- Many users complained that they can’t run .exe files they’ve recently downloaded or extracted on their Windows 7 PCs.
- If the exe files do not open on your PC, the first course of action is to reset your PC registry to default.
- You should perform a deep scan of your system to look for malware by using a dedicated antivirus software.
- Also, try moving the .exe file to a different location by following the steps below.
Are exe files are not opening on your Windows 7 PC? This can be a major problem, but there’s a way to fix it. Keep reading this article to discover the best solutions to solve this problem.
What to do if I’m unable to open any program in Windows 7
- Reset registry to default
- Modify registry settings
- Scan your system for malware
- Use Windows Troubleshooter
- Restore file association for .exe files
- Move the .exe file to a different location
1. Reset registry to default
- Press Windows Key + R and enter regedit. Press Enter or click OK.
- On the next window, locate the registry entry (key): HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.exe.
- Select the registry key, and right-click on it.
- Select Modify > Change the value data.
- Change it to exefile.
- Browse and locate the registry key: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.exefile.
- Change the Value data to “%1” %*
- Navigate to the following key:
- Double-click on (Default) in the right pane and set its Value data to “%1” %*. Click OK to save changes.
- Exit Registry Editor.
If, at any time, exe files are not opening on your PC, the first line of action is to reset your PC‘s registry to default. This is because a .exe file that fails to open is associated with a certain registry setting.
To reset the registry to default, follow the step-by-step guidelines above. If these steps are followed properly, your .exe files should now open fine without any problems.
2. Modify registry settings
- Start Registry Editor.
- Navigate to the following key: HKEY_Current_User\Software\Classes.
- Go to the side (left) panel and right-click on the .exe subkey.
- Select Delete > OK.
- Delete the following keys as well:
- Exit the Registry Editor.
- If you follow these steps as listed, your PC‘s .exe files should start working.
This is a similar solution, but it might be helpful if exe files are not opening at all on your Windows 7 PC.
However, it is important to note that modifying registry is a bit risky, as you can easily lose valuable files and data if you’re not careful.
Hence, it is recommended you back up your registry before trying this solution.
Windows won’t store your registry backup unless you enable it. Here‘s how to do it properly!
To back up the registry, follow the steps below:
- Open Registry Editor.
- Locate and select the desired entry (registry key you want to back up).
- Click on File, and then Export.
- In the dialog box, select the backup location.
- In the Filename box, type in a name for the file you are saving.
- Click Save.
- Exit Registry Editor.
3. Scan your system for malware
In the event that your PC became infected with a virus, you might not be able to open .exe files at all.
Malware is evolving more and more, and antivirus tools are keeping up, constantly updating their libraries to recognize as many of the new threats as possible.
To remove the virus from a computer system, what you basically need is an antivirus. There are many great antivirus tools on the market that can help you scan your PC and remove the malware.
After performing the scan, check if the problem is still there.
4. Use Windows Troubleshooter
- Click on the Start icon on your PC‘s desktop window.
- Select Control Panel and go under System and Security.
- Locate and click on Find and fix problems (Troubleshooting).
- Select the desired troubleshooter.
- Follow the on-screen instructions to finish the process.
This procedure can be employed, even before trying any of the above fixes. Windows Troubleshooter is basically the first line of action for any system-related error.
And in this case, it could also be employed, provided the problem is caused by system malfunction or error, and not by external or third-party interference.
5. Restore file association for .exe files
- Download this .reg file.
- Once the file is downloaded, double-click it.
- Click Yes when the confirmation dialog appears.
Sometimes this issue can occur if your registry was modified. However, there’s a way to fix that by following the above steps. After doing that, the issue with .exe files should be resolved.
6. Move the .exe file to a different location
If you can’t run .exe files that you’ve downloaded or extracted recently, try moving them to a different location, such as your Desktop or a root directory of your partition.
Sometimes the file path might be too long, or it might contain special characters, and that can prevent files from running. If you can’t run any .exe file on your PC, then this solution won’t work for you.
In conclusion, this post has described four solutions that are commonly employed when exe files fail to open on Windows 7.
If at any time, you fall a victim of this error, simply try one or more of the solutions from this article to fix it for good.