Fix: Exe files not opening on Windows 7 or Vista

When you are unable to open EXE file and they open in notepad or other programs, then that means that the file association for the “.exe” files is messed up, probably by a program or by mistakenly associating with another

However, this issue can be easily removed by following these steps below:

Exe files not opening

Method 1:

  1. This is a common problem when files are incorrectly associated either by changing default file associations or accidentally opening a file with another program where it set as default such as (notepad, paint, Wordpad, etc).
  2. To fix the issue, please download and run the registry editor key from here
  3. Right-click on the download exefile_cu.reg file and select “Open With”, In “open with” select Registry Editor and when prompted to confirm, select Yes.

Method 2:

  1. Click Start and type Regedit
  2. Hit Enter and in the Registry Editor  window select File -> Import
  3. Choose the downloaded exefix_cu.reg file and click open to import it.
  4. It will overwrite the incorrect values on your registry with the correct ones.

Method 3:

  1. Press “Windows” + “R” and type in “regedit”.
    Running the Registry Editor
  2. Press “Enter” and confirm the prompt to open the registry editor.
  3. Browse to the following registry key:
    HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.exe
  4. Select “.exe”, right-click on the “Default” file in the right pane and select “Modify”.
    Clicking on “Modify”
  5. Enter “exefile” as the value data excluding the ” symbols.
  6. Browse to and then click on the following registry key:
    HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\exefile
  7. Select the “Exefile” folder, right-click on the “Default” key and select “Modify”.
    Clicking on “Modify”
  8. Enter “%1” %* as the value data including the ” and * Symbols.
  9. Browse to and then click on the following registry key:
    KEY_CLASSES_ROOT\exefile\shell\open
  10. Select the “Open” folder, right-click on the “Default” key and select “Modify”.
  11. Enter “%1” %* as the value data including the ” and * symbols.
  12. Close the Registry Editor and restart your system.

Kevin Arrows


Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.

Expert Tip

Fix: Exe files not opening on Windows 7 or Vista

If the issue is with your Computer or a Laptop you should try using Reimage Plus which can scan the repositories and replace corrupt and missing files. This works in most cases, where the issue is originated due to a system corruption. You can download Reimage by clicking the Download button below.

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