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How to Fix “This file does not have a program associated with it for performing this action” on “Windows Vista” or “Windows 7”

This post will go over how to fix “This file does not have a program associated with it for performing this action”. This is a very tough issue to fix because when no exe files have a program associated with opening them you can’t run 99% of your programs!. Luckily I have made a very easy step-by-step to help you with solving this corrupt exe extension issue!

Screenshot of the error: “This file does not have a program associated with it for performing this action”.


This issue is something I’ve only seen when a program or virus managed to corrupt the .exe association in registry causing the user unable to run any programs.

If you have solved this issue on XP the items a bit different on Vista and Windows 7. It turns out to be a corrupted .exe association and the reason those steps I taken didn’t work is because the Windows Vista registry location for exe association is different from XP. Obviously using the XP fix cannot work on Vista!

When you have a corrupted exe association, you definitely cannot use any registry editor to fix it because it is impossible to run it in the first place. So here are a few methods you can try:

1. Open the command prompt. Make sure to run it as “Administrator”. Run command prompt and type assoc.exe=exefile (If you get access denied error, try step 2). If you want to run a file as administrator right click a shortcut to the program and select “Run as Administrator”. This will normally fix the corrupt exe

This file does not have a program associated with it for performing this action

2. Download this file called “Vista-7-fixexe.txt and rename it to “Vista-7-fixexe.reg”. Some security software will not let you download registry files. If you open the file it’s contents should look like this:

how to fix “This file does not have a program associated with it for performing this action”

3. Open command prompt and type the following command REG IMPORT vista-7-fixexe.reg. Make sure you’ve already CD to the directory where the .reg file is. (If you have problems getting this to work, try step 4)

4. Download the compiled version of the registry file above and run it.

5. Microsoft Fix It has an automated way to fixing the exe association problem. Simply download this MicrosoftFixit50194.msi file and run it.

If done correctly, it should fix the problem instantly and no reboot is required.

40 Responses

  1. How about windows7

  2. IRFAN on September 29th, 2010 at 9:56 pm
  3. Did you read the title? It says Windows 7 as well.

  4. Jared Heinrichs on September 30th, 2010 at 5:24 am
  5. is not working….do you now an other way to help me…look my email

  6. r0naldosla on November 1st, 2010 at 6:23 am
  7. The suggestions above did not work, except for two which led to a solution. The suggestion to open CMD.EXE in Administrator mode worked which was a life saver. I was then able to run the assoc.exe=exefile which allowed me to run exe files. This allowed me to run the command to do a system restore from a recent checkpoint. The command is RSTRUI.EXE which will open the windows dialog box for doing a restore. I restored the system and registry and it worked.

  8. Joe Eber on November 20th, 2010 at 2:57 pm
  9. Thanks Joe!

  10. Jared Heinrichs on November 20th, 2010 at 4:00 pm
  11. not working bullshit,anything else that could help

  12. ivan on December 21st, 2010 at 2:58 pm
  13. download the file association fixer v 1.0 google if you have no virus or malware in you pc it means you have a broken file…. it should fix it……….

  14. alex on January 12th, 2011 at 2:03 am
  15. Alex, this really works!!! thanks a lot for the tip!!! 😀

  16. kenny on February 8th, 2011 at 2:39 am
  17. have tried to put manually registry keys and values had to create some keys but for now seems the problem has gone so will se how it will work after reboot thanks a lot guys

  18. sitdox on February 13th, 2011 at 4:33 pm
  19. THANKS guys again it worked just fine so far restart was successful so hoping al is good so far
    T H A N K S

  20. sitdox on February 13th, 2011 at 4:38 pm
  21. Hi – thanks for the intelligent suggestions. I learned some tips, however, unfortunately it did NOT fix my problem. i tried every step. But, my problem slightly differs than what is described. Ever since I got my computer, a Dell with windows 7.. I was NEVER able to open windows explorer.. its the folder along the bottom in my task bar.. if I click it, it gives that message:
    “this file does not have a program associated with it for performing this action. Please install a program or, if one is already installed, create an association…etc”

    My problem used to be just this one folder. But I let it slide b/c if I ‘rightclicked’ and then clicked open, I could access it. (Couldn’t acces it tho thru rightclicking and clicking explore.. only ‘open’.) Anyways, just this morning this now has happened on every single one of my folders!!!! if I go into the C/Drive and click on lets say the documents folder.. I get this error message. but I can access it by rightclicking and then open. I can access all my applications tho.. if I want to access iTunes, I just double click it. If I want to go into the iTunes folder though, I will get this message unless I do a rightclick over the folder and click open. Its just annoying. I get obsessive and want everything running the way it should be, but in all and all I can still access the files. just don’t know how to fix this..

