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Fix Exe Files Open in Notepad Or Can’t Open Exe File in Windows 10

The .exe files in Windows are executable files that are used by any program to run on your computer. At times, you may face problem while trying to run an Exe file. Such as, when trying to run a .exe file it opens with Notepad. But, that is now how it should work. A .exe file does not require any third-party or separate program to be able to run on a Windows computer. This is a common problem and if you are facing a similar problem, here is how to fix exe files open with Notepad problem in Windows 10.

Note that this problem is not exclusive to Windows 10 and you can run into this even if you are running Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 PCs.

Apart from opening in Notepad, the computer can also display you the “Open with” dialogue box that allows you to choose the program to run the exe file.  Or when you try to open an exe file it may open with a completely unrelated program that is installed on your PC.

You may also see an error message like this:

Windows cannot find .exe file. Make sure you typed the name correctly. 

There are several reasons why this error can occur. You might have changed the file type settings that is .exe in this case from the Folder Option. Alternatively, it can also happen if you are infected with a virus that changed the file types for .exe files. Or it can just be a registry issue in most of the cases.

so how to fix Windows cannot find .exe file. Make sure you typed the name correctly error in Windows 10?

There are several methods to fix .exe file opening with Notepad problem in Windows. Below I have listed all the possible fixes, do let us know which one worked for you.

Fix 1: Use Command Prompt

The easiest way to fix unable to open .exe file problem in Windows is to use the command prompt. All you have to do is run a command using command prompt window, and you are good to go. Here is how to do it.

  1. Open the command prompt. Right-click on Start and select “Command Prompt (Admin)“. Or press Windows Key  + R, type Cmd and hit enter.

  2. When the command prompt window opens, type the following command and hit enter.

assoc .exe=exefile

Now close the Command Prompt window and try to run the .exe file with the error. This should fix the unable to open .exe file problem on your computer.

Fix 2: Use Registry Editor

You can also fix the unable to open .exe file issue by tweaking the registry editor. Here is how to do it.

Press Windows Key + R, type cmd and hit enter to open Command prompt.

In the command prompt window, type the following command and hit enter:


Next, type regedit and hit enter. It will open the Registry editor.

From the registry editor, expand HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT folder.

Next, find .exe key and select it. In the right-side pane, change value of Default key to exefile.

Next, navigate to to following path:


In the right-side pane, change value of default key to “%1″ %*. Refer below image.

Now close the registry editor and restart your PC. Once the PC is up, try to run the .exe file and see if the problem is resolved.

Fix 3: Microsoft Fix it Tool

Microsoft did acknowledge this problem and released a quick fix tool for this problem. All you have to do is download and run Microsoft Fix it tool and it will fix .exe opening with Notepad problem automatically.

Just make sure you run the tool after downloading it and do a quick restart in case you don’t see the problem being resolved.

Update: The tool is not availabel anymore. Instead try the script recommeneded by Askvg. Download, extract and run the script to fix this problem.

Fix 4: Restore Your PC

If nothing seems working, you can try to restore your PC to an earlier point in time. If your PC has a restore point created before the problem started, then you can easily go back to the point where the PC was working all fine with the help of Restore point in Windows 10.


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