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Windows cannot open this file


taijej's Avatar
taijej taijej is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Experience: Beginner
04-Jan-2010, 11:01 AM #1
Windows cannot open this file
I have had my computer for about 5 years now. The only things I really know about my computer are that it's a Dell with Windows xp. One day out of the blue my computer stopped allowing me to open everything i.e. mozilla, internet explorer, add or remove programs etc. The only way I'm able to use the internet is by the following:

Go to the control panel, click add or remove programs and a window pops up that reads:
Windows cannot open this file:
File: rundll32.exe
To open this file, Windows needs to know what program created it. Windows can go online to look it up automatically, or you can manually select from a list of programs on your computer.
What do you want to do?
0 Use the Web service to find the appropriate program
0 Select the program from a list

Do to my lack of computer knowledge I select "Use the Web service..." and a window opens through internet explorer that says:

Windows has the following information about this file type. This page will help you find the software needed to open your file.
File Type:Unknown
Description:Windows does not recognize this file type.
You may search the following Web site for related software and information: (link) Search the web.

The Search the web link takes me to a bunch of suggested sites that will help fix exe files or fix my registry which I have know clue as to what it is.
I have tried many times to fix this. Of course I'm not sure, but I read something about the computer's registry getting messed up after having a computer for a long time and you just have to do a simple fix for it. However I cannot download anything, which is why I have no HJT scan to post. I have no clue what to do or where to start. Is my computer beyond salvage? Please help.

Another thing, I have been going to add/remove programs and allowing the window to pop up so I can use the internet on my computer, but every once in a while it gets really slow. PLEASE HELP.
BratDawg's Avatar
BratDawg BratDawg is offline
Member with 658 posts.
Join Date: Sep 2004
Experience: Advanced
04-Jan-2010, 12:27 PM #2
It sounds like you might have a virus. If that's the case, it probably won't let you go to a site like or and run an online scan, but it's worth a shot.

If you can go to another computer, you might look around for a dos scanner that you can put on a floppy or flash drive, boot to dos, and run a scan.

When I do a web search I see several free ones, but they are not sites I recognize. Maybe someone here can refer you to a good one? I'd be afraid of getting one attached to a virus.

I see that Symantec has instructions for putting the current definitions on the computer to use THEIR rescue cd's in dos, but you probably need to have their software to do that. If you do have antivirus softare on your computer, you might check the website for it and see if they have any suggestions for doing a dos scan. Be aware that if you do have a virus, it may prevent you from accessing antivirus sites.

You could also try downloading a free antivirus software like avg or avast if you don't have any antivirus software; trendmicro has a 30 day free trial of their suite. But, again, if you have a virus, you may not be able to do that. Although, you might be able to get something like that on another machine onto a flash drive and run it.
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