Fix: Exe files not opening on Windows 7 or Vista

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

However, this issue can be easily resolved by following the 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 is set as the 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 downloaded exefile_cu.reg file and select ‘Open With.’ In the ‘Open With‘ menu, select ‘Registry Editor,’ and when prompted to confirm, select ‘Yes.’

Method 2:

  1. Click “Start” and type “Regedit.
  2. Press 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 in 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:
  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:
  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:
  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 Arrows is a highly experienced and knowledgeable technology specialist with over a decade of industry experience. He holds a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification and has a deep passion for staying up-to-date on the latest tech developments. Kevin has written extensively on a wide range of tech-related topics, showcasing his expertise and knowledge in areas such as software development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. His contributions to the tech field have been widely recognized and respected by his peers, and he is highly regarded for his ability to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and concise manner.