This very same thing happened to me today, although it had nothing to do with running Flash. I did some Windows Updates (they fixed the Freak vulnerability) and there were a bunch of other important and optional updates that I installed as well. Rebooted. Logged in. No problems. My wife has her own account on this computer, so she logged me off, logged on, did a couple emails, and logged off. When I logged back on, I got all kinds of popups about bad images and parameter being incorrect, etc.
I tried to run System Restore but it wouldn't load. Rebooted to Safe Mode with Command prompt and tried to run "rstrui.exe" as outlined in online instructions. Windows couldn't find it. I ran "explorer.exe" from the command line and it brought up the GUI, and from there I ran System Restore to a restore point from yesterday, before any updates or issues.
Restoring to yesterday's files did not help.
Opened up My Computer and right-clicked on my C: Drive (windows drive) and scheduled a Chkdsk with repair (not bad sector repair, though, as that takes forever). I rebooted. Chkdsk ran and found no errors.
Had to leave for work. So that's where I'm at. But it's interesting that you're getting this today just as I am.
I'm thinking - but won't be able to check this until later - that the registry setting for opening exe files has been changed/hijacked/corrupted. Here's one way to fix it, although this won't work if you can't open regedit.exe. I've read where if you make a copy of regedit.exe, save it to your desktop, and then rename it to regedit.com, you may be able to open it. (right-click on it and open as administrator). At that point, I would follow the instructions here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2688326
Edited by Heyitsrick, 11 March 2015 - 10:25 AM.