You receive an error message when you try to start a program that has an.exe file name extension

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Article ID: 837334 - View products that this article applies to.
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SYMPTOMS

When you try to start a program that has an .exe file name extension, you receive one of the following error messages:
Windows cannot find FileName.exe
Windows cannot find ProgramName. Make sure you typed the name correctly
Windows cannot find FileName.exe. This program is needed for opening files of type "ProgramName".
Note In these error messages, FileName is a placeholder for the actual file name, and ProgramName is a placeholder for the name of the actual program.

CAUSE

This problem may occur if the W32/Swen.A@MM (Swen) worm installed itself on your computer when you installed a security update that you received as an e-mail attachment to an unexpected e-mail that claims to be from Microsoft.

RESOLUTION

To resolve this problem, follow these steps.

Important This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
322756 How to back up and restore the registry in Windows
  1. Restart your computer in safe mode.

    For additional information about safe mode in Microsoft Windows 2000, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    202485 Description of safe boot mode in Windows 2000
    For additional information about safe mode in Microsoft Windows XP, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    315222 A description of the safe mode boot options in Windows XP
  2. Change the file association for .reg files on your computer. To do this, follow these steps.

    Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional

    1. Right-click My Computer, and then click Open.
    2. On the Tools menu, click Folder Options, and then click the File Types tab.
    3. In the Registered file types list, click Registration Entries, and then click Change.
    4. In the Choose the program you want to use list, click Registry Editor, and then click OK.

      Note If Registry Editor does not appear in the Choose the program you want to use list, follow these steps:
      1. Click Other, and then click My Computer in the Look in list.
      2. Double-click Local Disk (C:), and then double-click WINNT.
      3. Click regedit, and then click Open.
      4. Click OK, and then click Close.

    Microsoft Windows XP Professional and Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition

    1. Right-click My Computer, and then click Open.
    2. On the Tools menu, click Folder Options, and then click the File Types tab.
    3. In the Registered file types list, click Registration Entries, and then click Change.
    4. In the Programs list, click Registry Editor, and then click OK.

      Note If Registry Editor does not appear in the Programs list, follow these steps:
      1. Click Browse, and then click My Computer in the Look in list.
      2. Double-click Local Disk (C:), and then double-click WINDOWS.
      3. Click regedit.exe, and then click Open.
      4. Click OK, and then click Close.
  3. Create a .reg file that is named Repair.reg to repair the registry. To do this, follow these steps:
    1. Right-click an empty area on the desktop, point to New, and then click Text Document.
    2. Press ENTER.
    3. Double-click New Text Document.txt, and then paste the following in the document:
      REGEDIT4
       
      [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System] "DisableRegistryTools"=dword:00000000 
      
      [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\CLASSES\exefile\shell\open\command] @="\"%1\" %*" 
      
      [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\CLASSES\batfile\shell\open\command] @="\"%1\" %*" 
      
      [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\CLASSES\comfile\shell\open\command] @="\"%1\" %*" 
      
      [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\CLASSES\piffile\shell\open\command] @="\"%1\" %*" 
      
      [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\CLASSES\scrfile\shell\open\command] @="\"%1\" %*"
      
    4. On the File menu, click Save As.
    5. In the Save in list, click Desktop.
    6. In the File name box, type Repair.reg.
    7. In the Save as type list, click All Files.
    8. Click Save.
    9. Double-click Repair.reg on the desktop, click Yes, and then click OK.
  4. Update the virus definitions of the antivirus software that is installed on your computer. To do this, scan your computer with the antivirus software, and then follow the instructions for removing this worm.
  5. Use Task Manager to remove any file that the Swen worm created to run as a background system process. To do this, follow these steps:
    1. Right-click the taskbar, and then click Task Manager.
    2. Click the Processes tab.
    3. Click the Image Name column header to alphabetically sort the processes.
    4. Scroll through the list of processes, and look for any randomly-named values that the worm created, such as "ZNFUL."
    5. If you locate a randomly-named value, click it, and then click End Process. In the Task Manager Warning dialog box, click Yes.
    6. Exit Task Manager.
  6. Restart your computer after you remove the worm.

REFERENCES

For more information about the Swen worm, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://www.microsoft.com/security/portal/
For additional information about computer viruses, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
129972 Computer viruses: description, prevention, and recovery
For additional information about antivirus software vendors, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
49500 List of antivirus software vendors

Properties

Article ID: 837334 - Last Review: September 23, 2011 - Revision: 6.0
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Edition
Keywords: 
kbvirus kbsafemod kbprb KB837334

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