computer control panel problem

Whenever I try to open things like the internet explorer icon, the add/remove programs icon, or even something I’ve downloaded, I get the same message…“Yhis file does not have a program associated with it for performing this action. Create an association in the Folder Options control panel.”

Now What?

On behalf of all the true tech people who know what they’re talking about who will be here in a minute, I will ask: What version of Windows are you using? And, what version of Internet Explorer?

Well, I’m on a friend’s computer and he has Windows XP, but the version of internet explorer evades me.

Well, since it’s XP, I wouldn’t even try to find a fix. This is a fairly common problem with associated file types that are meant to be opened by other programs, but I’ve never encountered it with executables before. If none of the suggestions in the GQ Sticky about computer problems, like Adaware or Spybot, find any nasties lurking about, then you’re probably better of using XP’s Sytem Restore feature to go back to a time well before the problem began. You’ll have to reinstall anything you installed after that point, but you may want to rethink that anyway, as one of those things may have caused the problem in the first place.

It reminds me of a similar problem I once had.

I had downloaded a popular image viewing software (Acdsee) from a P2P client (kazaa). The program was working, but some smartass had changed the file associations so that every file extension was handled by acdsee (including executables).

The result was that nothing worked. I solved the problem by going to the acdsee settings and removing all file associations. (I couldn’t uninstall it because the control panel wouldn’t work either)

I wish I could, I can’t even get that to open.

Yeesh. Well, you can try this:

Open up any instance of Windows (NOT Internet) Explorer; for example open My Documents. Click Tools > Folder Options…, then click the File Types tab. Look for affected executable file types (.exe, .com, .scr, .cpl, .bat, .pif, etc) and click each one to highlight it, the click the Delete button to delete the association. Then reboot.

Check your registry under HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT and make sure you see that .exe’s content type is “application”

Has your friend had his computer cleaned of a virus recently? This is a common symptom of having a virus and then having it removed. Viruses often make it so that files which would normally be executables (.EXE, .COM, .BAT, etc.) are sent first through the virus infecter program and then run. They do this by changing the registry entry and file associations mentioned above. If you need to edit your registry you can try Start > Run > regedt32 or Start > Run > regedit (I do not call if these applications will run if their file associations are broken.) Hopefully Q.E.D.'s advice will work for you, though.