can't open .exe files windows 10

can anyone help, I can't open .exe files, I have windows 10

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Last updated May 31, 2020 Views 173,058 Applies to:

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Hi,

Thank you for posting your query in Microsoft Community.

I understand your concern regarding the issue that you are facing.

  1. What happens when you try to open the file?
  2. Are you getting any error message?
  3. Did you make any changes prior to this issue?
  4. Have you installed Microsoft Office in the system?

 

Reply with necessary information and I’ll be happy to help you further

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Hi

 get a message saying Can't open this type of file, had a computer crash a few days ago, but I have always had this problem with some .exe files, before I upgraded to windows 10, I had windows 8.1 and had the same problem

haven't got Microsoft office at the moment

Derek

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Hi Derek,

Thank you for keeping us updated on this issue.

  • Are you facing the same issue with a specified .exe file or all types of .exe files? 
  • Is this the same file you used to face issue with in Windows 8.1?

If you are facing the same issue with all files, please follow the steps below and check:

1) Press Windows key+ R to open Run command.

2) Type services.msc and press Enter.

3) Search for Windows Installer and if it is stopped, right click on it and click on Start.

Please post us with the results and information to help you better.

Thank you. 

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  •  Open Command Prompt (run as admin) type  cd\windows
  •  Press "Windows key + R" on your keyboard type regedit
  •  locate HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.exe in the right side pane change the value of Default key to exefile
  • On the registry editor go to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\exefile\shell\open\command
  • in the right side pane change the value of Default key to "%1" %*
  • then restart your computer 

 

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it gives me the option to open files with other applicaions; i.e. word, note pad, IE,

I haven't installed office and haven't made any changes that I know of

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Hi Derek,

Thank you for keeping us updated on this issue.

  • Are you facing the same issue with a specified .exe file or all types of .exe files? 
  • Is this the same file you used to face issue with in Windows 8.1?

If you are facing the same issue with all files, please follow the steps below and check:

1) Press Windows key+ R to open Run command.

2) Type services.msc and press Enter.

3) Search for Windows Installer and if it is stopped, right click on it and click on Start.

Please post us with the results and information to help you better.

Thank you. 

Still having the same issue. no change. all my .exe file are labeled "file" not application.

but my windows installer service was stopped and setup under manual,

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Hi there I have a similar problem however when I use the cmd function the computer won't allow me to open cd\windows or services.msc - getting a 'These files can't be opened' message.

Just upgraded from Windows 7 three days ago and now laptop seems to be completely bricked!

Any suggestions?

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Hi,

Thank you for contacting Microsoft Community.

Method 1:
I suggest you to boot the computer to Safe Mode and check if the issue occurs or not. If not, I would suggest you to set the computer in a clean boot state and check if it helps.

 

Step 1:
Boot the computer to Safe Mode. In Safe Mode computer starts with minimal set of drivers and files.
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-in/windows-10/start-your-pc-in-safe-mode

 

Step 2:
If the issue do not occur in Safe Mode, perform a clean boot and check. Setting the system in a clean boot state will help to identify if any third party applications or startup items are causing the issue.


How to perform a clean boot in Windows
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929135/en-us  



Warning: After clean boot troubleshooting steps, refer to the section "How to reset the computer to start as usual after troubleshooting with clean boot" in the provided link to return your computer to Normal startup mode.

 

Method 2:
If the issue persists, I suggest you to perform SFC (System File Checker) Scan from Safe Mode and check if it helps. SFC scan will scan for corrupt system files on the computer and replace them.
Use the System File Checker tool to repair missing or corrupted system files
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929833/en-us

  

Hope this information helps. Reply to the post with updated status of the issue so that we can assist you further.

5 people were helped by this reply

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I had the exact same problem : clicking any .exe file and nothing happening. I found a way out !

In my case it was caused by having previously changed the default Program File directory in the registry from C:\ to D:\, because I prefer to have System on C and space consuming Data and Programs on D.

It seems that Windows 10 doesn't like it at all (it causes updates to end bad too).

To reverse it back :

- Since you can't even launch Regedit because it is a .exe, first restart Windows 10 in safe mode : Shift + click on Start/Stop -> Restart -> Troubleshoot -> Advanced Options -> Startup Settings -> Restart -> Choose 5 at restart

- Once in safe mode, search "regedit" in start bar and launch it with administrative access

- Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE -> SOFTWARE -> Microsoft -> Windows -> select CurrentVersion, then click on "ProgramFilesDir" and change it back to "C:\Program Files".

- Also click on "ProgramFilesDir (x86)" and change it back to "C:\Program Files (x86)".

- Then quit Regedit and restart.

Once doing this, I was able again to launch any .exe file in normal mode.

Hope it helped !

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1. It says open with...& gives me a list of useless programs on my computer and a place to click for other useless things that I don't know which of the listed programs would work.

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