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How to make Vista unusable with a couple of clicks

Tags: Software Vista
Here the other day I received an exe file, which I believed was a self-unpacking kind of file, make with either WinZip or WinRAR. Instead of starting the huge EXE file, I thought I should open it with WinRAR instead... Read on to how that almost rendered my Vista unusable...
As you probably know, you can open any file with almost any program, if you right-click on the file, and choose Open With ...;

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That brings up a dialog box where you will see the so-called registered applications  for the selected filetype and if the filetype doesn't have specified applications registered, you will see other applications, like this;

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From the list above, you choose the program to open the selected file with. And now to the culprit!!

Note the little grayed out   "Always use the selected program to open this kind of file"!!

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I my hasty afternoon, I choose WinRAR as the file to open EXE files with, and click OK. I could instantly see that WinRAR didn't start, with some obscure message about missing handlers. As I looked at the error message, I also noticed that all my application-icons on the desktop turned into WinRAR icons!!

"Ok, this can be fixed by de-assosiation of the exe-class in the registry" I thought, and tried to start RegEdit - ha ha, which also is an EXE file!

It turned out that I couldn't start anything  on my machine! Luckilly for me, I had an instance of Internet Explorer up and running, so I could search. I searched for "I associated exe with a program", and the first hit on Google was the FileExt-site. That site contained a link to Fixing a Broken EXE Association  at the same site. It turns out to be quite a bit that went wrong during my erroneous exe-assosiation!! At the bottom of that page, I found another link to a Vista-fix, with the title Registry fixes for Vista file extensions.

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By downloading the reg-file packed into a zip-file, copying that to another computer (remember since my WinZip or WinRAR wouldn't start ...), I could unpack it and copy it back to my machine and inject the registry content into my registry. And pheeew .... that worked! I had to do a restart though, in order to have Vista fix all the icons of my applications!

Thanks for the internet and Google, and thanks to the File-ext and WinHelpOnline sites for staging this information!

PS! Still a bit stunned that Vista actually let me do this kind of association without telling me about the danger ... What do you think?


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