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I had Windows Vista and it got a virus. I reinstalled the operating system but with XP. Now it works absolutely fine, but every time I try to open a .exe file, i'm told 'the filename directory name syntax is incorrect'

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I had a virus a few months ago and after I deleted the virus I couldn't run any exe files. I thought this was a nice touch by the virus writer. Anyway, there is a web site that has registry tweaks and one of the tweaks restores the ability to run exe files. Sometimes a virus will also disable the ability to process registry files too but the site has instructions for fixing this.

Look for:

(Restore default association for EXE files)

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I'm betting you reinstalled the OS without removing the old one, thus corrupting the registry. Since you just reinstalled, I suggest you back up your data, format the hard disk, then reinstall XP one more time.

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The registry might still be corrupted from the previous installation somehow.

HKCR\exefile\shell\open\command should have a default value of "%1" %*

If you can't run regedit.exe, try making a copy and renaming it to or regedit.bat. File extensions don't matter for executable files.

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Renaming it to regedit.bat will fail MISERABLY. It could, in theory corrupt your system ever further, as a matter of fact. – Hello71 Aug 5 '10 at 2:06

See "Let me fix it myself"

Or use this File Association fixer tool

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