Unable to Start a Program with an .exe File Extension

Published: June 27, 2004
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When you try to launch an application (.exe files), the following error message appears and the program does not run.



This problem occurs if the .exe file association in the registry is corrupt. This behavior is generally caused by viruses; one of which is SirCam virus, which modifies the .exe file association in registry.


Method 1: Fixing the association settings automatically

Download utility and save to Desktop. Double-click the file to run it. This utility fixes the exefile association in the registry automatically.

Additional tip:  To run the utility silently (without any prompts), use the -silent parameter. Open a Command window ( and type:

C:\Utilities\ -silent

Assuming that the is placed in the C:\Utilities directory.

Method 2: Fixing the association settings using Registry editor


HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT \ exefile \ shell \ open \ command

"%1" %*
(ie., quote-percent-one-quote-space-percent-asterisk.)


If you're unable to launch Regedit.exe even from Command Prompt, try this:

copy regedit.exe