    PLEASE HELP! Many thanks!

  22. marc on March 4th, 2011 at 12:30 pm
  23. Sorry. Never seen that one before 😉 I wonder. Have you tried creating a new Windows user account and try logging in as that user? Let me know if the issue follows you through accounts. If it does I am thinking you might need to do a re-install. If it doesn’t follow you, It might be easier just using the new user account.

  24. Jared Heinrichs on March 4th, 2011 at 1:55 pm
  25. Hi Jared – thanks for the prompt response. that was one of the things I tried to do. I can’t even create a new user account. For instance, if I go into Control Panel, User Accounts and click “Add or remove user accounts”, nothing happens. Nothing happens at all. I just click it and nothing..

  26. marc on March 4th, 2011 at 2:10 pm
  27. Jared – in addition to my not being able to access or use User Accounts response above.. I have something called “Dell DataSafe Local Backup”.. its to backup files for recovery. I can not access this either. Like when I click “Add or remove User Accounts”, nothing happens. I click the Dell DataSafe and nothing happens.. So, if I want to do a reinstall of OS, I have NO way of recovery. I don’t necessarily mind losing files and applications, I can spend the time to restore them. Its the fact that I was NOT given an OS disc for Windows7 when I bought the computer in November 2009 b/c this function was given to us as part of the computer..

  28. marc on March 4th, 2011 at 2:23 pm
  29. Are you running Windows Vista/7? Have you tried turning off the “UAC”? Go to the start menu. Just start typing “msconfig”. Go to the last tab, the option to enable/disable it should be located near the bottom of the list. You will need to restart the computer. If that doesn’t work go to and make a disk. There is a tool on the disk to allow you to create a new user while the computer is offline. If you’re having issues making that disk you might also look around the torrent sites for a “geek squad” disk. It has similar capabilities but unfortunately most of the disks out their have a ton of viruses on them.

  30. Jared Heinrichs on March 4th, 2011 at 2:27 pm
  31. You might also want to try and check out this software. You might have to disable antivirus first. This is the software on the Ultimate Boot CD that can reset or create new Admin users. Make sure to run the software as admin by right clicking it and selecting “run as admin”. Also like I said earlier make sure to disable the UAC to see if that helps out.

  32. Jared Heinrichs on March 4th, 2011 at 2:50 pm
  33. Well, I can’t even disable UAC. It won’t allow me. I click it and nothing happens. I can’t turn off or on UAC. I tried MsConfig and the last tab was ‘tools’ and there was a UAC setting that only allowed me to ‘launch’ UAC. It brought me into a window where I can change the level of control with a sliding scale. Such as a level to notify me of changes made to my computer.. which is a recommended setting. The other tabs in msconfig are:
    general / boot / services / startup / tools.
    there is nothing within these tabs to enable/disable UAC ??

    Do you think I have a virus that my AntiVirus can not find? I’m running SystemSuite Professional 10 by Avenquest.

    I am running Windows 78 – 64bit

  34. marc on March 5th, 2011 at 7:50 am
  35. Ended up being able to create a new UAC (without Admin rights – couldn’t get Admin rights enabled on new UAC) and did not fix issues.

    Ran the combofix and malwarebytes and that didn’t fix issue.

    I still can not access any folder unless I righclick, then click open.

    Still can not access Dell DataSafe Backup – says something like ‘RMCPLg.exe’ is corrupted. which I think is a registry file apart of this dell datasafe..

    I also have this thing called “Dell Dock” – its more or less a task bar along the top where i could attach my most frequently used programs.. all of a sudden now that’s not working says “A program on the dock is not working properly and causing the dock to malfunction” or something like that..

    I think the best thing for me to do now is a reinstall of OS but I never got the OS disc to do so. I think you sent me a link to do it but I can’t figure it out..


  36. marc on March 6th, 2011 at 10:44 am
  37. I have a Dell Inspiron 545s – Win 7, 64bit… You just fixed a problem that DELL couldn’t even fix!!!!! When I got my computer last year, Dell could not fix it and asked for me to send it back under its Warranty. And, you just fixed it! I’m speechless!

    It was well worth the money and save me a great deal of time. I spent days trying to fix it with no success. I also learned a lot on how to maintain security and keep it running smoothly. Just can’t thank you enough..

  38. Marc on March 7th, 2011 at 8:19 pm
  39. how to fix the same prob in xp service pack 2?

  40. iftekhar on March 8th, 2011 at 6:11 pm
  41. I have the same problem as marc how do you fix it?

