Certain types of malware will prevent programs (exe files) from opening and change Windows file associations.
When you try to open a file, you may receive one of the following error messages:
- Windows can't open this file
- Choose the program you want to use to open this file (Open with)
- Not a valid Win32 application
- Windows cannot access the specified device, path, or file
Or you may receive no error message. To fix this problem, you first need to stop the malicious processes running on the computer. Fortunately, there are free tools that will stop malicious processes and also fix Windows file associations.
|Step 1 - Start in Windows Safe Mode
|Step 2 - Use RogueKiller
|Options - FixExec and FixEXE
Step 1 - Start in Windows Safe Mode
You can prevent certain types of malware from starting by booting into safe mode. To start in safe mode, restart your computer and press and hold the F8 key as your computer restarts. You need to press F8 before the Windows logo appears. You will see a black screen with a number of options. Use the arrow keys to select the Safe Mode with Networking option, and then press theEnter key.
Once you're in Safe Mode with Networking, check to see if you can open files. If you can open files, follow Step 1
in this malware removal guide
(while in safe mode). If you still can't open files, move on to Step 2
Step 2 - Use RogueKiller
Once downloaded, double-click on the RogueKiller file. When the program opens, click the Scan button at the top right corner. Once the scan is complete, click the Delete button. Now, check to see if you can open files. If you still can't open files, move on to the step below.
Note: If RogueKiller won't open, try opening it a few times. If that doesn't work, rename the file to winlogon or explorer, and then try opening it again. To rename the file, right-click the file, and then click rename.
If RogueKiller doesn't work, try using FixExec. It works similar to RogueKiller.
Once downloaded, double-click on the FixExec
file to run the fix.
If FixExec doesn't work, try using FixEXE.reg. This is a registry file that fixes .exe file association. It doesn't stop malware processes.
and open it. Click Yes
and restart your computer.
If you still can't open files after trying all of the above, you will have to use a bootable antivirus CD
(Can't open files)