How to fix Operation did not complete successfully?

by Ugnius Kiguolis - -
12

Question

Issue: How to fix Operation did not complete successfully?

Hello. I recently updated my Windows to the latest versions, and I now have a huge problem with any type of .exe files. Whenever I try to open it, it shows me the error message saying that the operation did not complete successfully because of the virus. But these files worked fine before the update! What is going on? Am I infected with a virus, or is this some kind of a bug?

Solved Answer

Operation did not complete successfully error is relatively common and occurs somewhat randomly. Nevertheless, users complained that the issue is triggered when particular files are being opened, or it is universal, and most of the executables on the system return this error.

Operation did not complete successfully error states the following when trying to open certain files on the system:

Operation did not complete successfully because the file contains a virus or potentially unwanted software

There are three possible reasons you are seeing the Operation did not complete successfully error:

  • The executable you just downloaded is actually infected with malware;
  • Windows Defender or other security software is set to a maximum protection mode;
  • It is a false-positive scan result from the AV vendor;

Anti-virus software, while extremely necessary for each computer, is by far not perfect. Different AV engines are using databases that provide the detection for the malware sample.[1] In some cases, the infection might not be yet known, and a heuristic[2] name for it might be used.

Fix Operation did not complete successfully

However, the generic name might also indicate that the result is a false-positive,[3] as some applications use behavioral patterns that resemble malware's, although are not malware and are entirely safe to use. Therefore, it is vital to find out whether or not Operation did not complete successfully error means genuine virus infection or is a false-positive.

Regardless of the reason, below we will provide ways to fix Operation did not complete successfully error by tweaking Windows Defender settings, adding an exclusion to the problematic file, updating the software, etc.

Fix 1. Update Windows Defender or other security software

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Virus databases are constantly updated, and an outdated database might result in a variety of problems, including Operation did not complete successfully error. To fix it, please make sure your Windows Defender (or any other security software) is up to date:

  • Right-click on Start and select Settings
  • Go to Update & Security
  • On the left pane, click on Windows Security
  • On the right pane, scroll down and locate Virus & threat protection updates
  • Select Check for updates
  • Click on Check for updates – Windows will download and install them automaticallyCheck for Windows Defender updates

While the installed security application might differ, the update process should not be complicated. In most cases, you will find the update prompt under Settings or within the main program window.

Fix 2. Disable Windows Defender temporarily

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  • Go back to Windows Security section as explained above
  • Click on Virus & Threat protection under Protection areas
  • Under Virus & threat protection settings, click on Manage settings
  • Under Real-time protection, toggle the switch to the left to turn the protection OffDisable real-time protection

NOTE: Leaving your system unprotected will render it vulnerable[4] to malware infections. Make sure you install alternative anti-virus software or turn back on the Windows Defender before using the internet again.

Fix 3. Use alternative security software to find out if it is a false-positive

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As we previously mentioned, Operation did not complete successfully error might occur due to a false-positive detection. To make sure that it is, in fact, a false-positive, you can try using alternative anti-virus scanners, such as Reimage or any other reputable security software vendor.

If the alternative anti-malware app detects the file also, it is highly likely that it is indeed unsafe and is infected. To be completely sure, we recommend scanning the file with tools like Virus Total. Simply upload the file in question, and it will be scanned by multiple engines. If the file is clean, it is a false positive, and you should add it to the exclusions – proceed to the next step to fix Operation did not complete successfully error.

Fix 4. Add the file in question to the exceptions list

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If the problematic file is indeed a false-positive, you should add it to the exception list on Windows Defender. Here's how to do it:

  • Open Windows Security section once again
  • Select Virus & Threat protection and then Manage Settings
  • Scroll down to the Exclusions section and select Add or remove exclusions
  • Next press on + and select the file you want to add to exclusionsAdd an exclusion

Fix 5. Check for explorer.exe corruption via Command Prompt

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In some cases, the issue lays in the Windows Explorer process (explorer.exe). The file may be corrupt or damaged. To fix Operation did not complete successfully error, you need to enter Command Prompt:

  • Type in cmd into Cortana's search box
  • Right-click on Command Prompt from the search results and select Run as administrator
  • Click Yes if User Account Control pops up
  • Type in the following commands and press Enter after each:

    sfc /SCANFILE=c:\\windows\\explorer.exe

    sfc /SCANFILE=C:\\Windows\\SysWow64\\explorer.exe

  • Windows will perform a short scan which will determine whether or not any integrity violations are present. If so, the system will fix it automaticallyCheck explorer.exe for integrity violations

Optional: disable Windows Defender and use alternative security solution

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In case you want to switch to different security software permanently and do not want Windows Defender to bother you again, follow these steps to disable Windows Defender altogether:

  • Press Win + R on your keyboad
  • Type in gpedit.msc and hit Enter or click OK
  • Navigate to the following location: Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Defender AntivirusOpen Local Policy Editor
  • On the left pane, find Turn off Windows Defender Antivirus entry and double click it
  • Click on Enabled and then select Apply and OKDisable Windows Defender

If the above options did not help you fix Operation did not complete successfully error, you could try more drastic measures like Windows Restore.

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About the author

Ugnius Kiguolis
Ugnius Kiguolis - The problem solver

Ugnius Kiguolis is the founder and editor-in-chief of UGetFix. He is a professional security specialist and malware analyst who has been working in IT industry for over 20 years.

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