Problem in opening programs and files

Asked By 370 points N/A Posted on -

Hi, I am using Vista Pro OS and experiencing problems in opening programs or files. When I try to open a program or file, I am being asked to choose the program to open it with. This applies while opening games, music files, internet browsers, the command prompts, etc. A dialog box is displayed and I am asked to choose a program to open the file with. So I have to browse down through the files to find a file to open it with.

For instance if I wanted to surf using Google Chrome, I click on the shortcut icon on the desktop and when I am asked a program to open it with, I have to go through files and select the original application file of the Google Chrome, if I fail to find a file then it doesn’t open the program.

There is also a problem downloading files. After download is complete, a file is visible in the downloads folder and when i try to open it, a message pops up, “opening *file*” but nothing happens. It opens forever.

I wanted to clean up the system and I downloaded PC Cleaner, but I was not able to open it.

Guys, please help!

Best Answer by Tony S
Best Answer
Best Answer
Answered By 0 points N/A #106744

Problem in opening programs and files


Hi Martin Harris,

This sounds like a hair pulling situation. At this point, I think the problem is with the file associations. You or someone may have inadvertently changed the file associations of files with other applications.

Here are 10 ways to fix this problem:

1. Remove virus in Safe Mode – The first logical solution is to look for Viruses, Worms and other malware that could be doing this to your computer. Some Malware can hide themselves from the system and even from the antivirus itself in the normal mode but cannot in Safe Mode since they wouldn’t be operational. Therefore there is a better chance that the antivirus or anti malware 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

2. Other Malware – If you have not found any virus and as mentioned above, it may not be a virus at all. It could be a worm, root kits 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
  • Malware byte's Anti malware
  • Ad-Aware

3. Visa Default Programs – To set the default programs on which the files must be opened with, follow the steps below:

Click Start > Control Panel > Default Programs > Set Default Programs

On the Set your default programs, select the program you would like to use with files. For example, if you have Winamp, Windows Media Player and iTunes, you can set either Winamp or iTunes to play all types of music files ( mp3, aac, wave, etc.. Consequently, you can set either Windows Media Player or Winamp to play all types of video files (avi, mkv, mpg, etc.)

4. Associate a file type – If you want a more customized file type association:

Click Start > Control Panel > Default Programs > Associate a file type or protocol with a program

With this option, you are going to set each file extension (.mp3, .avi, .wmv, .mpg, etc.) to s specific program (iTunes, DivX player, Winamp, VLC, etc.) you would like it to use to open.

5. Vista System File Checker – If the problem is more serious and some damages or corruption occurred in the system, you may need to do some checking. The System File Checker Tool will replace any missing or damaged files.

  • Click Start > All Programs > Accessories
  • Right click on the Command Prompt and select Run as Administrator
  • Put in the password if prompted.
  • In the command line, type in “sfc /scannow” including the space
  • Have your Windows VISTA DVD ready, System File Checker may need to check it too.

Note: While SFC is running, it’s not advisable to have any programs running, until the scan is complete.

6. System Restore – Restoring your system to a previous state, could also be 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.
  • Hit Next and continue with the restoration setting.
  • Finally, click Yes on the System restore point page.

7. Edit Registry – 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 “UserChoice” folder will be seen under the file extension. Remove the “UserChoice” key.

8. Edit Registry uses a REG file – There is a much simpler and quicker way to do the above step.

9. REG file for specific file extensions – For a much specific approach, to editing the registry for file associations, go to this website:

They have downloads to several file extensions for fixing the file associations.

  • Right click the link above and choose Save target as or Save link as
  • Save it to your desktop for easy access
  • Right click the downloaded file and select Merge

10. Repair Installation of Vista – If you find that any of the above steps has not fixed the issue, then it is probably time to fix the Windows Vista installation.

  • Insert a Vista Installer DVD while you are logged in to your current Windows Vista OS.
  • When the DVD runs, select Install now


  • You don’t need to enter the product code again, just click Next.
  • Do not put a check on Automatically activate Windows when I’m online and I have selected the edition of Windows that I purchased

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

Answered By 0 points N/A #106746

Problem in opening programs and files


Martin the problem with opening folders and the files you are facing can be described due to virus attacks to it may also be due to some changes done regarding to the files.

This problem you are facing is completely due to attack of virus because as you are saying your issues it definitely a powerful virus attack by malware.

You cannot even find the virus as some viruses may not be detected even they occur as they can hide from themselves and there are several programs that creates a huge damage to the data.

Hence it's better to backup the data and completely format the system by installing a fresh copy of windows operating system or any other as you wish.

Thank you.

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