file. Copy the three rows below to Notepad and save to a file with the file extension reg.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[-HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts\.exe\OpenWithList]

[-HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts\.exe\UserChoice]

Windows Vista exe fix2.reg

Here is the content of the above file. Copy the five rows below to Notepad and save to a file with the file extension reg.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[-HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts\.exe]

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts\.exe]

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts\.exe\OpenWithProgids]
"exefile"=hex(0):

If the above ones does not help here is a more thorough one.

Windows Vista exe fix3.reg

And if nothing else works you can try this one.

Windows Vista exe fix4.reg

To see the change of the icons you might need to log out or restart the computer. But the file association should work directly.

If you want to reproduce the error save the below rows using Notepad to a .reg file.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts\.exe]

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts\.exe\OpenWithList]
"a"="AcroRd32.exe"
"MRUList"="a"

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts\.exe\OpenWithProgids]
"exefile"=hex(0):

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts\.exe\UserChoice]
"Progid"="Applications\\AcroRD32.exe"

If You Are Unable to Start a Program with an .exe File Extension in Windows XP take a look at this knowledge base article from Microsoft. In this case a virus is the cause of the problem.

When you attempt to start a program that has an .exe file extension, the program may not start, and you may receive one of the following error messages:

    • Windows cannot find FILES32.VXD. This program is needed for opening files of type "Application".
    • Path to program is not a valid Windows application

Your desktop may appear to be blank. Also, the problem occurs many times when you restart your computer. Even after an anti-virus program has indicated it has cleaned the virus, the registry entry described in the "Resolution" section of this article is still in the registry.

Another KB is also for Windows 2000.

When you try to start a program that has an .exe file name extension, you receive one of the following error messages:

  • Windows cannot find FileName.exe
  • Windows cannot find ProgramName. Make sure you typed the name correctly
  • Windows cannot find FileName.exe. This program is needed for opening files of type "ProgramName".

This problem probably can happen also in Windows 7.



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