# How do I make Windows XP recognize EXEs again?

I've got a virus "first" here. Basically a friend had gotten his system severely infected. He had 8 different viruses, and 157 different pieces of spyware (most of it likely replicated, but still). I've since run multiple scans and cleaned up as much as I could.

Most recently I ran Malwarebytes Anti-malware to get rid of "XP SECURITY 2012". Now, however, I can't launch any EXEs. Every time I attempt to launch an exe the system asks me what program I'd like to use to launch the exe. O_o

In a perfect world, I'd simply wipe and reinstall, but he's got a million of what he calls "perfectly configured applications" and doesn't want anything wiped. What can I do to make the system recognize EXEs in general again?

SIDE NOTE: If I tell it to open Firefox using Firefox it will open FF and attempt to DL the local FF.EXE...I can then use FF. This, of course, is still unacceptable.

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## migrated from serverfault.comJun 21 '11 at 3:22

This question came from our site for system and network administrators.

You've probably got an image hijack on it still. You can remove it using autoruns on the Image Hijack tab or deleting it from the following key in the registry

HKML\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options

But really...ask your friend...can he be sure that you got the entire thing? Ever? Does he want to risk having more and more problems and security issues? Maybe it'll escalate and he'll lose data or have his bank account compromised. It's really not worth it. Tell him to take a day and reinstall his software. It's a pain, but it's well worth it. He could be very very sorry later that he didn't.

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Couldn't agree more. XP SECURITY 2012 (or any of it's other variants) usually cause major headaches as they typically hi-jack browsers, screw with your hosts file, disable your control panel, right clicking on the desktop, etc. You could try backing up their profile and formatting it and restoring what you can, but I think a format is the best plan of attack here. –  DKNUCKLES Jun 20 '11 at 19:38
You guys rock. I also ended up using this (myantispyware.com/2010/03/16/…). I'll def recommend a wipe, but he's gonna have to pay for that. =P Thanks again! –  humble_coder Jun 20 '11 at 20:01

To fix exe not running after a virus problems I merge a reg file in the registry

Paste the following into a .reg file and merge it:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.exe]
@="exefile"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.exe\PersistentHandler]
@="{098f2470-bae0-11cd-b579-08002b30bfeb}"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\exefile]
@="Application"
"EditFlags"=hex:38,07,00,00
"TileInfo"="prop:FileDescription;Company;FileVersion"
"InfoTip"="prop:FileDescription;Company;FileVersion;Create;Size"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\exefile\DefaultIcon]
@="%1"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\exefile\shell]

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\exefile\shell\open]
"EditFlags"=hex:00,00,00,00

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\exefile\shell\open\command]
@="\"%1\" %*"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\exefile\shell\runas]

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\exefile\shell\runas\command]
@="\"%1\" %*"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\exefile\shellex]

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\exefile\shellex\DropHandler]
@="{86C86720-42A0-1069-A2E8-08002B30309D}"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\exefile\shellex\PropertySheetHandlers]

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\exefile\shellex\PropertySheetHandlers\PEAnalyser]
@="{09A63660-16F9-11d0-B1DF-004F56001CA7}"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\exefile\shellex\PropertySheetHandlers\PifProps]
@="{86F19A00-42A0-1069-A2E9-08002B30309D}"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\exefile\shellex\PropertySheetHandlers\ShimLayer Property Page]
@="{513D916F-2A8E-4F51-AEAB-0CBC76FB1AF8}"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\regfile]
@="Registration Entries"
"EditFlags"=dword:00100000
"BrowserFlags"=dword:00000008

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\regfile\DefaultIcon]
@=hex(2):25,00,53,00,79,00,73,00,74,00,65,00,6d,00,52,00,6f,00,6f,00,74,00,25,\
00,5c,00,72,00,65,00,67,00,65,00,64,00,69,00,74,00,2e,00,65,00,78,00,65,00,\
2c,00,31,00,00,00

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\regfile\shell]
@="open"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\regfile\shell\edit]

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\regfile\shell\edit\command]
@=hex(2):25,00,53,00,79,00,73,00,74,00,65,00,6d,00,52,00,6f,00,6f,00,74,00,25,\
00,5c,00,73,00,79,00,73,00,74,00,65,00,6d,00,33,00,32,00,5c,00,4e,00,4f,00,\
54,00,45,00,50,00,41,00,44,00,2e,00,45,00,58,00,45,00,20,00,25,00,31,00,00,\
00

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\regfile\shell\open]
@="Mer&ge"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\regfile\shell\open\command]
@="regedit.exe \"%1\""

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\regfile\shell\print]

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\regfile\shell\print\command]
@=hex(2):25,00,53,00,79,00,73,00,74,00,65,00,6d,00,52,00,6f,00,6f,00,74,00,25,\
00,5c,00,73,00,79,00,73,00,74,00,65,00,6d,00,33,00,32,00,5c,00,4e,00,4f,00,\
54,00,45,00,50,00,41,00,44,00,2e,00,45,00,58,00,45,00,20,00,2f,00,70,00,20,\
00,25,00,31,00,00,00

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.lnk]
@="lnkfile"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.lnk\ShellEx]

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.lnk\ShellEx\{000214EE-0000-0000-C000-000000000046}]
@="{00021401-0000-0000-C000-000000000046}"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.lnk\ShellEx\{000214F9-0000-0000-C000-000000000046}]
@="{00021401-0000-0000-C000-000000000046}"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.lnk\ShellEx\{00021500-0000-0000-C000-000000000046}]
@="{00021401-0000-0000-C000-000000000046}"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.lnk\ShellEx\{BB2E617C-0920-11d1-9A0B-00C04FC2D6C1}]
@="{00021401-0000-0000-C000-000000000046}"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.lnk\ShellNew]

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\lnkfile]
@="Shortcut"
"EditFlags"=dword:00000001
"IsShortcut"=""
"NeverShowExt"=""

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\lnkfile\CLSID]
@="{00021401-0000-0000-C000-000000000046}"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\lnkfile\shellex]

@="{750fdf0e-2a26-11d1-a3ea-080036587f03}"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\lnkfile\shellex\DropHandler]
@="{00021401-0000-0000-C000-000000000046}"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\lnkfile\shellex\IconHandler]
@="{00021401-0000-0000-C000-000000000046}"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\lnkfile\shellex\PropertySheetHandlers]

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\lnkfile\shellex\PropertySheetHandlers\ShimLayer Property Page]
@="{513D916F-2A8E-4F51-AEAB-0CBC76FB1AF8}"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{00021401-0000-0000-C000-000000000046}]
@="Shortcut"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{00021401-0000-0000-C000-000000000046}\InProcServer32]
@="shell32.dll"