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Some .exe files don't work, despite showing up in Processs tab (others work fine)

    Question

  • Hello,

    My problem is as follows: when launching some .exe files, either by double-clicking in Explorer or by having another program launch them, they show up in the Processes tab in Task Manager, take up some memory, some threads and some handles, and then stay at 0% CPU and nothing else happens. Launching the file again only adds a new process, equally "dead".

    The weird thing is that some files work fine: Chrome, Steam client and at least one Steam game, regedit.exe, msconfig.exe, Adobe reader, VLC media player, one compiled AutoHotKey script...

    The ones that conspicuously don't work are OpenOffice (all its .exes), many Steam games, installers for new programs (such as OOo), other compiled AutoHotKey scripts, Pure Data.

    None of these problems seem to appear in Safe Mode.

    So lots of stuff still works, but I'd love to fix this and be able to work on text documents and spreadsheets again...

    What I've tried so far:

    • updated Windows to all it asked for
    • sfc /scannow returns no problem at all (just ran it again now)
    • chkdsk /r /f, everything is fine
    • tried a system restore, which failed even in Safe Mode, with the message about antivirus software preventing it from doing its job
    • uninstalled AVG, which was only possible in Safe Mode, am now running the free trial of Malwarebytes, which says everything is fine after a scan
    • followed the instructions to correct .exe file association in the registry found here: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2688326

    ...and still nothing.

    Any ideas? Thanks in advance.

    Thursday, January 19, 2017 8:35 AM

Answers

  • Hi ,

    Based on your description, there is no such issue in safe mode environment, right?
    When did this issue start to occur?
    I assume that it is caused by some third party applications. Please uninstall all security applications or antivirus software (such as Malwarebytes) if you have any installed on your computer, check if it helps. If the issue persists, I suggest you boot into clean boot environment to check again, it will avoid third party applications' effort.
    How to perform a clean boot in Windows
    https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/929135/how-to-perform-a-clean-boot-in-windows

    If the issue still persists, we could try to perform an in-place upgrade repair to refresh the machine. Refreshing the machine won`t affect the personal files. Boot from a Windows 7 ISO, choose "upgrade" install. Then reinstall these applications that cannot run, such as office, steam games.

    Best regards


    Please remember to mark the replies as answers if they help.
    If you have feedback for TechNet Subscriber Support, contact tnmff@microsoft.com.

    Friday, January 20, 2017 7:34 AM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Hi ,

    Based on your description, there is no such issue in safe mode environment, right?
    When did this issue start to occur?
    I assume that it is caused by some third party applications. Please uninstall all security applications or antivirus software (such as Malwarebytes) if you have any installed on your computer, check if it helps. If the issue persists, I suggest you boot into clean boot environment to check again, it will avoid third party applications' effort.
    How to perform a clean boot in Windows
    https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/929135/how-to-perform-a-clean-boot-in-windows

    If the issue still persists, we could try to perform an in-place upgrade repair to refresh the machine. Refreshing the machine won`t affect the personal files. Boot from a Windows 7 ISO, choose "upgrade" install. Then reinstall these applications that cannot run, such as office, steam games.

    Best regards


    Please remember to mark the replies as answers if they help.
    If you have feedback for TechNet Subscriber Support, contact tnmff@microsoft.com.

    Friday, January 20, 2017 7:34 AM
    Moderator
  • Hi,

    Thank you for your reply. As far as I can tell, the issues indeed don't occur in Safe Mode (OpenOffice launches there, that's the only test I've done).

    This started to occur about 3 weeks ago, I didn't install anything else than the usual Windows Updates and updates to AVG antivirus.

    Before uninstalling AVG, I did try a clean boot, which didn't solve the problem. Upon checking, AVG services had been launched even in a clean boot (which is why I chose to uninstall it completely). I will try a clean boot again after uninstalling Malwarebytes. Should I uninstall my firewall too?

    For the in-place upgrade repar, is a Windows 7 System Repair disk ok? This is what I have. Could you tell me more about what such a refresh would do? I'm not worried about personal files, which are all in a separate partition (and mostly backed up outside as well), more about the hassle of reinstalling and reconfiguring everything, from browser to printer to appearances.

    Thanks again.




    • Edited by GuilhermeSCarvalho Friday, January 20, 2017 8:21 AM edit for font size and typos
    Friday, January 20, 2017 8:16 AM
  • Hi again,

    Ok, quick update:

    • the problem persists even in a clean boot
    • somehow DropboxUpdater and GoogleCrashHandler managed to be present in the Processes tab after a clean boot, which I found weird. I also have had runonce.exe and runonce.exe*32 in there for a while. I hadn't mentioned it before but it also looked weird in a clean boot.

    And something I had forgotten to mention before: after I did the first round of updates to Windows, and after running sfc /scannow, explorer.exe is not behaving well at startup - I get a black screen (with mouse cursor) after the login. I can solve this by calling Task Manager, killing explorer.exe and launching it again, but the problem is back on the following restart. Not the worst part of my problem, but it's new thing on top of the rest.

    Any suggestions before I go in with the System Repair disk?

    Thanks in advance.

    Friday, January 20, 2017 4:15 PM
  • Hi ,

    Should I uninstall my firewall too?
    If it is Windows firewall, please disable it to have a check. If it is a third party firewall, uninstall it.
    For the in-place upgrade repar, is a Windows 7 System Repair disk ok? 
    We need a installation media to perform in-place repair, is your Windows 7 System Repair disk a installation disc? If so, it is ok, If not, I am afraid that you do need a Windows 7 ISO. You do not have to reinstall and reconfigure everything.

    Best regards

    Please remember to mark the replies as answers if they help.
    If you have feedback for TechNet Subscriber Support, contact tnmff@microsoft.com.


    Tuesday, January 24, 2017 9:21 AM
    Moderator
  • Hi ,

    How about the issue, is there anything to update? We haven’t heard from you in a couple of days, have you solved the problem? We are looking forward to your good news.

    Best regards

    Please remember to mark the replies as answers if they help.
    If you have feedback for TechNet Subscriber Support, contact tnmff@microsoft.com.

    Friday, February 10, 2017 3:01 AM
    Moderator
  • Hi,

    Sorry for the disappearance, I thought once your last reply had been marked as "proposed as answer" the thread was closed.

    The situation is as follows: I don't think my System Repair disk is an installation disk, so I would need a Win7 ISO, which I don't have. So it's going to be the tedious system repair, with all the reinstalling and reconfiguration, which I will only do in a week or so when I can take the time off work to do it. Oh well.

    Thanks anyway for your answers, I'll mark your first reply as the answer.

    Best regards

    Friday, February 10, 2017 5:56 AM