No .exe program will run

Bea - Jun 17, 2009 at 03:37 AM
 oshin - Jan 15, 2013 at 04:05 AM
ok people here is a good one for you!

im quite sure I downloaded a virus (well when I eventually managed to do a scan there were somthing like 5000 issues!!)
to start of with my computer restarted and and would not load, the blue screen came up saying windows had shut down to protect my files.
so I restarted it again and before the blue screen there was options to load in safe mode (some other variations of safe mode) normal windows and to load windows using the last settings that worked, I tried normal windows first and that came up with the blue screen again, however the third time I noticed the last working settings option and that loaded windows, or rather I was logged on but the only thing there was my desktop picture, so I Ctrl + Alt + Del and got the task manager and tried run explorer.exe and it came up with the error sign saying windows doesn't know what program to run this withso either choose from list of programs or search the internet, so first I try and use explore.exe to run explorer.exe, and yea that didnt work. I managed to get windows (sort of) working by trying to open things from my firefox download list using explorer.exe and now I have my desktop files and the start bar and can open folders but and programs wont work, I managed to run a scan using my McAfee by right clicking on my computer and clicking scan it treated about 5000 somthings. I restartedmy computer and this time windows ran but with the same issues, I can run regedit because it is a .exe and I cant open any other program. I have read some other posts and they mention iexplorer.exe that isnt running on my computer (that im aware of) and I cant find the file.
oh and also hidden files wont unhide themselfs

11 responses

This works on the rundll32 error
thanks soooo much I was dumbfounded what was happening,,i was goin mad,your a star!!! cheers pal
Thanks a lot. This was awasom!!
Can't believe it worked AND I'M ON VISTA!! Great Job ! Thank you so much
You are really Genuis...Your suggested file has saved me...
Go To
In the left hand column, click WinXP fixes
Then in the list that comes up, click File Association fixes
Then in the next list that appears, click EXE File Association Fix

Good Luck Peace out

thank you so much for such an awesome website you have.. PROPS!!!! your script helped me a lot !


Thanks a mill for the fix Champ - ur a legend!
Champ this fix worked like a charm. Saved me from doing a clean install.
I had been working on the PC for over 4 hrs untill I found your fix.
OH MY GOD! you are a lord! thank you soooo much, I thought for sure I was going to have to buy a new computer. All I had to do, was click on like 5 things.

THANK YOU SO MUCH! you have no idea
Thanks a lot, the fix worked like a charm!
Aug 15, 2009 at 08:27 PM
This problem is a beefy one.

To open regedit, go to computer/your OS (should be x64 or C:/)/windows
Then hit the letter 'R' until you see the icon for REGEDIT... Right click this, and choose run as: Then choose your local admin, on the user that you are currently logged into. Don't worry about a password unless your account requires one... Simply provide that if needed.

Then, from there.... This is where it gets a little tricky.
Then navigate yourself to the right pane....
There should be two things we are looking for here... The first is our SHELL... find that and double-click (or right click then choose 'modify') the value data should read EXACTLY THIS: explorer.exe If it does NOT say this, or says ANYTHING else, change it so that is says simply: explorer.exe
Scroll down in the same pane, and find Userinit... Modify this as well... The value data should read exactly this: C:\Windows\system32\userinit.exe,
Yes... There should be a comma. If this value is NOT set exactly as I mentioned... Modify it to that.
Then, close the registry editor, and do a power cycle (restart your PC, shutting it down completely, turn it off, then turn it back on using the button... Do not simply click restart)
This should give you explorer.exe back.
After that, you will still have issues opening programs... There is no easy fix for this, so I'll give you the short answer.
Create a new user by going to CONTROL PANEL.
Give that new user Admin. Permissions
Load er up.
Put all of your important icons on a memory stick or external HD
Make sure all of your programs work
Delete the previous user.
This should fix all of your problems.
Total estimated fix time: 20 minutes
This is a complete fix.... There should be no residual issue after completing these steps.
If you need more help, e-mail me at
I have the same problem with some of my programs. Most of them, including Firefox, windows explorer, and all the normal programs are okay, but ones like utorrent (installed version), download accelerator plus 9.1 and objectdock plus are not working. Can I use the same procedure noted for the other guy in the blog, or do I need to try another way?

I am using Windows Vista, and have tried three anti-spyware/virus programs, that have found svchost.exe to be infected and removed. I don't know if that has any other bearing on it.

Please advise. TY in advance
This Rundll32.exe problem happens to me but when I try to open the REGEDIT application, windows does that think too where I have to chose from a list and decide which program to open it with. I also can't install anything at all. Have any help on how to fix this?
Thanks for excellent solution. It did work, as you explained, including the time estimate!!
Great work.
I tried the recovery process you suggested for the rundll32.exe issue, but when I tried to edit the registry, it wouldn't allow the write to the registry?? Any ideas?

