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A while ago I had a problem with my computer whereby it would not start properly. It was eventually determined that the problem was caused by the .vbs file extension association being changed to a text reader instead of wscript.exe, causing our company logon script not to run. I fixed this association and fixed the problem.

But I can't remember how I managed to get into the computer in order to fix it.

Anyway, it looks like the same problem has occured on another user's PC. If I shut down their computer you briefly see the logon script open in notepad - telling me that the system has tried to run it, but it has instead opened in notepad.

I logged into the machine using the local Administrator account and found that the association is already correct, leading me to believe file associations are profile specific rather than machine specific?

Is this true?

And if so, how can I get into the broken profile in order to fix the association?

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Why don't you just restore the computer using the standard image file? Why try to solve a corrupt windows installation? – Ramhound Mar 15 '13 at 17:51
It's not a corrupt windows installation. It's just one misconfigured file association. I don't have an image of the machine. I work in a small company where having standardized images is not practical. I was able to fix the problem with less effort than that would require anyway. See below. – MrVimes Mar 16 '13 at 10:19
The extension used to handle VBS scripts are not magically changed. – Ramhound Mar 17 '13 at 0:15
No, they are changed manually by users who don't know what they are doing. I went in and changed it back. Nothing was 'corrupt'. – MrVimes Mar 18 '13 at 10:40

Key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes is what you are looking for. There are stored user specific file type associations.

HKEY_CURRENT_USER is located in ntuser.dat file in users profile.

So, if you are not logged directly to corrupted profile, you can use regedit to Load Hive... from users folder.

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Thanks. I didn't actually get a chance to do this succesfully as I was able to solve the problem. but I believe it to be a valid answer. – MrVimes Mar 16 '13 at 12:13
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Here is how I fixed it...

  • Press the shutdown button. This presented me with the notepad screen showing the logoff script.

  • Go to File->Open (in notepad)

  • Browse to c:\Windows

  • Scroll to explore.exe (or put something like 'explore*' in the filename box to filter everything else out)

  • Right click and click Open (doing this avoids just 'opening' it in notepad)

This gave me full access to the OS so I was then able to go and fix the association.

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