This scenario has been coming up fairly often recently. A PC becomes infected by a Fake-AV software. MalwareBytes (www.malwarebytes.org) cleans up the infection. Suddenly, EXE files cannot run. Not even Regedit.
There are a couple off good resources which help fix up the registry and restore the EXE file association back to normal. Download and unzip the reg files. Right Click on the Reg file and select Merge.
- Windows XP – http://www.dougknox.com/xp/fileassoc/xp_exe_fix.zip
- Windows Vista – http://www.winhelponline.com/fileasso/exefix_vista.zip
- Windows 7 – http://www.winhelponline.com/fileasso/exe_fix_w7.zip
Thanks and acknowledgements to Doug Knox and Ramesh Srinivasan. They have more file association fixes listed below.