By the way, the only issue I saw was the Explorer had a capital 'E', and there was no comma after userinit.
kusinagi - rel Posts 1 Registration date Saturday March 6, 2010 Status Member Last seen March 6, 2010 > kusinagi
Mar 6, 2010 at 06:56 PM
If you have a registry editing software, such as one within TuneUp - the TuneUp Registry Editor - you can edit the permissions of users in your computer, and force removal of the old registry key of a software after uninstalling it.
Registry keys will have previous settings, sometimes faulty, that will have to be removed/reset to enable thing to run properly after a fresh reinstall.
Note - Use Registry editors if you KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING. These are sensitive setting, that should only be tampered with as a last resort, or by reference (Including me)

Try that guys
Earlier this month I got the really bad av virus. No programs, and I mean NO PROGRAMS of mine would run. So all the solutions of using the internet would obviously not work. The easiest way to fix your executibles, which after hours of searching I found, is:

CTRL-ALT-DELETE for Task Manager.
Then click on File in the upper left.
Hold CTRL and click New Task (Run).
Enter REGEDIT.EXE in the black box that pops up, you don't need to go to the next line or anything.
Press Enter.
Now, you should have successfully opened up Regedit! (I was unable to through any normal means because it was an executable)
On the left, there should be a folder named HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT. Click on that.
Scroll down until you find the .exe folder.
Click on that, and look in the right panel. The first item on the list for me was the problem. This was the (Default) file, and under Data on the right, it said secfile. This is why no executables were working!
Now you right click on (Default), and press Modify.
Under Value Data, change it from whatever it is, (mine was secfile), to exefile.
Press Ok.

HOPEFULLY now your computer is back!! Run any antivirus programs now, or whatever you want to do. Hope this helps!
thank you for a truly simple and effective solution, Nayru. I was just scrolling down all these possible solutions not really knowing what to pick, then I saw yours. I don't usually have the good luck of having things get fixed the first time I try, but that's exactly what happened with your advice. super, super, super! thanks a bunch! good karma to you, and have a great year!
You are great!!! This worked perfectly! I was wondering what I was going to do, I was so scared. I did exactly what you said and I have my computer up and running again! Ppl this one works for real!!
No, it does not work because it (regedit.exe) is a EXE file too. Computer always refuses to run
May God bless u! Thank u so much you are a genius!

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this worked for me and it is simple...

do a google search on ""

download and run the program..

voila... problem solved...

this is for windows xp...

anytime you see a long, complicated fix for a virus problem you can be sure there is a simpler one...
Thank you so much for this fix. I couldn't get anything to work without figuring out a way to go around the normal ways and the fix restored all my exe's to normal. The only thing I wonder about now is since I'm pretty sure this was a virus I downloaded accidentally is if the virus could still be hidden on my computer even though everything seems fixed? I talked to someone who is a professional and she said that there have been alot of problems with these type of viruses lately and to use caution because some viruses can allow others to see any important personal information on your computer. She said programs like Avast usually won't pick them up, so I was wondering what would be the best course of action to find any hidden virus files?
I was working on my daughter-in-law's laptop, and I suspected a virus too. She tried to update Internet Explorer to Version 8, and after that the problem began. Problem was she was updating IE from a non-microsoft site. You should NEVER do that. If some site recommends an update to Internet Explorer, terminate the update they suggest, and go to Microsoft's site to do the upgrade.

Another way to prevent viruses is when you get a pop up while you are on a website, instead of clicking on the 'X' at the top right of the screen, go down to the task bar, and right click to end the program. I have seen some of these virus guys change the action of the 'X' to run stuff that you don't want to run.

I was so confident that the Norton I use on my computer would catch any vius, that I took a backup of my daughter-in-law's computer to one of my external hard drives, and connected it to my system. I then ran a virus check on it, and cleaned about a dozen viruses, and trojan horses out of it, then reloaded it onto her computer. That got rid of the viruses.

Once I did that, I was able to use the tools I got here to fix things.

By the way, good hint to avoid viruses, block all sites that end with .ru, .cn, and anything from the middle east, or africa. Nothing good is coming from there.
IE8 is garbage. You should NEVER install IE8. You kinda shot yourself in the foot on that one.

Same thing can be said about Norton.....unless you like wasting your RAM....
I'm no computer expert but I had the same problem happen to me. I downloaded a virus and removed it in regedit. When I rebooted no .exe file would run. I had to right click and press start inorder to get one to work. I did a system restore with vista. Go to the programs menu and find system restore. You can't just click on it (because it is another .exe file so it won't run either). Right click on it and find the location that the short cut points to. Find the actual file and right click on it and click on start. This will run system restore to restore your registry back before it got screwed up.
Wow, I was freaking out. No .exe file would run, not even in safe mode. Would came up with a sudo Open with folder. This post by Joe worked for me after a FakeAlert Trojan. Thanks!
I had the same problem and I managed to install Malwarebytes and ran a scan. It found a number of infections and removed them. I then rebooted and all was OK.
THANK YOU! That link to Doug's website worked like a charm. I too had this problem after downloading a virus. I did a system restore, and that still didn't fix it. I didn't want to make new user account, as I've already customized my current one. I downloaded and opened Doug's fix, and it working INSTANTLY. Thank you sooooo much, this was driving me up the wal!!
Hey guys,
This ended up being a virus for me. I finally got my Windows Defender up and running and it detected and deleted the trojan and everything works fine now!
What most likely happened was that a virus got onto your computer that deleted registry extensions like .exe, .doc, or .app. This is something that you might be able to get out of unless you completely restored your computer. Sorry. This happened to me, except it was me that was being stupid and deleting random things in the registry because I thought that it would make my computer run faster.
0 are a prime example of people that delete stuff for no reason. I hope other people learn from your mistake.