Fix Explorer.exe Error “This file does not have a program associated” in Windows 7 or 8

When you click the Windows Explorer or File Explorer shortcut Pinned to the Taskbar, or when running explorer.exe directly in Windows 7 or 8, the following error message may be displayed with text "explorer.exe" in the title bar.

This file does not have a program associated with it for performing this action. Please install a program or, if one is already installed, create an association in the Default Programs control panel.

And using the WinKey + E key sequence causes "Unspecified error"

However, Windows Explorer may launch correctly when including additional switches such as /e or /n with explorer.exe, or double-click the (My) Computer or This PC icon. This problem occurs due to missing data in the "HKCR\Folders" registry key.

Registry Fix

To fix the problem download Folder association fix for Windows 7 (via) unzip and run the REG file. If you’re using Windows 8, download Folder association fix from this page. You should be able to start Windows Explorer or File Explorer correctly!

See also

File Explorer Pinned Taskbar Shortcut File Association Error in Windows 8 and 10

About the author

Ramesh Srinivasan founded back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and has a vast experience in the ITeS industry — delivering support for Microsoft's consumer products. He has been a Microsoft MVP [2003 to 2012] who contributes to various Windows support forums.

54 thoughts on “Fix Explorer.exe Error “This file does not have a program associated” in Windows 7 or 8”

  1. I was looking for so long and tried so many other things that other fourms said would work but this simple reg file works. Thank God!!!!!!

  2. Fixed it. I appreciate that you provided the exact screen clip of the problem. That assured me I was getting the right fix for my problem. Thank you. I’m running W7 SP1 32-bit.

  3. Thanks for the registry file, it seems to have helped many users. I experienced the same issue although this fix did not work, it turned out that I did not have read permission to “HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder\shell\opennewwindow” – a key I had manually ‘hidden’ to reduce Context Menu clutter, it turns out that this is required.

  4. At last my search for a solution to a pernicious Windows Explorer problem is solved — and so easily. I couldn’t find it on the Microsoft website, although many of us must have been afflicted by it.

    Thank you and thank you again

  5. Just an FYI,
    I did some digging around and came to find the root cause of this particular error is the absense of this value:
    Key: HKCU\Folder\shell\opennewwindow\DelegateExecute
    Type: REG_SZ
    Value: {11dbb47c-a525-400b-9e80-a54615a090c0}

    notice if you change this value in any way you will immidiately start getting the above said errors. This is useful for those who go around changing things and want to know what it was they did so they dont do it again 🙂

  6. YESSSS!!!! thank you so much! Problem fixed!!! I will not fiddle around with explorer replacements soon again…

  7. was messing with Better Explorer beta and got unspecified error with combination Windows+E. The patch fixed my problem. No need to re install windows7. Thanks.

  8. That did not work for me ima getting the unspecified error from explorer.exe and nothing seems to be working if u have any other suggestion please do let me know

  9. Thanks!!! I thought I was going to have to give up and reload from scratch which would cause me to loose a lot of “stuff”. Your tool fixed the problem very quickly and without pages of “win this toaster etc…”

    Thank you ;}

    Can you please email me with what you would suggest as a complete system check out and repair bundle? I am asked from time to time to help other people and need a better set of the old tools that worked wonders with DOS and 3:11.

  10. Yes. Once again you have fixed a major problem that even the “experts” at Microsoft could not solve. You are the master.

  11. I bow to your greatness, Ramesh! I’ve been looking for a solution for WEEKS. Note to others (and hopefully indexed by search engines): this fix helped me solve an error with {26EE0668-A00A-44D7-9371-BEB064C98683}.

  12. I was wondering if you could help me. When I try to open my downloads file I get the same error message. I was uninstalling programs on my computer and I know I was the cause of this problem…just not exactly sure how to fix it. I am running windows 7 thank you

  13. Ran sfc /scannow and it found problems but was unable to fix! I merged your registry fix into the registry. I can now access windows explorer!

    Thank you for this fix, works great.

  14. Ramesh, i don’t imagine how do you have found this solution but i’m very grateful beacause thanks it i’ve solved.


  15. This is amazing, I can open my explorer again after searching for many other problem solutions. This one really works! Great!

  16. Wow. I’ve tried literally everything. I’ve searched and searched for a solution to this problem. Microsoft support was trying to make me pay $99 for a fix. THANK YOU!

  17. Hi Ramesh, I have been suffering from this problem for more than a year! I can’t imagine that now I’ve fixed it with you help!!! Thanks!!!

  18. I wanted to say thank you so much, I had been trying to find a fix for two weeks now after I had been trying to figure out what I could do to get it to work. Thank you!

  19. Thank you so much!! This computer just loooooves making me miserable. Thank you so much for this fix.

  20. I just installed Win 10 and this problem came whit no reason. after searching through all the internet published “solutions”, nothing but problems until I tried this fix, that worked for me. Thanks

  21. Thank you very much Sir! I’ve been finding a perfect solution for months now. Thank God I found your solution. God bless

  22. Thank you! This was simple and worked perfectly! (I spent the whole day trying to figure out how to fix this.) : )

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