How to fix “open with” program issue in Windows XP?

Asked By 310 points N/A Posted on -

Hello experts,

My operating system is Windows XP with Service Pack 2. I am here to ask a question for the solution of technical problems (being faced by me). My issue is that I am willing to prevent a specific program to start automatically (when windows start).

Frankly, I would love to tell you that while using AVG free antivirus and Windows XP personal firewall, I wished to turn-off all the functions of my secondary Security Suite (which I had installed earlier than AVG) without uninstalling this program.

And my issue is that I have not been successful so far to stop its functionality and to disable it from the list of auto start-up programs or applications. I think this probably is because of this program’s nature; as it is a system security software/program. This is only my own perception and still, I tried everything (which came into my mind) to solve this issue but no success for me.

First of all, to do this, I right clicked the concerned program icon on my system tray then clicked on the option to Shutdown that Security program. However, when my PC was restarted by me that program also restarted with my computing machine.

To solve it, I also went to the tab of start-up of my PC’s System Configuration Utility which contained a ticked startup item ZL_client. I un-check that mark but after restarting the PC, this item appeared as ticked again.

After it, I went to the folder C:WINDOWStasks and there appears nothing at all related to the security program (whom I want to disable). Even after that I looked-up in C: Documents & SettingsneilbrownStart MenuProgramsStartup, (that also contained nothing related to the object program).

I opened the (text file) C:WINDOWSwin.ini too but I can’t understand it.

I think that this issue may be solved by editing my windows registry but I do not have knowledge about it and I really don’t have any clue to do this. The security program about which I am talking about is Zone-Alarm security suite and the version # of it is probably, I immediately needs to know the solution for this issue as early as it can be possible.

In short, I want to know; how to prevent program starting automatically when Windows starts?

I am waiting for any clue anxiously.

Best Answer by Michael Corleone
Best Answer
Best Answer
Answered By 0 points N/A #99219

How to fix “open with” program issue in Windows XP?


Hi Kinlyana,

This sounds like a hair pulling situation. Viruses and other Malware are known the change system files and settings. Although, you may have removed one, there is still a chance that there's some left.

Here are 10 ways to fix this problem:

1. Select a Default Program – You can select a program to be used as a default to which the files must be opened with. Let's do this with Mozilla Firefox as an example.

  • Locate the Mozilla Firefox application or .exe file. (Usually in C:Program FilesMozilla Firefox).
  • Right click it and select Open With, click Choose Program.
  • In the Open With window, choose the program you want to use or browse to locate the program you want to use.
  • Click the program ONCE ONLY.
  • While the program is highlighted, put a check mark in the box where it says Always use the selected program to open this kind of file.
  • Hit OK.

2. Edit Registry – You can manually set the file type associations of .exe files in the registry:

  • Click Start > Run.
  • Type regedit in the box and press Enter.
  • Go to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT  .exe.
  • Selecting the .exe folder, on the right pane of the window, double click (Default) and change the Value Data: to exefile.
  • Go to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT  exefile  shell open command.
  • Selecting the .exe folder, on the right pane of the window, double click (Default) and change the Value Data: to "%1" %* (including “ ” and *).

3. Folder Options – You can manually add the exe file type and restore it using the Folder Options.

  • Click Start > Control Panel > Folder Options > File Types tab.
  • Click New.
  • In the File Extension:, type EXE.
  • The EXE extension is automatically selected, click Restore.
  • Click OK.

4. User Choice Key – Another way of changing the file associations is to modify the system registry.

  • Click Start > type regedit in the Start Search box.
  • Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER  Software Microsoft Windows  CurrentVersion  Explorer  FileExts .
  • There you will see all the file extensions. If there is a manually set program to open the file extension, a “User Choice” folder will be seen under the file extension. Remove the “User Choice” key.
  • Go to the .exe folder and under that is the OpenWithList folder, click it and remove any data that is inside that folder except the (Default) which should have no value set.

5. Undo File Association changes – Using a REG file, you can undo the File Association changes that the virus may have done.

6. Remove virus in Safe Mode – Double check for viruses that could still be doing this to your computer. Some Malware can hide themselves from the system and even from the antivirus itself in the normal mode. However most of them aren't operational in Safe Mode, therefore there is a better chance that the antivirus or antimalware can detect these malicious software inside your computer.

  • Update your Antivirus.
  • Restart your computer and as soon as it lights up hit F8 multiple times until you get to the Windows Advanced Options Menu.
  • Choose Safe Mode.
  • Choose your operating system.
  • Login as the Administrator.
  • Do another scan of your PC.
  • Remove or Fix the infections found.

7. Other Malware – If you have not found any virus, it may not be a virus at all. It could be a Trojan, worm, rootkit or other malicious software that is changing your settings. Some Antivirus software cannot detect other malware or at least some of it. You need another layer of protection to make sure your PC is really malware free.

Try some of these popular Anti-malware and Anti-Spyware:

  • Spybot Search and Destroy.
  • Malwarebyte’s Antimalware.
  • Ad-Aware.

8. System File Checker – Once you have a Windows XP CD, this process compares each operating system file with the ones from the on-disk cache. Then it replaces any missing or damaged ones. Have your Windows XP CD ready, System File Checker may need to check it too.

  • Click Start > Run then in the box type in “sfc /scannow” including the space.
  • Note: While SFC is running, it’s not advisable to have any programs running, until the scan is complete.

9. System Restore – Restoring your system to a previous state, could also fix the problem.

  • Click Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > System Restore.
  • On the System Restore window, select a Restore point. Choose a point where you remember that this problem has not happened yet.
  • Click Next and continue with the restoration setting.
  • Finally, click Yes on the System restore point page.

In your case, since you've recovered from a virus, run a thorough scan before and after doing the system restore. There are viruses and other malware that is known to embed itself in the data of restore points.

10. Repair the installation of Windows XP – This process should replace any missing or corrupt files.

  • Boot from the Windows XP CD.
  • Press Enter to setup Windows XP now.
  • In the Windows XP Licensing Agreement screen, confirm and agree with the terms.
  • Select the Windows Installation you want to repair (normally there is only 1 there) and press R on the keyboard to continue.
  • Don’t worry about losing your files. Only system files that Windows XP is able to restore should be the ones deleted.
  • Follow the next prompts in the Repair process.

I sure hope that the problem has been fixed by any of the given solutions above. Good luck!

Answered By 5 points N/A #99220

How to fix “open with” program issue in Windows XP?


HI kinlyana,

  • This is a serious attack from malware. You can use malware eliminator such as RKILL you can download it on the internet.
  • After using RKILL.
  • Copy paste the following into your notepad and save as "exefix.Reg".

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00.

"Content Type"="application/x-msdownload"






@=""%1" %*"


@=""%1" %*"






[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTexefileshellexPropertySheetHandlersShimLayer Property Page]


  • DOUBLE CLICK "exefix.reg".

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