Fix: .Exe files not opening in Windows 10 / 11

Some of Windows 10 users are reporting to have faced a peculiar problem when they are trying to run .exe files on their computer, then .exe files are not running. If you are facing the same kind of error on your computer, don’t worry. There are fixes available to solve your problem. The cause behind the problem of .exe files, not running can be many, but for the majority of the users, it is a registry error. Let’s keep the reasons aside and go for the fixes.


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But before going for the fixes you should try these initial workarounds and check if your problem is solved or not.
Initial Workarounds-

1. Reboot your computer. After rebooting your computer, try running .exe file. Check if your problem is solved or not.
2. Check if any Windows Update is pending on your computer. If any update is pending then update your computer. Check if the problem has solved.

If these workarounds did not work for you then go ahead for these solutions-

Fix-1 Change Value Data of .exe registry

You are unable to open .exe files on your computer may be because the value data of your .exe registry is set wrong. To reset the registry follow these steps-

 

1. What you need to do is to press Windows key+S and then type “Regedit“.

2. Then, click on the “Registry Editor” in the search result.

 

Regedit

 

Note: – Before Proceeding with registry editor, just click on File > Export and take a registry backup.

 

3. On the left pane, click on “HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT” to expand.

 

Hkey Expand

 

4. Scroll down and click on the “.exe” registry.

5. Now, on the right pane double click on “Default” registry and set the ‘Value Data‘ as “exefile“.

6. Now, click on “OK” to save the changes.

 

.exe Reg

 

7. Now, on the left pane, navigate to this registry-


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HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\exefile\shell\open\command


8. Click on “Command“.

9. Now, on the right pane click on “Default” to set the ‘Value Data‘ as “%1” %* 

10. Click on “OK” to save the changes.

 

Exefile Reg

 

Reboot your computer.

After rebooting try running a .exe file on your computer. Check if the problem is still there or not. If the problem is still there go for the next fix.

 

Fix-2 Try to run program in compatibility mode

1. Right click on program and click on properties.

2. Click on compatibility Tab.

3. Check Run this program in compatibility mode and select earlier version of windows like windows 8 or windows 7.

 

Compatibility Mode

 

4. Click on Apply and Ok and run the program in compatibility mode.

Fix-3 Revert the location of Program files to the default

It is possible that the problem you are facing not opening .exe files on your computer is happening because you have changed the location of the ‘Program Files’ folder. You can change the location of ‘Program files’ with the Registry Editor by following these steps-

1. Type “Regedit” in the Search box just beside the Windows icon.

2. Then, all you have to do is to click on the “Registry Editor“.

 

Regedit

 

3. Now, on the left pane go this location-

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion


4. Now, on the right pane double click on “ProgramFilesDir” and set the Value Data to “C:\Program Files” and click on “OK“.

 

Currentversion

 

[NOTE- THIS STEP IS ONLY FOR x64 bit COMPUTER USERS

1. Now, on the right pane double click on “ProgramFilesDir (x86)“.

2. Set Value data to “C:\Program Files (x86)

2. Then, click on “OK“.

 

Program X86

 

Close the Registry Editor window.

Reboot your computer.

After rebooting try running a .exe file on your computer. Check if the problem is still there or not. If the problem is still there go for the next fix.

 

Fix-4 Change Sound Settings and turn User Account Control off

It is seen for some users that changing their sound setting and turning the User Account Control ‘off’ solved the problem on their computer.  To change the sound settings on your computer follow these steps-

1. Open the Run window.

2. Type “mmsys.cpl” in the Run window and hit Enter.

 

Run Sound

 

3. Go to the “Sounds” tab. Now, click on the drop-down under ‘Sound Scheme‘ and choose “No Sounds” in the dropdown.

4. Click on “Apply” and “OK” to save the changes.

 

Sounds

 

Reboot your system.
Now follow these steps to turn User Account Control off-

1. Type “Change User Account Control settings” in the search box beside the Windows Icon. Now, click on “Change User Account Control settings” to open User Account Control Settings.

 

Uac

 

2. Now, in the UAC window, you will see a blue slider in-between “Always Notify” and “Never Notify“. Slide the slider all the way down to the “Never Notify“. Now click on “OK“. If you are prompted by User Account Control click on “Yes“.

 

Uac1

 

3. Restart your computer to save the changes.

After rebooting try running a .exe file on your computer. Check if the problem is still there or not. If the problem still persists go for the next fix.

 

Fix-5 Fix File Association from Command Prompt

Wrong File Association can cause the problem of .exe files not running on your computer.

1. At first, what you have to do is to type “cmd” in the Search box.

2. Now, right-click on the “Command Prompt” and then click on “Run as administrator“.

 

Cmd Search

 

2. Now, copy and pasteassoc .exe=exefile” and hit Enter.

 

Cmd Winassoc

 

3. Reboot your computer.

After rebooting try running a .exe file on your computer. Check if the problem is still there or not. If the problem still persists go for the next fix.

 


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Fix-6 Merge a registry to your system

It is seen for some users that the problem is solved when they have imported a registry on their computer. You can try the solution by following these easy steps-

1. Type “Notepad” in the search box beside the Windows icon. Click on “Notepad“.

 

 

Notepad Search

 

2. Paste these following lines and click on “File” in the menu-bar  and then click on “Save as“.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT.EXE]
@=”exefile”
“Content Type”=”application/x-msdownload”
[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT.EXEPersistentHandler]
@=”{098f2470-bae0-11cd-b579-08002b30bfeb}”
[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTexefile]
@=”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_ROOTexefileDefaultIcon]
@=”%1″
[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTexefileshell]
[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTexefileshellopen]
“EditFlags”=hex:00,00,00,00
[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTexefileshellopencommand]
@=””%1″ %*”
“IsolatedCommand”=””%1″ %*”
[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTexefileshellrunas]
[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTexefileshellrunascommand]
@=””%1″ %*”
“IsolatedCommand”=””%1″ %*”
[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTexefileshellex]
[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTexefileshellexDropHandler]
@=”{86C86720-42A0-1069-A2E8-08002B30309D}”
[-HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerFileExts.exeUserChoice]

 

Notepade Registry

 

3. Now, name the file as “Restore.reg” and set the file type to  “All Files” by clicking on the dropdown.

4. Now, click on “Save” to save the registry.


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Save Location

 

Close the Notepad window.

5. Now, right-click on the “Restore.reg” and click on “Merge“.

 

Merge Reg

 

Reboot your computer.

After rebooting try running a .exe file on your computer. Your problem should be solved.

NOTE-

If the problem is still there then you should log in to your computer with another user account and check if you can run .exe files from that user account.

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6 thoughts on “Fix: .Exe files not opening in Windows 10 / 11”

  1. good day
    a recent windows update has resulted in the below error when trying to initialize our pastel accounting – an old version on the workstations . I found an article about permissions in the regedit -that may help me – but cant find it again please can you help
    -2147221503 the application is not valid. Please specify the correct application path.
    Registration checking cannot continue.

  2. – couldnot open a proshow file with an “.exe” extension
    – employed the “fix-1 Change Value Data of .exe registry” method above
    – now non of the programs with “exe “extension are working on the computer
    – when trying to reach regedit to perform the steps backward: get merely “how do you want to open this file” message even though there is no file opened

  3. What if another user account works but you can’t get your administrator account to work?
    Almost all .exe files are trying to open with Excel, even the command prompt, for my admin account.
    So I managed to create another account, but the above issue means I can’t even give another account admin rights.
    Any suggestions on what I can do?

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