You Are Unable to Start a Program with an .exe File Extension

Article translations Article translations
Article ID: 250931 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q250931
Expand all | Collapse all

SYMPTOMS

When you attempt to start a program that has a .exe file extension, the program may not start, and you may receive one of the following error messages:
Windows cannot find FILES32.VXD. This program is needed for opening files of type "Application".
Path to program is not a valid Windows NT application
Your desktop may appear to be blank. Also, the problem appears many times on reboot. Even after an anti-virus program has indicated it has cleaned the virus, the registry entry listed later in this article is still in the registry.

CAUSE

This issue may be caused by the Pretty Park virus. The Pretty Park virus creates the Files32.vxd file, and then copies the Files32.vxd file to the Windows\System folder of your computer. Also, the Pretty Park virus modifies a registry key that causes the Files32.vxd file to run when you attempt to run any program that has a .exe file extension.

NOTE:Microsoft does not offer software for computer virus detection or removal. Microsoft recommends that you obtain current anti-virus software from a vendor commercially involved in virus detection and removal. For a list of suppliers (vendors) of anti-virus software, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
49500 List of Anti-Virus Software Vendors

RESOLUTION

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

To resolve this issue, perform the following steps:

NOTE: When you run the Regedit.exe file, you may experience the symptoms described earlier in this article. To work around this issue, rename the Regedit.exe file to Regedit.com, and then follow the instructions listed later in this article. After you are finished, rename the Regedit.com file back to Regedit.exe.
  1. Use Registry Editor to view and then modify the following registry key:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Classes\Exefile\Shell\Open\Command
  2. Double-click the following registry string value:

    In Windows NT:
    <NO NAME>: REG_SZ: "files32.vxd" "%1" %*
    In Windows 95/98:
    (Default)"files32.vxd" "%1" %*
  3. In the String box, remove Files32.vxd from the string. The correct string for this value is:
    "%1" %*
    NOTE: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Exefile\Shell\Open\Command may also contact the same string value and must also be modified to remove Files32.vxd from the string. When removing the Files32.vxd from the string, if a space is included, you may receive the message windows cannot find .exe when trying to run an .exe file. Verify that there are no extra spaces in the string after removing Files32.vxd.

  4. Click OK, and then quit Registry Editor.
  5. Click Start, point to Find, and then click Files or Folders.
  6. In the Named box, type files32.vxd, and then click Find Now
  7. In the Name box, right-click the Files32.vxd file, and then click Delete.
NOTE: The Files32.vxd file is not a Windows file and does not reside on the Windows media.

MORE INFORMATION

For additional information about the Files32.vxd file and the Pretty Park virus, view the following Symantec Web site:
http://www.symantec.com/avcenter/venc/data/prettypark.worm.html
Microsoft provides third-party contact information to help you find technical support. This contact information may change without notice. Microsoft does not guarantee the accuracy of this third-party contact information.
NOTE: Microsoft does not provide software that can detect or remove computer viruses. If you suspect or confirm that your computer is infected with a virus, obtain current antivirus software. For a list of antivirus software manufacturers, click the following article number to see the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
49500 List of Antivirus Software Vendors

Properties

Article ID: 250931 - Last Review: January 27, 2007 - Revision: 1.5
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows 98 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 95
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 Developer Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition
Keywords: 
kbenv kberrmsg kbprb kbui KB250931

Give Feedback

 

Contact us for more help

Contact us for more help
Connect with Answer Desk for expert help.
Get more support from smallbusiness.support.microsoft.com