This is the freakiest damn computer problem I've ever heard of.

My first instinct is that this is either a joke being played upon me by the customer, or someone’s playing a joke on him.

I’m a developer on a small-scale MMORPG. We’ve got a message board, and I’m fairly active on it.

One of our players sent me a private message a few minutes ago, claiming that whenever he tries to run any program on his computer, our game starts up. The only way he was able to send me the message was to type the address of the forums for the game into the “run” dialogue- even trying to directly run IE instead runs the game.

He’s killed all non-essential programs, and is currently running online MacAfee (since he can’t run his local, installed copy).

Like I said, I’ve never heard of any program even being able to do this- and, since he’s the only one who’s seen this, out of the multiple thousands of players we’ve got, I’m dubious.

Plus, dammit- I’m an artist. I’m not supposed to be doing this sort of thing anyway. That’s neither here nor there, but there you go.

So… anyway… anyone ever heard of a program doing this? Or some sort of hack that someone could do to his machine that would do this?

In a situation like this, I’d think the VERY first thing the customer should do is reset the computer. It could just be some oddball glitch. If that doesn’t work, I would find a way to run a virus scan (sounds like the run box might work to launch it from), maybe even starting in safe mode and doing it from there. If it still doesn’t work, it could potentially be really difficult to diagnose without actually seeing the computer since it could end up being some little tiny setting buried somewhere in the computer that will only be found by someone knowledgable playing around with it for a little while.
(You could just do what anyother tech support place would do, blame it on someone else. “Sorry, even though only our program launches, it’s acutally a WINDOWS glitch, you’ll have to call Microsoft.”

Oh, just for kicks. Have the person right click on one of the icons on the desktop and see what the target is. Make sure that somehow the target’s didn’t get changed. Also, is this only for shortcuts, or is it EVERY program. That is, do programs where the icon has the little arrow on the bottom right do it? What about programs without the little arrow? What about navigating through the explorer and actually running the program from there?