Recently, one of our work PCs was unable to execute any program ending in .exe. This can be very frustrating and immediately the client thought that the PC was infected with a virus. While this can happen, in this case, the program responsible for virus protection actually failed.
During the day, our office was in the middle of receiving some SMS packages related to the new Symantec EndPoint Protection. While 99% of the PCs were upgraded successfully, the PC in question failed to upgrade properly.
This then caused no application ending in .exe to open. I have never experienced this before! I was about to re-image the PC but that is the easy way out. If anyone knows me, I will troubleshoot an issue for hours if I have to. (In my opinion, that is the best way to learn).
So began my troubleshooting of this .exe issue. First, I was shocked that I could not even get to the Internet, but then I thought, oh yeah, Internet Explorer is an application so of course it will not open either! I went to another computer and began searching online for solutions. I found a website that already had the answer to my problem: exefix_xp.com
All I had to do was download this file and it fixed the registry entries for the .exe file association automatically.
Disclaimer: Do this at your own risk, even though its done automatically, your PC could crash and become unbootable. If you are able to, back up all important data before continuing.
You can find more information about this on Winhelponline.com