How to Fix Windows Failure to Open .exe Files?

by Lucia Danes - -
12

Question

Issue: How to Fix Windows Failure to Open .exe Files?

Solved Answer

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Failure to open .exe files on Windows indicates that the link relating the program and the shortcut might have been corrupted. If only one program does not launch, you may try reinstalling it.

Though usually, this issue refers to the broken link, failure to launch the .exe file[1] of a security tool might also indicate another issue – malware corruption. More about this issue you may find in the article about the issues launching Malwarebytes program. If that is the case, renaming the .exe file might prove to be useful.

If the issue persists on all .exe files on Windows 10, make sure you have installed Cumulative Update for Windows 10 August 5[2]. You may also reinstall the update.[3]Repair broken .exe links

You will find below the instructions how to change certain settings in Registry Editor. Make sure no malware is present on the system. If you have doubts, scan the system with Reimage or another security tool.

Option 1. Reinstall Cumulative Update for Windows 10

Try installing the update. You can do so by entering Update settings.

  1. Click on Start button, type Update.
  2. Opt for Check for Updates.
  3. Choose Update history.
  4. There, you will find the list of all successfully (or failed) installed updates.
  5. Find Cumulative Update for August 5, 2015, and check its status. If it was installed correctly, check the following methods.

Option 2. Run System File Checker

Scan with System File Checker

If the issue lies in the operating system, this integrated tool should be able to fix it or at least identify the cause.

  1. Type Windows+R button and type cmd.
  2. Once the program opens, type sfc /scannow.
  3. Wait for the program to finish the scanning process.

Option 3. Change registry file values

Change .exe registry key value

Inability to run .exe files is quite a common issue, Microsoft has come up with the solution:

  1. Click the Start button and type regedit.
  2. Press Enter to launch the program.
  3. Browse to the following registry key: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\\.exe
  4. With .exe selected, right-click Default and click Modify.
  5. Change the Value data: to exefile.
  6. Scroll down until you find HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\\exefile.
  7. Click on the folder, right-click on the Default file and choose Modify function.
  8. Change the Value data: to %1%.
  9. Scroll down again and find the following entry HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\\exefile\\shell\\open.
  10. Click on the open folder, right-click on Default and choose Modify function.
  11. Change the Value data to %1%.
  12.  Close the Registry Editor and restart the device.

If you are running Windows, you may find Microsoft Troubleshooter useful. Download it from the official site.There are also available .exe association files online. Note that there is a possibility to download a corrupted one with malware within.

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About the author

Lucia Danes
Lucia Danes - Security researcher

Lucia Danes is the news editor at UGetFix. She is always on the move because the eager for knowledge makes her travel around the globe and attend InfoSec events and conferences.

Contact Lucia Danes
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