Cannot run any programs - no error message

January 27, 2011 at 02:57:34
Specs: Windows XP, E5200 Dual Core 2GB
Hi All,
Have a HP desktop pc, XP SP3. XP launches and starts ok, but after 10 mins or so, I am no longer able to launch any programs. Shortcuts to programs on the desktop do not respond, start will not open, but shortcuts to folders will open fine. Not able to open task manager from the start bar, or by Ctrl-Alt-Delso am having trouble doing any diagnostics. Have Kaspersky 2011 running, and have also run Malware Bytes, and Spybot - nothing found. Start button does not respond so have to switch the pc off at the wall to get it to shutdown. Read about the Pretty Park virus, and have scanned for 'files32.vxd' but it was not found - I don't get the error messages normally associated with Pretty Park, so didn't think it was that anyway. If I manage to get internet radio or media player running, this will continue fine so the pc hasn't locked up altogther.
Any ideas?

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January 27, 2011 at 07:29:10
test the hard drive to make sure it is not failing.

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January 27, 2011 at 14:38:30
Your hard drive may be failing if nothing responds. You may need to get it serviced or checked immediately.

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January 28, 2011 at 03:28:20
Have run MS Scandisk at startup and it found no errors. Are there any other disk scanning utilities that are worth trying? I have run memtest86 to check for memory errors, but again no faults were found. Think I may have to try and find the recovery disks, but it seems a bit drastic. Can't understand why the media player keeps running, and I can still open folders and open "My Computer", but I can't launch any programs. I would have thought that if it was a disk fault then there would have been some error messages. Any more ideas?

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Related Solutions

January 28, 2011 at 15:22:35
If you are confident that the hard disk is working properly in your machine, then it sounds like there are file associations that may need to be repaired. It is interesting that Windows Explorer (e.g. you mentioned you can open My Computer) works on your computer, but that regular programs (.exe) will not launch.

Is it only in double-click that they don't launch? Try right-clicking the shortcut or program and clicking "Open" and see what happens.

Try going to Control Panel or any Windows Explorer folder. Open Folder Options, and find the File Types tab. Reassociate the file association for an executable file.

If that doesn't work, download and install CCleaner from -- CCleaner can safely clean your Windows registry, in case anything got goofed up over time on your computer. Clean the Registry with the Registry tab, and restart your PC.


If you really want to troubleshoot to see if things even are working, go to Start, then Run. Type in 'notepad', for instance, to see if Notepad opens, or 'mspaint' to open Paint, or any executable you know about. Then, BEFORE clicking OK in the Run box, open the Task Manager with Ctrl+Shift+Esc or Ctrl+Alt+Del. (If Task Manager doesn't even work, and you know you are an administrator or computer owner, you may need to either clean or reinstall your OS. But hopefully, Task Manager will open.)

Go to the Processes tab in Task Manager, and click OK in the Run box, now that you are watching Processes. Watch carefully if notepad.exe, or whatever task you typed pops up in that list, even if it takes a few minutes to do so, if your computer is slow.

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September 21, 2011 at 06:23:03
I have the same issue as Toomutch- (running XP SP3)- Computer will boot and run normally for 5-10 min, then will not open any programs. If I have Firefox open or am streaming audio before 5-10 min go by, these functions continue to work. I can open unlimited tabs in Firefox and use the internet, but that's about it. I can't even shutdown-must unplug power.
There are no error messages. I double click to open any program and an hourglass flashes for a sec. Right click brings up the menu but nothing is responsive. Start>Run doesn't work either and the Start menu eventually will freeze.
Interestingly, these processes that don't actually open will appear in Process Explorer / Task Mgr as if they are running. If I open the program before the "malfunction" (such as Excel or whatever) it will quit working once 5-10 min elapse; however, like I said before Firefox will continue to function so long as I open it before 5 min after boot, and I can use the internet. The computer is not running slow and this just started happening Monday morning for no reason (no changes to software/hardware, etc). Oh, the same thing happens in Safe Mode too.
I have performed various virus scans, scandisk/defrag on HDD, performed tests on RAM, cleaned the registry, cleaned all the dust out of the case and checked the fan (for overheating)...I think that's it. The only thing I can think of to do that I haven't tried is reinstall OS or Format C which is really a last resort.

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September 21, 2011 at 06:24:11
Oh yeah, computer is Dell T5400 XP Pro SP3, Xeon X5260 @3.33 GHz, 2 GB RAM

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