  42. Oscar Palacios on March 17th, 2011 at 12:00 pm
  43. I have the same problem an marc… help please!

  44. Jeffrey on March 29th, 2011 at 7:22 pm
  45. Alex’s tip does the trick (download and run File Association Fixer)

  46. Muhammad Fahad on March 31st, 2011 at 4:51 pm
  47. I cant believe it! I have the exact same problem as Marc, with the exception that it’s not a Dell computer, so I think you can exclude that as the cause.
    I haven’t updated in months and now after finally doint it, this is what I get? frustrating =/
    If anyone has any idea.. please share :) thanks!

  48. Fan Girl on April 1st, 2011 at 12:14 pm
  49. Jeffrey and Fan Girl File Association Fixer works perfect for me, try it I think it will work for you too. Thanks a lot Alex!!! for the tip

  50. Oscar Palacios on April 2nd, 2011 at 2:48 pm
  51. You rooooooooooock!!!
    man thank you so much…iv ben trying all these months to solve this issue..
    my problem was that when i get the “windows update notefication” i click on it then i install updates..after that i install them…then i restart..after the restart i go to my HDD to open it but it doosnt i get this message “this file does not have a prgoram ….bla bla”..but when i right click on it opens..-,,-‘

  52. Ayman on April 9th, 2011 at 8:46 am
  53. THANKS TO YOU JARED .I FIXED IT WITH File Association Fixer 1.0

  54. Minas Nikolaou Tzorakakis on April 18th, 2011 at 2:51 am
  55. im using Windows 7, had some weird “windows 7 anti-virus” thing running on my comp that basically hijacked it. once i deleted it, i ended up getting this error. first step worked right away… thank you so much, i was really about to just buy a new SSD and use it has a boot :3

  56. john on May 11th, 2011 at 6:14 pm
  57. I have tried to download the compiled version of the registry file above and run it but it would still give me the same message. I can’t open command prompt either! Please help!

  58. mk on May 25th, 2011 at 10:40 pm
  59. alex says:
    January 12, 2011 at 2:03 am

    download the file association fixer v 1.0 google if you have no virus or malware in you pc it means you have a broken file…. it should fix it……….

    Thanks alex this is what fixed my problem I used the program “fixer v 1.0”

    None of the other methods above worked but its fixed though, I’m so happy

  60. ryan67 on May 30th, 2011 at 3:47 am
  61. this is my problem but iam fixed for xp :
    1- folder option – then view
    2- take off the box of – hide protected operating ayatem files – is emty then ok
    3- open your drivers partition and you will see autorun you have to delet it from all your drivers and then restart
    4- it will done

  62. mshreef on October 26th, 2011 at 3:29 pm
  63. I had the same problem with Windows 7. Spybot Search and Destroy found malware called “Fraud.DesktopSecurity2010” and “2011” on my PC. It removed the virus and fixed the problem with opening programs.

  64. Dirk Hooper on November 26th, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    File Association Fixer v 1.0 for Windows 7 & Vista.
    Worked for me :)

  66. Mark on December 2nd, 2011 at 9:49 pm
  67. I tried running all suggested above, but I am even unable to ‘Run as Administrator’ In place of that I have ‘Open’ and ‘Open’ so I can’t even run cmd. The weird thing is I can still open programs if I open associated files. But this is a pain in the butt because obviously not all the programs I have can be opened in such a way :/

  68. Matt on December 13th, 2011 at 4:21 pm
  69. none of these options work. big waste of time.

  70. bob on December 18th, 2011 at 3:34 am
  71. this would be great, except that the error pops up when i try to open the command prompt window. when i right click on it, i do not have the option to “run as administrator”. so i can’t even run the command prompt!

  72. Lindsay on December 19th, 2011 at 4:45 pm
  73. Sorry it didn’t help you. This is how I fixed it on many different machines and from the people who followed the steps correctly it seems like it helps them as well. Sometimes the error is caused by: PEBKAC – Unfortunately it was even a bigger waste of time making a stupid post like this 😉

  74. Jared Heinrichs on December 21st, 2011 at 9:19 am
  75. My computer would not let me open the command prompt, so I went on to step two. However, when I clicked on it, it led me to nothing.

  76. Courtney on December 26th, 2011 at 12:15 am
  77. Can this be similarly done on an XP?

  78. AndoDoug on March 16th, 2012 at 2:24 pm
  79. Can i use this for my Vista 32-bit. I have problem with my Microsoft Office 2010 Pro Plus

  80. John on March 28th, 2012 at 7:39 am

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