[Fix] Explorer.exe Error “This file does not have an app associated”

When you click the Windows Explorer or File Explorer shortcut Pinned to the Taskbar, or when running explorer.exe directly, the following error message may be displayed:

This file does not have an app associated with it for performing this action. Please install an app or, if one is already installed, create an association in the Default Apps Settings page.
file explorer shortcut association error
Windows 10: File Explorer Pinned Taskbar shortcut error.

And the same error occurs when using the Win + E shortcut or running explorer.exe manually.

In earlier Operating Systems (e.g., Windows 8 and below), the following error is displayed:

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 Win + E key sequence causes “Unspecified error”

However, Explorer may launch correctly when including additional switches such as /e or /n with explorer.exe, or double-click the This PC icon. Also, all other shortcuts for other applications Pinned to the Taskbar may work fine, thus implying that this is not a Shortcut (.lnk) file association problem.


This problem occurs due to missing data in the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folders registry key. The File Explorer pinned shortcut located at the following path is a special shortcut that references a value under the “Folder” registry key:

%AppData%\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\TaskBar

Information in this article applies to Windows Vista through Windows 10.

Fix for File Explorer shortcut association error

To fix the File Explorer shortcut association error, follow these steps:

  1. Start the Registry Editor (regedit.exe)
  2. Go to the following branch:
  3. Create a new String value (REG_SZ) named DelegateExecute
  4. Set its value data to {11dbb47c-a525-400b-9e80-a54615a090c0}
  5. Repeat steps #3 & 4 under the following registry key as well:
  6. Exit the Registry Editor.

The “Opennewwindow” branch is missing?

Some users have indicated that the entire key opennewwindow has been deleted from their computer. If the opennewwindow key is entirely missing, then download the “Folder” association registry fix for your Operating System from the links provided below:

Unzip the file and run the enclosed .reg file. You should now be able to start File Explorer from the Taskbar shortcut or using Win + E keyboard combo!

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Ramesh Srinivasan is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a consecutive ten-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award in the Windows Shell/Desktop Experience category, from 2003 to 2012. He loves to troubleshoot and write about Windows. Ramesh founded Winhelponline.com in 2005.

58 thoughts on “[Fix] Explorer.exe Error “This file does not have an app associated””

  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. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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}.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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!

  13. 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!!!

  14. 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!

  15. 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

  16. this bug ruined my weekend, suddenyl a blue screen and shut down my PC, then when restarted windows I got two errors, ONE made my Windows menu/cortana unabled, didnt react (it was fixed executing new task and making a windows repair trought some comands, it took some minutes) but also I had my explorer.exe unabled with that “shell:::{52205fd8-5dfb-447d-801a-d0b52f2e83e1}” error, I came this web by a forum and I cant believe the solution was so simple, thanks!

  17. Two more possible fixes:
    Windows 10 has twice broken this way on my laptop.
    The 2nd fix below has worked both times.

    1. Closing all explorer windows and run this cmd:
    del /F /Q %APPDATA%\Microsoft\Windows\Recent\AutomaticDestinations\*
    May require reboot.

    2. Download the free Winaero Tweaker from winaero.com
    Run Winaero Tweaker.
    Under File Explorer, Explorer Starting Folder was not set.
    Select any of the choices provided, then exit.


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