Windows Vista EXE Files Won’t Open [FIXED]

This error is caused in Windows Vista by the operating system losing file association for any executable file (.EXE) in the Windows registry. For example, when you try to open Internet Explorer itself, it prompts you to open it with the correct program and lists Internet Explorer. An example of this error can be seen below:

vista file association exe error

When you try to run an application on you PC, Windows will  pop-up an error message that reads:

“Windows cannot open this file:

File: [INSERT ANY FILE EXTENSTION HERE] (i.e. “adcast.exe”)

To open this file, Windows needs to know what program you want to use to open it. Windows can go online to look it up automatically, or you can manually select from a list of programs that are installed on your computer.”

How To Fix Vista .EXE File Extension Errors

Since this error is usually caused  by a deeper issue (a corrupted Windows registry), you first need to download and install an approved Windows Registry Tool. I recommend PC Optimizer Software. This software will ensure your Windows registry is clean of corrupt or orphaned entries before continuing.

After you have cleaned your Windows registry, follow the steps below:

1. Type command in the RUN dialog box to open the Windows Command Prompt

2. After the Command Prompt loads, type cd \windows

3. Next, type in regedit to open up your Windows Registry

(NOTE: If you run into a permissions problem, go to My Computer >C Drive >Windows and find regedit and then right-click and choose Run as administrator.)

4. Expand the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT and find the folder called .exe

5. DON’T EXPAND IT! Instead, on the main .exe folder, Right-click (Default) and then Modify

6. Modify the Value Data to exefile

7. In the same HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT find the folder of exefile, then Right-click (Default) and then Modify

8. Change the Value Data to “%1” %*

9. The last thing you need to do is expand exefile, > expand shell > expand open and then click on the command folder

10. Right-click (Default) and Modify. Change the Value Data to “%1” %*

After following the steps above, close Regedit and then reboot your computer. After it restarts, Windows should no longer prompt you to choose a program to launch your applications (.EXE file extensions).

Special Note: Some users have experienced Vista EXE file association errors due to a malware infection on their computer. If the steps above to not solve the problem on you PC, try downloading and installing MalwareByte’s Anti-Malware program to ensure your computer is clean.

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