Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Every time I login to my PC, I receive this message:

Rather odd login error.

Now, it's not that big of a deal, and Windows 7 works just fine. What's odd is that it's supposedly just a generic 'Program' that 7 is trying to open. It's done this since I installed it. I've not downloaded any viruses or anything like that.

Can anyone help me resolve this?

share|improve this question
Have you checked the startup folder on the start menu or MSConfig for a list of applications/files that are loaded during startup? – Nils Magne Lunde Jan 2 '12 at 10:11
There are no unusual appearances of startup programs on the list; I recognise all of them and they all start successfully. – Steffan Donal Jan 2 '12 at 10:17
what is love.exe? :) – wim Jan 3 '12 at 0:06
@wim See: Haddaway – iglvzx Apr 18 '12 at 20:29
up vote 27 down vote accepted

You likely have a file named Program in the root of one of your disks; for example, C:\Program.

You also have a startup entry with missing quotation marks, pointing to C:\Program Files\Random App where it should be "C:\Program Files\Random App". Such an entry lacking quotes can be parsed in two different ways – in this order:

  1. Path "C:\Program", two arguments "Files\Random" and "App";
  2. Path "C:\Program Files\Random App", zero arguments.

This is a mistake by the program developers, but it usually goes unnoticed due to file existence checks done by Windows – it just goes to the second option most of the time. However, when "C:\Program" does exist, the first option becomes valid as well, and Windows attempts to open the file.

Windows XP used to warn the user about the existence of such files at logon time. I haven't tested if Windows 7 displays one, though.

"File Name Warning"

As for how the file was created in the first place – the cause might be similar; even fairly recent programs (and, well, users) sometimes have the 1970's idea that File Names Shall Not Have Spaces...

share|improve this answer
Turns out I do have a file called program in C:\. Wow. I can't believe that this wasn't caught by 7. – Steffan Donal Jan 2 '12 at 10:44
Such a warning does exist in Windows 7: – bwDraco Apr 18 '12 at 19:39

We can find where the file is located. I don't know if this will work in your case (for this mysterious Program file), but it should for any other real file.

  1. Download and extract Process Explorer
  2. Log out and log back in to have the Open with window appear (do not close it)
  3. Run Process Explorer
  4. Right click rundll32.exe in the list of processes
  5. In the Command line: box, you should see the following:

    "C:\Windows\system32\rundll32.exe" C:\Windows\system32\shell32.dll,OpenAs_RunDLL <directory>\file

    Where <directory> is the location of the file (e.g. Program).

The directory may give you some context as to where this issue stems from. You should be able to find out where it is auto-starting using Autoruns and removing the proper entry. If not, simply deleting the file may do the trick.

share|improve this answer

I had the same problem in Windows 10. I had just had a consultant take remote control of the computer to fix several issues with MSN. Their remote program left text files in the "users" folder (C:/Users). Once I deleted the text files there, I no longer had the "how do you want to open this file" dialogue box at start-up.

If you are timid, move the files out of the "users" folder and restart to be sure this is the problem. Leave the folders inside "users" where they are (ex: public, default, etc.).


share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .