[Solution] EXE Files Always Open with Notepad or Other Applications OR Can’t Open EXE Files in Windows

Many times people face problems while opening .EXE files.

  • The EXE file opens in Notepad.
  • EXE file opens in some other installed programs.
  • Windows displays "Open With" dialog box to choose the program.
  • Windows shows error message, "Windows cannot find .exe file. Make sure you typed the name correctly".

Most of the times it happens when you accidentally change .Exe file type settings from Folder Options. Sometimes it might happen due to virus.

Anyway no need to worry. Here are some solutions which will fix this annoying problem:

METHOD A: Using Ready-Made Registry Script

Download following ZIP file, extract it and run the extracted REG file. It'll ask for confirmation, accept it. It should solve the problem.

Download Registry Script

METHOD B: Manually Editing Windows Registry

1. Open Command Prompt by typing cmd or command in RUN dialog box.

2. Now provide following command:

cd\windows

3. It'll activate Windows folder. Now provide following command to open Registry Editor:

regedit

Fix_EXE_File_Not_Opening_Problem.png

NOTE: If you can't open "regedit", press CTRL+ALT+DEL keys and open "Task Manager". Now click on "File" menu and hold down the "CTRL" key and click on "New Task" menu. It'll open a Command Prompt window. Now provide regedit.exe command and press Enter. It'll open registry editor without any problem.

4. Now go to following key:

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.exe

In right-side pane, change value of Default key to exefile

5. Now go to:

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\exefile\shell\open\command

In right-side pane, change value of Default key to:

"%1" %*

6. That's it. Now exit Registry Editor and restart your Windows. Now you should be able to open EXE files without any problem.

METHOD C: Using Command Prompt

1. Open Command Prompt by typing cmd or command in RUN dialog box.

2. Now provide following command:

assoc .exe=exefile

Repair_EXE_Association_Windows.png

It'll fix the problem.

METHOD D: Using Microsoft Fixit Tool

Microsoft has also released an automatic Fixit tool to fix this annoying problem. This Fixit tool is based on the same method given above in this tutorial.

You can download it using following link:

Download Fixit Tool

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Don't forget to check solutions for other common PC problems in following topic:

[Help & Support] Frequently Asked Problems with Solutions





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Posted in: Troubleshooting, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP


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Comments

  • Tried option A - Rebooted and tested and found all back to normal.

    Thanks very much

  • Thanks a lot for such a beautifull solution i had solved my problem and it is 100% working software once again thanks for this

  • Thanks bro
    a big relief for me
    thanks again

  • ur great bro thnk u very much......i owe u one...

  • i accidentally set all my .exe files to open with notepad. used the script and it worked perfectly. thanks bro

  • I didn't even restart, excellent, thanks.

  • Thanks a lot, man! :)
    It is a big weight off one's mind.
    Thank you, really.

  • 100% working. Why dont you post this in social wepsite so that everyone can see.

  • You dont have to do that much. This is easier:

    1. Open command prompt

    2. Type "assoc .exe=exefile" and press enter.

    done.

  • Thanks a lot . Its working folks!!!!!! I have tried and got permanent solution.

  • Thank god that there are still people so helpful !!Greetings!

  • Thank u......very much..... its really useful.....I solved my laptop problem...... n saved ru.300 required for format ........thanks lot......

  • Excellent tips, I have tried to solve this issue by reading many website no other blog doesn't give these many options and understand what is the exact scenario if exe is not able to open ( some site showing open command prompt and execute command, eve we are not able open exe file)

    Thanks

  • I've tried all three methods correctly, I believe, but none works! Help me..

  • I try all options but i cant solve my problem

  • please help me. what do i do to get to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\exefile\shell\open\command?
    should i use the command prompt? please helpe me :(

  • VG

    ^^ Open regedit using RUN dialog box and then navigate to the mentioned key.

  • Works Perfectly alright. Million thanks. You are the best !

  • Thanks I tried step 1 and it worked fine and I hope it is going to work well forever

  • oh .,it realy helped me a lot .my pc all application was changed into exe file ., repair- first u select the exe file and open it with notepad then u download registry script and extract it now open the extracted file and u do yes in all .,and then it is fixed ,. now u can run any games or application,. that's great i love it,/ u can also use it.,,.thanxz a lot,.

  • thanks I was so worried thax so much option A really helps

  • Thank you my friend. Method A worked in about a second. Can I kiss you?

  • Dude.. i tried ol the method none worked .. can any one help....?

  • Why did the second one when I restarted my computer it says would you like o startup repair

  • all the methods doesn't work for me and I tried restarting the computer multiple times. Can anyone help me?

  • I did both A and B and they did not work even though I seem to have the right values in...

    Someone know what might be the problem?

  • O MY FING GOD!!! THANK YSO MUCH!!! I SEARCHED 6 MONTHS FOR A SOLUTION!!! YOUR MY MAN :")

  • i'm facing the problem of disable the checkbox "always use the selected program to open this kind of file" for .flv mean a multimedia file in win. xp? so will you please help me that how to enable it.
    and please try to give me a simple way of enable the said option. i'll be feel obliged
    Thanks

  • VG

    ^^ Try following:

    http://www.askvg.com/how-to-enable-disable-always-use-the-selected-program-to-open-this-kind-of-file-option-in-open-with-dialog-box/

  • Thank you so much!!! I tried the first method and it worked like magic!

  • command file also open in word pad
    all prgm in open with wordpad if not updated in windows file also, and then not use pendrive internet exfloser open in word pad
    how can solved it.

  • hiiii... excellent... 100% working....
    thank you veryyyy much..:)))

  • thank u very much..the register key working 100%

  • I am thankful for these applications especially Download Registry Script and Download Fixit Tool.
    My problem was changing all files to .exe files after installing M 290 MMT Moisture Management Tester software which is strictly limited. Unluckily, I installed without reading how to install it in instruction manual. I was so miserable. I was worried for my data files to be corrupted. After utilizing these applications, everything return to fine conditions. Thank you so much . I heartily recommend.

  • it has been worked. thank you soo much. you are really awesome ....................

  • Thanks you very much!!!!

    I've download a file that my antivirus said it was potentialy dangerous but i've neglected that, the file was'nt working and it was impossible for me to delete it, so i've set this file to open witn notepad and the ifle dissapeared, but when i rebooted my computer, all files we opening in notepad, i've though it was a virus because even my antivirus was opening in notepad.. But i've found a way to launch firefox from windows help options, and i've found this solution, used A and rebooted and now everytihng is perfect, thanks again

  • Just another thank you to add to the many expressions of gratitude. After a couple of hours searching and trying other methods, your Method A worked instantly.

    Cheers

  • THANKS SO MUCH!
    saved my laptop
    downloaded method #1 and worked like a charm
    you guys are awesome!

    syc

  • i followed step A & it works....only the problem..some of the icons are still on notepad on my desk top...but when i click the icon which is still on notepad,,it is already working...

    any way it is easy to change the icon shortcut on the desk top......

    thanks for the help mate..

    i really appreciate it....

    everything is normal already....

    awesome!!!!!

  • now it says a very serious problem has been ocuured :(

  • thank you vary mach, easy to solve my problem in notepad. your step is very excellent finally save my laptop

  • Dear Mr. Gupta , I followed the first solution and it worked just as you said. I cannot thank you enough! I do not know how I did this to my win 7 but it is now fixed and running normally. Thank you for taking the time to post these suggestions...very professional and well done. Sincerly , Mr. John M. Brady

  • OMG You saved my life, thank you. I didn't even back up.

  • Hi, i had this problem where exe files downloaded from torrents wouldn't open. So i opened regedit and changed something. i screwed up big time because now, i cant open regedit or command prompt or task manager or any other windows application.
    Help please...

  • What if command prompt wont open as well.. it opens with notepad.. what do i do.. everything is messd up..!!

  • my Script also doesn't works and cannot open the Registery Editer also
    how can I make Work ?
    Please help me.... please

  • Method B completely ignores the problem at hand, and proposes a non-working solution.

    If ".exe" is associated with another program, telling people to type "regedit" or "cmd" into the Run or Start Menu boxes is pointless; Those commands are shortcuts for "regedit.exe" and "cmd.exe", which will open with... you guessed it, the wrong program and cannot be used properly.

    Reading the actual issue would be helpful when you're trying to suggest fixes.

  • ^^ You forgot to read the NOTE given in method 2. It works.

  • Amazing!!! option 1 worked in seconds! thank u thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!

  • the first works (actually i thought it wont, and so the other method) but needs more information... i barely made it i guess i got lucky...
    fist you cant extract it because the winrar application (which is an .exe) also opens as a notepad...
    second what would i choose when asking what application should i use in opening the reg file?
    luckily Im not dumb to choose the bloody notepad again...

  • VG

    ^^ You can extract the RAR file by right-clicking on it and selecting Extract option. Regarding running the registry script, its a .REG file, so it'll run without any problem.

  • :( but all my exe files converted to registry ..plz say how to overcome from this problem..

  • Is there anyway to do it with windows 8.1 Help!

  • thank you very much it works but the icons still not changed to original format wat shall i do?please

  • Thanks a lot bro........really it worked first method is the best one.....thanx a lot bro

  • thanks man.........method a is working........solved my so many problems..........

  • all of my applications are opening in notepad.i am not able to get rid from it. Please help me!!

  • the fixit ho9w works . it is installed but no changes made . exe open with notepad.

  • To anyone that is still struggling, boot up in safe mode then open CMD. Run the following...

    assoc .exe=exefile

    Then restart and boot windows as normal and it will be solved..!

  • VG

    Thanks for your input. I have added the method to the main topic. :)

  • tried method 1 and it worked...very big thanks!

  • Dear all,
    Yesterday i installed u torrent software.after completing my installation all my programs changing torrent Exe. i open any file it shows like torrent is not valid bencoding i am trying to uninstall the torrent in control panel .but it's also not working.now i can't do anything from system what should i do ?could please give me the proper solution.

  • i did download software for correcting the problem what mentioned above when click the software i'm getting same problem.above you mentioned command prompt solution i click on command prompt while i'm getting same problem.

  • This website helped SO MUCH!!!! It literally took two days to try and fix this problem. Microsoft were no help, they just tried to get me to buy a 100 quid "premium" service to try and fix it. I've tried so many different registry fixer files but none of them worked because they stupidly were in .exe form. Finally I found this website who actually had the common sense to put it in a zip file.

    Thanks a lot askvg.com, you helped a lot. I definitely recommend this to anybody else.

  • Thank you for taking the time to detail this process.. like everything if you know how to do something its easy.. what a wonderful and painless fix!

  • What we have to do after typing cmd or command in method C

  • Thank you sooooooooooo much...
    For this solution...

  • That is awesome solution...
    Thanks a lot

  • Now my exe program is normally working...
    Thanks

  • My all .exe program is not working. It's open with notepad or other programs.
    When I run the extracted REG file, My problem has Solved...
    It's working... Thanks

  • Hello
    Howto launch exe file when .exe association is wrong?

    I know what to do, but I can't, because .exe is associated with web browser

    Thanks

  • Thank you Thanks A lot for registry script

  • the first choice is succesfull, thank a lot.

  • I believe you saved so many innocent lives other than mine. My hero :*

  • i searched many blog for this solution but nothing worked.. but your method worked..
    Thanks alot.

  • You saved my life. you doesn't know how thankful Am to you.

  • when i am open the notepad its continuously stops give me solution for this

  • all my computer programs open with google chrome and i am unable to run my programs

  • I Can't Open Regedit cause it opens with notepad D=

  • all my computer programs open with chrome ,and none of the above method works .
    ready made registry script can not make any changes ,
    regedit do not open, even via cmd prompt ,
    and via "assoc .exe=exefile" it returns " Access is denied . Error occurred while processing: .exe ".

  • Great! i've been searching the internet for a long time and ths is the ONLY thing i've found that does it. Thank you!

  • I did everything you write, but did not solve anything. I do not give permission to any files from the Open with right click> - Chose deflation agenda ... to select proramul that remain for that file format. When you give "Chose default program" I get an error that I write: "This file does not have a program associated with it performing this action. Please install a program or, if one is already installed, create an association in the Deflaut Programs control panel". I installed Microsoft Fix It, but still not resolved the problem

  • Awesome tricks... I tried the trick - assoc.exe=exefile... that workefd correctly... it worked awesome... :) :) Thanks a lot...

  • thanks a lot man finally fixed!!!!!!!saved my 58gb games

  • sir none of above are working in my case ... please help...
    actually i changed one of file types of .exe file to open with notepad now all are opening with notepad

  • Awesome trick the first option worked just fine and quick...thumbs up ;)

  • Thank you,
    tried "METHOD D: Using Microsoft Fixit Tool ", and it worked

  • THANK YOU . WORKED FOR ME. THANK YOU. I used method B.

  • How can i ever thank you.....you are the best....plz keep doing what you are doing sir...you are an IT Pro......Thanks a lot...

  • thankyou....verrygood. thankyou.im from to vietnames.

  • hey on the second one im with step 4 and 5 do i change the name default of what?

  • VG

    ^^ Double-click on Default and change its value.

  • I rarely use windows tricks from this website, but I like reading everything here. Now i know where to go if I or some other thing mess with my computer :p

  • I cannot open any .exe files even commod prompt and my half control panel is useless please tell me what to do

  • it worked!! thanks man... method A really works

  • yow!!!!! you're great man thank for the help :)

  • Amazing. Don't usually leave comments but this really got me in a ditch. Thanks. Method A worked seamlessly. Didn't even need to restart. Thank you.

  • Just as an aside, you can open the Task Manager directly with the Ctrl + Shift + Esc sequence. Just eliminates one click from your method, so maybe not the greatest time-saving feature ever invented but mentioning it for those who are compulsive about efficiency.

  • Thank you! Thank you so much. I mistakenly made another software (an emulator) the default program to open .exe files when trying to run a game. And then everything messed up. Even system restore wouldn't open. Was getting crazy. The first option solved my problem.

    Whew! (Y)

  • I tried to open download but it takes back to my browser and downloads again. all my files and programs open in the browser. what can i do to fix this

  • Hi VG, how can I get rid of torrent. I cannot even open the internet because of this this thing. All my folders is torrent. please help me.

  • How can I get rid of utorrent.? I cannot even open any of my folders because of utorrent. Even the internet. All my folders even chrome is under utorrent.

  • tks very much my method 1 works its very helpfull

  • Thank you!! Thank you!! Thank you!! I ran option one an it fixed my issue, you saved my day!!

  • I really can't find the words to thank you!
    The two methods are working like charm..
    Thank you so so so much. You're a true hero!

  • my programs still look like notepad tho but 10/10 IT WORKS

  • It worked, but the icon is still remaining.

  • Please help! I opened my Windows 7 PC in safe mode and followed Method B. To be sure I did correctly, I compared the registry to my Windows 10 PC registry. They matched. I'd open this webpage or the links you suggested but the browser and Outlook all use .exe files that will open Notepad.

  • thanks you this was very very helpful for me because my problem get solved in one minute only

  • will not open. even using the command propt it tries to open but then says ... regedit.exe run or save ... i click run .. then it says the programs publisher could not be verified and will not open ... I have tried to do a system restore using bios .. there is no restore point and i don't have a disk ... the regedit.exe and all other programs are trying to open as an internet explorer. but only the window opens with nothing in it and i can't download because once its downloaded it askes to run or save and i have the same problem it won't open the download :( help please

  • regedit also has the same icon with the other and doesnt opens also cmd doesnt open as well what can i do pls help me

  • fixed all software to bakup regedit.exe (example: open regedit and file to export and save name: bakupXp.reg. enjoy!!!!!! :))))))) ps: pls install operating system after making the settings saved backup.reg

  • Hello.. nothing worked for me.. I did a system restore to a previous point and it worked..

  • i love you. seriously thank you so so much!!you saved my life!god bless you

  • Thank youuuu very much ...
    The first really help me

  • Sir, Thank you for your solution. Now i will open all .exe files in my computer.

  • Great! Thanks a bunch, I really started to panic!

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