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Window7 troubleshooting .exe is not opening

This question has been asked, but the solutions given were worthless to me because ALL files are trying to open in Notepad. I mistakenly associated all exe files with Notepad and everything is trying to open within Notepad now. That includes regedit, so suggesting I use regedit to doctor files does not work (cmd window will not open from Winkey + R - Run).

It also includes any program I download to fix the issue. I also can not right click and choose Open With because that is not a given option when right clicking on a majority of files, at least none of the exe files I want to start. Yes, I tried it on the program files, not the shortcut. I also can not use System Restore because it, too, tries to open in Notepad. I've been banging my head uselessly on this for hours. Could someone help me out?

  • As a side note: If you can't open CMD normally, press Ctrl+Shift+Escape, then select File, press and hold the Ctrl key, and click New Task. It will bring up a CMD window, run as Admin Dec 14, 2012 at 4:57
  • Can you rename an .exe file as a .com? It should still execute but it won't have the same association. Dec 14, 2012 at 6:39

2 Answers 2


One thing encourages us. Only the executables are associated with notepad. But, the extensions that are opened by those exe's are still associated with the same exe's (like .doc --> still opens with Word). So, our keen weapon is ".reg file" which is still opened and merged by regedit.

Note: I have no experience with Windows-7 because I'm still digging with XP. But, this method maybe of help. Now, Let the siege begin..!

This question (already asked here) could be of help: How do you associate the .exe file extension with a program in Windows?


Use this FixIt to restore the ability to run Exe files:

Can't open .EXE files in Windows 7 or Windows Vista

  • 1
    and changed assignations and that cause exe no longer work. He also posted this.The FixIt comes as MSI so that it can run and restore the broken association. Dec 14, 2012 at 5:17

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