Cannot Run .EXE Files After Malware Cleanup

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This post was originally published on November 19, 2016
The latest update to this post was made 7 years ago.

Cannot Run .EXE Files After Malware CleanupCannot Run .EXE Files After Malware Cleanup

Issue: You can no longer run .exe files on your Windows computer after virus/malware/spyware infection because everything you try to launch claims to be infected with a virus.  This can occur before or after a malware infection.

Affected operating systems: Microsoft Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows Seven (7), Server 2003, Server 2008, Windows 8, Windows 8.1

What caused this?  The .EXE file extension has been modified by the malware, once the malware is removed, it is no longer able to locate the calling file(s), causing the .EXE to fail upon launch.

How can I fix this?  The attached .REG file will correct the settings in your registry to allow the files to run again. [Download exe_fix.reg] here.  This is a registry fix that contains the proper strings for launching your executable files.

How to use: Download the attachment (exe_fix.reg), once downloaded, double-click it. When asked if you wish to import into the registry, choose ‘YES’. You should be able to run .exe files again. In some cases, a reboot may be required after importing the settings.

Technical details: this .reg fix includes the following code:


“Content Type”=”application/x-msdownload”


  • It deactivates HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\.exe\shell\open\command, HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\secfile\shell\open\command, HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.exe\shell\open\command, HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\secfile
  • It replaces “Content Type” as application/x-msdownload in HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.exe

Disclaimer: Use of this fix has proven helpful to many, however, Blog Encounters is not responsible for any issues that may arise. Use at your own risk.

This article, also on Blog Encounters, may be of interest:  Unable To Open WSUS Console After Windows Update KB3148812 Or KB3159706

Tags: #virus #malware #windows #windowsxp #windows7 #windows8 #techsupport


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