Can't open EXE files

This article provides a resolution for the issue that you get errors when opening exe files.

Applies to:   Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows 10 - all editions
Original KB number:   555067

This article was written by Yuval Sinay, Microsoft MVP.


When you try to open EXE files, you may get error messages like: "Access Deny", "Runtime error" and so on.


Corrupt registry settings or some third-party product (or virus) can change the default configuration for running EXE files. It may lead to failed operation when you try to run EXE files.


  1. Click Start, and then select Run.

  2. Type "", and then press Enter. (A DOS window opens.)

  3. Type the following command lines:

    "cd \windows"

    Press Enter after typing each one.

  4. Type copy "regedit.exe" and then press Enter.

  5. Type "start" and then press Enter.

  6. Navigate to and select the key:


  7. In the right pane, double-click the (Default) value.

  8. Delete the current value data, and then type:

    "%1" %*

    Tip: Type the characters: quote-percent-one-quote-space-percent-asterisk.

  9. Close Regedit utility.


    If you are using Windows XP and you enable "System Restore" , you need to disable "System Restore" in "Safe Mode" before using the instructions above.

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