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Windows Explorer "Application Not Found"


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#1 TwixOps

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Posted 12 April 2018 - 09:50 PM

Last night, I got a virus from a download that turned out to be shady.  This dumped a whole bunch of adware and some malware onto my computer and additionally installed a program called "Better Explorer." It appears that in the past, this was a legitimate Windows Explorer replacement but has since ceased development and had their domain lapse.  I immediately went to get rid of all the junk and uninstalled/deleted all of the new junk, including Better Explorer.  
 
 

Immediately after doing so, I found myself unable to use Windows Explorer, If I attempt to navigate to any folder beyond the drive header (ex. C:\),  an error pops up reading [Address] Application not found. 

Not%20Found.png?dl=0

Some quick googling brought me to this  Toms Hardware thread where someone had similar issues and was told that 

 
Better Explorer is not a theme, it's a replacement file manager for Windows Explorer. You should always make sure you know what you are installing and what it does. 
 
When you installed BE, it replaced Windows Explorer as the default file manager by changing some registry entries.
 
When you uninstalled BE, those registry changes were not reversed, so Windows is still looking for BE. Hence the error "Application not found".
 

 

 

 
So far, in attempting to get Windows Explorer working again, I have tried 
1. Running SFC /scannow
2. Running Avast and MBAM
3. Re-downloading (from a source that is not ostensibly malware.)  The program works and I can navigate through my file structure, but Win Explorer still will not work, even after uninstalling it.
4. Deleting Better Explorer with Revo Uninstaller including removing registry entries made by it.  
5. Running Windows Safety Scanner just in case MBAM missed any malware.  
 
What I cannot do.  
Well, here's the bad news, I had system restore off because I was running a full backup on a cold drive... which crapped out last month.  No system restore to save my butt. 
 
I assume that I need to find whatever registry entries point to Explorer.exe as the default way to access the file tree, but I am unfamiliar with the registry and don't really want to just go changing entries willy nilly.  

Edited by TwixOps, 12 April 2018 - 09:51 PM.


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#2 RokTV

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Posted 12 April 2018 - 10:54 PM

Type cmd into search, run as admin, type (or copy and paste) into the command prompt

 

reg query "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon" /v shell

 

press enter

 

is yours the same as

 

C:\WINDOWS\system32>reg query "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon" /v shell
 
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon
    shell    REG_SZ    explorer.exe
 
 
C:\WINDOWS\system32>

Edited by RokTV, 12 April 2018 - 10:55 PM.


#3 RokTV

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Posted 12 April 2018 - 11:23 PM

If yours isn't the same use

 

reg add "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon" /v Shell /d explorer.exe

 

overwrite? y

 

you might need to restart the computer for the change to take effect.



#4 TwixOps

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Posted 12 April 2018 - 11:35 PM

 

Type cmd into search, run as admin, type (or copy and paste) into the command prompt

 

reg query "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon" /v shell

 

press enter

 

is yours the same as

 

C:\WINDOWS\system32>reg query "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon" /v shell
 
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon
    shell    REG_SZ    explorer.exe
 
 
C:\WINDOWS\system32>

 

Hello,  

 

When I input that string, I got back the same response as your exampler, regardless of whether "Better Explorer is installed.  



#5 RokTV

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Posted 12 April 2018 - 11:41 PM

Hello,

 

Check

 

reg query "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon" /v shell



#6 TwixOps

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Posted 12 April 2018 - 11:59 PM

Hello,

 

Check

 

reg query "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon" /v shell

Hello, I got the following response.  

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon
    shell    REG_SZ    explorer.exe


#7 RokTV

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 12:04 AM

ok, check that the explorer.exe file is where it should be

 

type in cd\windows

 

enter

 

type in dir explorer.exe

 

enter

 

the output should include

 explorer.exe


#8 RokTV

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 12:25 AM

If explorer.exe is missing from \Windows

 

type in

 

copy WinSxS\amd64_microsoft-windows-explorer_31bf3856ad364e35_10.0.14393.1532_none_c74916bbd46e68b5\explorer.exe

 

enter

 

overwrite? y

 

whether explorer.exe was missing or not, type in

 

regsvr32 shell32

 

enter


Edited by RokTV, 13 April 2018 - 12:25 AM.


#9 TwixOps

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 12:54 AM

Hello, 

The address did contain explorer.exe, here is the response it gave.  


C:\Windows>dir explorer.exe
 Volume in drive C has no label.
 Volume Serial Number is 467E-A5E6

 Directory of C:\Windows

02/10/2018  02:09 AM         3,904,296 explorer.exe
               1 File(s)      3,904,296 bytes
               0 Dir(s)  11,567,239,168 bytes free

I tried putting in regsvr32 shell32, and there was a popup saying "Succeeded," but even after a restart, the issue still persists.  

 

A new discovery: I have learned that when I open Windows Explorer through any program by attempting to load or save a file and clicking "Browse," the file explorer works.  I.e. if I open Notepad and click "Open," I can browse through the full file tree.  From there, I can make it to any file, and by right clicking and hitting "Open in new window."  Hitting "Open" instead simply gives the same "Application not found" error.  

 

Thank you for the help you are trying to provide, it is much appreciated.  



#10 RokTV

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 01:01 AM

ok,

 

check

reg query HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Applications\explorer.exe

 

mine is

 

 

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Applications\explorer.exe
    LongProcessLifetime    REG_SZ
    NoOpenWith    REG_SZ
    TaskbarGroupIcon    REG_EXPAND_SZ    %SystemRoot%\System32\imageres.dll,-4


#11 RokTV

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 01:04 AM

reg query HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Applications\explorer.exe

 

same output as with the previous one



#12 TwixOps

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 01:09 AM

reg query HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Applications\explorer.exe

 

same output as with the previous one

Mine was identical to yours on both.  



#13 RokTV

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 01:14 AM

I will install Better Explorer, and monitor what changes it makes



#14 RokTV

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 01:45 AM

Installing and uninstalling BE hasn't created the same problem, and the installation log doesn't indicate anything suspicious.



#15 RokTV

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 01:54 AM

download and install slim ccleaner https://www.ccleaner.com/ccleaner/download/slim don't install any extras if they are offered

 

open ccleaner, tools, startup, context menu, disable any that aren't microsoft, one of those entries might be causing the problem. try to identify what one, something that hasn't been installed for long

 

also click on uninstall, see if there are any programs you don't want that were installed on the same date as better explorer


Edited by RokTV, 13 April 2018 - 02:14 AM.





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