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Windows cannot find 'C:\WINDOWS\system 32\ ... '


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#1 !@@**##

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Posted 27 May 2017 - 10:22 AM

Windows 10 Anniversary Edition--free upgrade from Windows 7.

 

In normal startup mode most or all executables will not run when I click them.  Instead I get this error:

 

"Windows cannot find 'C:\WINDOWS\system 32\comexp.msc'  {for example}  Make sure you typed the name correctly, and then try again."

 

This happens whether I click the shortcut or the program itself in the directory   The executable is there.

 

Also, task manager will not run; Ctl+alt+del opens blue menu screen but when you click "task manager" it runs a blue circle for a moment then nothing happens.

 

I have tried downloading various repair tools, but they create an executable that will not run in normal startup mode; these generate this message:

 

Advanced-systemcare-setup.exe {for example}  =  ShellExecuteEx failed; code 2.  The system cannot find the file specified.

 

When I enter in safe mode, I believe I can access and run everything.  I ran malwarebytes and Advanced System Care and Kaspersky virus removal tool and CCleaner registry repair--all from Safe Mode.

 

Also, in normal mode I can access my working documents and programs--Word, Excel, .pdf, etc..

 

I came across this problem when I tried to download and run a Windows 10 update.  kb3213986.  It downloaded but when I located it and tried to run it, I got this error:   "Windows cannot find windows10.0-kb3213986-x64_a1f5adacc28b56d7728c92e318d6596d9072aec4.msu.  Make sure you typed the name correctly, and then try again."

 

EDIT: 

When I try to change the administrator accounts I get system error 5. 

 

c:\net user administrator / active:yes

System error 5 has occurred

Access is denied

 

c:\net user administrator / active:no

System error 5 has occurred

Access is denied

 

 

 

What to try next.


Edited by !@@**##, 27 May 2017 - 11:03 AM.


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#2 SleepyDude

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Posted 27 May 2017 - 11:38 AM

Hi,

 

Its not god idea to create several topics related with the same problem...

 

Download RKILL https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/download/rkill/

 

See if you can run one of the 4 files provided to download. The tool will reset some critical file associations and eventually this will fix the problem of running exe's.

 

Please post the RKill log.


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#3 !@@**##

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Posted 27 May 2017 - 03:41 PM

I posted these problems together assuming they are part of the same thing. 

 

I ran RKill (in safe mode because in normal mode I get the "cannot find" message when clicking an executable).

 

When restarting in normal mode, I get this error message:      Microsoft Security Client:  An error has occurred in the program during initialization.  If this problem continues, please contact your system administrator.  Error code: 0x80070426

 

Here is the RKill log:

 

Rkill 2.8.4 by Lawrence Abrams (Grinler)
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/
Copyright 2008-2017 BleepingComputer.com
More Information about Rkill can be found at this link:
 http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/topic308364.html

Program started at: 05/27/2017 03:25:24 PM in x64 mode. (Safe Mode)
Windows Version: Windows 10 Home

Checking for Windows services to stop:

 * No malware services found to stop.

Checking for processes to terminate:

 * No malware processes found to kill.

Checking Registry for malware related settings:

 * No issues found in the Registry.

Resetting .EXE, .COM, & .BAT associations in the Windows Registry.

Performing miscellaneous checks:

 * No issues found.

Checking Windows Service Integrity:

 * Ancillary Function Driver for Winsock (AFD) is not Running.
   Startup Type set to: System

 * Base Filtering Engine (BFE) is not Running.
   Startup Type set to: Automatic

 * DHCP Client (Dhcp) is not Running.
   Startup Type set to: Automatic

 * DNS Client (Dnscache) is not Running.
   Startup Type set to: Automatic

 * COM+ Event System (EventSystem) is not Running.
   Startup Type set to: Automatic

 * Windows Firewall Authorization Driver (mpsdrv) is not Running.
   Startup Type set to: Manual

