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Windows 7: EXE files won't launch


10 Oct 2012   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 
EXE files won't launch

This all started last night. I was watch an old TV show on-line and my web browser, Opera, kept crashing. That hadn't happened before so I rebooted.

When the system came back, none of the icons on the desktop or the quick launch bar had pictures, they were just blank rectangles. Very strange. It gets stranger.

No matter which program I click on, it tells me that it can't find the appropriate application for files with extension .exe. .bat files don't start either.

However, if I click on a file that is associated with a program (.html, .doc, .mp3, etc.) the proper program will launch.

I tried to run "system restore" but that requires an .exe file to run.

I really don't want to have to wipe out my system drive and re-install Windows.

Any suggestions?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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10 Oct 2012   #2

Windows 7 Professional x64 Linux Mint 16
 
 

My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Oct 2012   #3

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

In my computer world when thing happen that quick without me doing it the first thing I think of is (infection).
Before running any anti virus programs you could try sfc /scannow.
SFC /SCANNOW Command - System File Checker
For me I would always be wondering what made it happen.
I would run full scans with MSE, MAM at a minimum because that is what I have on my system.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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10 Oct 2012   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Thanks guys but I can't run a batch file or an .exe file. I get "Windows needs to know what program to use to open this type of file." I can't snip so I can't post a pic of the message.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Oct 2012   #5

Windows 7 Professional x64 Linux Mint 16
 
 

No disk image created ? No Recovery Partition ?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Oct 2012   #6
Microsoft MVP

64-bit Windows 8.1 Enterprise
 
 

Hello Barnabas,

You should be able to do a system restore at boot using a restore point (if available) dated before this happened to hopefully fix this.

After everything is back in working order, it would also be a good idea to do a full scan of your system with Malwarebytes AntiMalware Free, or Windows Defender Offline at boot to help make sure that your system is clean.

Hope this helps,
Shawn
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Oct 2012   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by AddRAM View Post
No disk image created ? No Recovery Partition ?
No recovery partition, this is a system that I built myself. I've always used "System Restore" to roll back any changes and never gave any thought to a disk image. Maybe I should now.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Oct 2012   #8

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Brink View Post
Hello Barnabas,

You should be able to do a system restore at boot using a restore point (if available) dated before this happened to hopefully fix this.
I just completed that process and it didn't change a thing. Oddly, the only two restore points that I had were five days ago and the end of September. I've had this installation up and running for well over a year so I would expect more restoration points.

Quote:
After everything is back in working order, it would also be a good idea to do a full scan of your system with Malwarebytes AntiMalware Free, or Windows Defender Offline at boot to help make sure that your system is clean.
It looks like I'm going to have to start from scratch. Wipe out the hard drive and re-install windows and all of my apps. That's the thing that really irks me about Windows is that a re-install requires reinstalling all of your applications. Back in the good old days of DOS, you could re-install DOS and all of your apps would run just fine.

The good thing is that I learned long ago to keep my data on a separate partition.

Now it looks like I'll need to creat a System Image as a back up for when this happens again as I'm sure it will.

Thanks for all the help guys, I'll be back with my next question.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Oct 2012   #9
Microsoft MVP

64-bit Windows 8.1 Enterprise
 
 

Unfortunately, restore points are not kept forever. When it's set max space runs out, the older ones are automatically deleted to make room for a new one.

You might also see if using the tutorial below to download and merge the .reg for the listed EXE, BAT, and any other affected file extension may help. It will restore their default associations.

Default File Type Associations - Restore
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Oct 2012   #10

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

I know that it wouldn't keep them forever but every other time I've done a "restore" there were restore points going back months. I would expect more than just two for over a year.

Hey! I tried that link for restoring default associations and did it for .exe and .bat files and now things are getting back to normal. I think. It never occurred to me that there is an association for an .exe file. Learn something new every day.

Now I have to get everything back to normal because doing the System Restore wiped out my profile which means that my desktop is gone. Not really gone, just not being used and I have to put all of that back in place.

Life in the fast lane, surely make you lose your mind.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 EXE files won't launch




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