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Even since installing DWIM Perl on a Windows 7 x64 machine, whenever I install certain programs, attempting to open most MS programs included with Windows gives me:

Can't open this item
It might have been moved, renamed, or deleted. Do you want to remove this item?

Upon uninstalling DWIM Perl, I still constantly find myself encountering this problem. What's wrong?

EDIT: The start menu shortcuts and the taskbar icons won't go to the program. I have to specifically search for the exe in the Start Menu.

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Do you use a shortcut in Start menu to open a program? Does the .exe file the shortcut points to exist? –  Alexey Ivanov Apr 24 '13 at 8:59
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2 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted
+50

I concur with @ndev that the problem is probably corrupted program associations of the selected file extension type. But I do not think that his suggested .reg file completely solves the problem.

The article Restore Default Windows 7 File Extension Type Associations contains .reg files to correct program associations for dozens of files-types, so not only for EXE.

Here are the contents of the .reg file to correct the EXE extension:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[-HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.exe]

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.exe]
@="exefile"
"Content Type"="application/x-msdownload"

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

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\exefile]
@="Application"
"EditFlags"=hex:38,07,00,00
"FriendlyTypeName"=hex(2):40,00,25,00,53,00,79,00,73,00,74,00,65,00,6d,00,52,\
  00,6f,00,6f,00,74,00,25,00,5c,00,53,00,79,00,73,00,74,00,65,00,6d,00,33,00,\
  32,00,5c,00,73,00,68,00,65,00,6c,00,6c,00,33,00,32,00,2e,00,64,00,6c,00,6c,\
  00,2c,00,2d,00,31,00,30,00,31,00,35,00,36,00,00,00

[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\" %*"
"IsolatedCommand"="\"%1\" %*"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\exefile\shell\runas]
"HasLUAShield"=""

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

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\exefile\shell\runasuser]
@="@shell32.dll,-50944"
"Extended"=""
"SuppressionPolicyEx"="{F211AA05-D4DF-4370-A2A0-9F19C09756A7}"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\exefile\shell\runasuser\command]
"DelegateExecute"="{ea72d00e-4960-42fa-ba92-7792a7944c1d}"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\exefile\shellex]

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\exefile\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers]
@="Compatibility"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\exefile\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers\Compatibility]
@="{1d27f844-3a1f-4410-85ac-14651078412d}"

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

[-HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\SystemFileAssociations\.exe]

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\SystemFileAssociations\.exe]
"FullDetails"="prop:System.PropGroup.Description;System.FileDescription;System.ItemTypeText;System.FileVersion;System.Software.ProductName;System.Software.ProductVersion;System.Copyright;*System.Category;*System.Comment;System.Size;System.DateModified;System.Language;*System.Trademarks;*System.OriginalFileName"
"InfoTip"="prop:System.FileDescription;System.Company;System.FileVersion;System.DateCreated;System.Size"
"TileInfo"="prop:System.FileDescription;System.Company;System.FileVersion;System.DateCreated;System.Size"

[-HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts\.exe]

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts\.exe]

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts\.exe\OpenWithList]

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts\.exe\OpenWithProgids]
"exefile"=hex(0):

[-HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\.exe]

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\.exe]
@="exefile"
"Content Type"="application/x-msdownload"

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\.exe\PersistentHandler]
@="{098f2470-bae0-11cd-b579-08002b30bfeb}"
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I tried it. Installing GNU Make from GNUWin caused the same errors to appear. –  kirbyfan64sos Apr 26 '13 at 22:30
    
Other extensions might be wrong, such as .bat, but each extension has a correcting .reg file in my above link. Do you know which file this is happening on? –  harrymc Apr 27 '13 at 7:27
    
It is always exe files. Usually, it is the included Windows applications, like explorer and cmd and powershell. –  kirbyfan64sos Apr 27 '13 at 19:22
    
It's real unlikely that installing Perl could destroy your Windows to that extent, but that seems to be the case. If you have a system restore point from before that, rollback to it. If not, try sfc /scannow and let us know the results. –  harrymc Apr 27 '13 at 21:16
    
sfc /scannow says that there's nothing wrong. That occured in about Janurary, so, any restore points are too old. –  kirbyfan64sos Apr 28 '13 at 22:40
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It looks like your installation of Perl damaged your Windows file extension type associations.

Create a new .reg file and paste following code:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.EXE]
@="exefile"
"Content Type"="application/x-msdownload"

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

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\exefile]
@="Application"
"EditFlags"=hex:38,07,00,00
"FriendlyTypeName"=hex(2):40,00,25,00,53,00,79,00,73,00,74,00,65,00,6d,00,52,\
  00,6f,00,6f,00,74,00,25,00,5c,00,53,00,79,00,73,00,74,00,65,00,6d,00,33,00,\
  32,00,5c,00,73,00,68,00,65,00,6c,00,6c,00,33,00,32,00,2e,00,64,00,6c,00,6c,\
  00,2c,00,2d,00,31,00,30,00,31,00,35,00,36,00,00,00

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

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

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

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\exefile\shell\runas]
"HasLUAShield"=""

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

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\exefile\shell\runasuser]
@="@shell32.dll,-50944"
"Extended"=""
"SuppressionPolicyEx"="{F211AA05-D4DF-4370-A2A0-9F19C09756A7}"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\exefile\shell\runasuser\command]
"DelegateExecute"="{ea72d00e-4960-42fa-ba92-7792a7944c1d}"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\exefile\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers]
@="Compatibility"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\exefile\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers\Compatibility]
@="{1d27f844-3a1f-4410-85ac-14651078412d}"

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

[-HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts\.EXE\UserChoice]

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts\.EXE\OpenWithProgids]
"exefile"=hex(0):

Now right-click on the .reg file and press Merge. You should now be able to run .exe files again. (maybe you have to restart)

If that worked Google for “windows 7 file association fixes” and fix all other damaged file associations.

share|improve this answer
    
Your analysis of the problem is probably correct, and your .reg file is mostly correct but not entirely safe. For example, it doesn't delete HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\exefile before it starts populating it. I have included a fuller .reg file in my answer, including a pointer to an article that supplies dozens of .reg files for correcting many more such association problems. –  harrymc Apr 24 '13 at 10:04
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