 * Windows Firewall (MpsSvc) is not Running.
   Startup Type set to: Automatic

 * NetBT (NetBT) is not Running.
   Startup Type set to: System

 * Network Store Interface Service (nsi) is not Running.
   Startup Type set to: Automatic

 * NSI Proxy Service Driver (nsiproxy) is not Running.
   Startup Type set to: System

 * NetIO Legacy TDI Support Driver (tdx) is not Running.
   Startup Type set to: System

 * NetIO Legacy TDI Support Driver (WinDefend) is not Running.
   Startup Type set to: System

 * Security Center (wscsvc) is not Running.
   Startup Type set to: Automatic (Delayed Start)

 * gagp30kx [Missing Service]
 * IEEtwCollectorService [Missing Service]
 * IoQos [Missing Service]
 * nv_agp [Missing Service]
 * TimeBroker [Missing Service]
 * uagp35 [Missing Service]
 * uliagpkx [Missing Service]
 * WcsPlugInService [Missing Service]
 * wpcfltr [Missing Service]
 * WSService [Missing Service]

 * agp440 [Missing ImagePath]

 * AJRouter => %SystemRoot%\system32\svchost.exe -k LocalServiceNetworkRestricted [Incorrect ImagePath]
 * WpnService => %systemroot%\system32\svchost.exe -k netsvcs [Incorrect ImagePath]

 * vmicrdv => %SystemRoot%\System32\icsvcext.dll [Incorrect ServiceDLL]
 * vmicvss => %SystemRoot%\System32\icsvcext.dll [Incorrect ServiceDLL]

Searching for Missing Digital Signatures:

 * No issues found.

Checking HOSTS File:

 * No issues found.

Program finished at: 05/27/2017 03:28:27 PM
Execution time: 0 hours(s), 3 minute(s), and 2 seconds(s)



#4 SleepyDude

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Posted 27 May 2017 - 03:51 PM

In normal mode the problem with running programs continues?
 
Press windows8_key.png + X and click Open Command Prompt (Admin) does it work?

Edited by SleepyDude, 27 May 2017 - 04:00 PM.

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#5 !@@**##

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Posted 27 May 2017 - 04:03 PM

Yes.  Downloaded executable files return    "ShellExecuteEx failed; code 2.  The system cannot find the file specified."

 

And when I click settings/control panel/administrative tools/component services [for example}, I get:

 

"Windows cannot find 'C:\WINDOWS\system 32\comexp.msc'  {for example}  Make sure you typed the name correctly, and then try again."



#6 !@@**##

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Posted 27 May 2017 - 08:46 PM

In normal mode, when I press      windows8_key.png + X and click Open Command Prompt (Admin)    it does not work.  I get this 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 in the Default Programs control panel."

 

In safe mode, when I press   windows8_key.png + X and click Open Command Prompt (Admin)    I get this return:

 

C:\WINDOWS\system32>


Edited by !@@**##, 27 May 2017 - 10:33 PM.


#7 smax013

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Posted 27 May 2017 - 10:42 PM

If you create another admin account and then log into that new admin account, do you have the same issues? This might help determine if it is just something to do with your current user account or if it is something more general.

#8 !@@**##

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Posted 27 May 2017 - 10:45 PM

I'm not sure how to create an administrator account.  I have this computer set up so that it bypasses the login screen; it opens to the desktop; I am also using Classic Shell.

 

I did look at the startup programs and don't see anything there that appears questionable; so I'm not clear what safe mode is doing in this instance that makes it possible to "find" and execute executables in safe mode when in normal mode you cannot. 


Edited by !@@**##, 27 May 2017 - 11:02 PM.


#9 smax013

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Posted 27 May 2017 - 11:13 PM

I'm not sure how to create an administrator account.  I have this computer set up so that it bypasses the login screen; it opens to the desktop; I am also using Classic Shell.


Not completely sure how to create new users on Windows 10 as I don't currently have it installed or actively use it. I believe it should still be done by going to the Control Panel, I am just not sure how you get to the Control Panel in Windows 10. I believe it is still from the Start Menu on the desktop (or whatever they call it now)...at least that is what I recall from my dad's computer running Windows 10.
 

I did look at the startup programs and don't see anything there that appears questionable; so I'm not clear what safe mode is doing in this instance that makes it possible to "find" and execute executables in safe mode when in normal mode you cannot.


Safe Mode traditionally will disable all non-Microsoft autoloading things. This will include non-Microsoft drivers if I recall correctly. So, it is likely some sort of third party program or driver that is somehow mucking things up. I am just wondering if it is limited to just the current user account or is global.

#10 SleepyDude

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Posted 28 May 2017 - 06:48 AM

Hi,

 

Start Windows in Safe Mode Press windows8_key.png + X and click Open Command Prompt (Admin)

and type:

net  user  administrator  /active:yes

To enable the Administrator account.

 

Restart the computer in normal mode and login using this Administrator account, if it does auto logon with your user account log-off to select the other user.


Edited by SleepyDude, 28 May 2017 - 09:01 AM.

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#11 zainmax

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Posted 28 May 2017 - 08:51 AM

Hi,

 

Start Windows in Safe Mode Press windows8_key.png + X and click Open Command Prompt (Admin)

and type:

net user administrator / active:yes

 

Sorry, but command is  this

 

net user administrator /active:yes

 

(before word "active"  is no any spaces)



#12 SleepyDude

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Posted 28 May 2017 - 09:05 AM

 

Sorry, but command is  this

 

net user administrator /active:yes

 

(before word "active"  is no any spaces)

 

 

Just corrected my post because I copy & Paste from the OP...

 

between the / and active there can't be any space.


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#13 !@@**##

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 09:25 PM

Thanks for all your help.  I have been chasing down all the error codes that were being generated and trying to pursue issues one at a time.  Especially Windows 10 update error code 0x8e5e03fa.

 

One problem, of many, was that it appeared Defender was loading incompletely by default because Avast was partly corrupted and missing and I could not load Defender to a state where I could update or turn off in either safe mode or normal.  At least this is what seemed to be happening.

 

This was also true of other executables:  "cannot find" in normal and unable to run in safe mode.  Very frustrating.

 

I found some information about clearing catroot folders under Windows/Software Distribution and was finally able to get the updates downloaded.

 

There are a lot of problems related to these failed downloads and different approaches.  What many proposed solutions fail to account for is that you cannot always just download and run a program if the program won't run in safe mode and in normal mode the computer does not find the program.

Anyway, as the final step I ran scannow from safe mode, I think, and this appeared to catch a load of registry corruptions and incomplete updates and I don't know what else.  If anyone wants more info about what I tried, let me know.

 

But I am back on the road.  Thanks again for all the help.



#14 SleepyDude

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Posted 31 May 2017 - 03:12 AM

Hi,

 

Did SFC fixed all the errors? if not try this:

 

  • Download SFCFix.exe (by Niemiro) and save it to the Desktop
  • Run SFCFix (accept the security warning and follow the instructions on the screen)
  • Upon completion, a log file SFCFix.txt should be created on your Desktop
  • Open the SFCFix.txt log and copy & paste the contents to your post

Edited by SleepyDude, 31 May 2017 - 03:12 AM.

• Please do not PM me asking for support. Post on the forums instead it will increases the chances of getting help for your problem by one of us.
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#15 Tito1337

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Posted 02 March 2018 - 04:04 PM

Hi, I had the same symptoms as OP, to be clear and to enhance future Google searches I could not start any exe or lnk. I could not launch the Task Manager, nor access Regedit ! Everytime I tried to launch any program or executable, I had the error "Windows cannot find *.exe.  Make sure you typed the name correctly, and then try again."

 
The solution was to start in safe mode, where I had no such error. In safe mode, I started an admin command prompt and ran
sfc /SCANNOW

It took a while but at the end it said it had repaired some things, and after a reboot eveything was back to normal.

 

Note that I also tried SFCFix.exe without success. Only the original sfc command did show results.

Thanks, and I hope it helps the next one






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