Semi-corrupt Windows 7 profile

Recently had this odd error that I’ve never seen in all my 30+ years of computers.

Started out that the user could not view their pictures on the desktop. I thought maybe  bad picture. Copied the picture to the desktop and same problem. Copied it to a newly created directory off the root oft he hard drive. Same issue.

Windows 7 Error: “Windows cannot access the specified device, path or file. You may not have the appropriate permissions to access them.”

Went into other profiles on this computer and accessed the same pictures, previewed them just fine. Points to user profile corruption.

Interesting side note: when I was trying to figure out why the one profile was exhibiting this behavior while the others weren’t, I noticed that if you clicked on the Windows Folder (or My Computer) icons, the title bar of the error message showed explorer.exe. Lowercase. When I used the Windows Key+E shortcut, the title bar showed explorer.EXE. Uppercase for the extension. Looking into the registry for explorer highjacks always showed the explorer.exe (lowercase) spelling. Not a virus or malware on the system. I could navigate the directory structure using cmd prompt and in applications that have a browse button (which use explorer.exe), so I was puzzled as to why the applications could browse but I couldn’t. Must be some permissions difference from the user account and the permissions the applications run under.

Users profile was loading so it wasn’t a temporary profile issue. Verified with the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList and didn’t find any .bak profiles.

Followed the standard troubleshooting tips listed here as well as others on the ‘Net.

  • Method 1:
  • Follow the steps these steps and check if the issue persists:
  • a.       Click on Start and in the search bar type cmd.exe
  • b.      Right click on cmd.exe and click on Run as Administrator
  • c.       In the command prompt type the following command
  • net localgroup “Administrators” “NT Authority\Local Service” /add
  • d.      Press enter and restart the computer.
  • Method 2:
  • If the above step fails temporarily disable security software and check.
  • Important: Antivirus software can help protect your computer against viruses and other security threats. In most cases, you should not disable your antivirus software. If you do have to temporarily disable it to install other software, you should re-enable it as soon as you’re done. If you are connected to the Internet or a network during the time your antivirus software is disabled, your computer is vulnerable to attacks.
  • Method 3:
  • If the above step fails create new user account and check follow the steps in the link:
  • Method 4:
  • If above step fails Enable the build-in Administrator account follow the steps in the link:

None of these helped. After a couple of days scouring the Interwebs I happened on this page with the solution from Luke.

  • My solution works in about 2 minutes, its a very odd error and has only happend to 3 work stations over the past 3 years, this solution does not require creating another account if local administrator is active and allows access back to the corrupted user’s documents ect.
  • log in as the local administrator or domain administrator
  • if local admin is not activated refer to and after completing those steps log onto the local administrator account.
  • Locate the user’s files eg. C:\Users\[Username]\
  • if you cant see AppData push Alt to see the toolbar at the top of the window, select Tools>Folder options go to the view tab and select “Show hidden files, folders, and drives” click okay.
  • navigate to AppData\Local
  • Select all (Ctrl+a)
  • Delete
  • *Dont delete credentials (at most it will remove their desktop background)*
  • This will release the error.

Short answer is that something in the users appdata\local folder was wrong. I haven’t figured out what went wrong yet. Had changed out the AV solution a week prior to the crash. Have been cleaning up useless installed program (you know who you are). Took this network over recently.

After deleting the contents of appdata\local, still logged in as administrator, switched users and logged in as the user and viola, it all worked again. Even Outlook rebuilt it’s profile and repopulated the accounts.

Thank you Luke!

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How to fix Windows Batch file association on Server 2008

How to fix Windows Batch file association on Server 2008.

Somehow my .bat file association got set to “Windows Batch File” instead of “Unknown Application”. This resulted in the batch file opening a command prompt window upon double-clicking the icon. Running the batch file from the command line worked fine, just the double-click action was going sideways.
After looking into multiple (3+ days) searches on the Interwebs with no success, I came across one tidbit of information from a Lockergnome forum.–ftopict514456.html

Also look for the key;
and delete the key named

Following the thread and seeing that all my assoc and ftype commands were correct, Dave Patrick references a single registry entry that lead me to the answer. According to the thread, users deleting this key said it works for them. This may still be true, but they were working on XP and Vista.

Being that this was Windows Server 2008R2, I didn’t want to take a scorched earth policy to this problem, potentially cause more problems and ultimately not know if a simpler fix would suffice. So I decided to investigate that key further. By comparing that registry key from a working Server 2008 install against the non-working Server 2008 install, I figured out what minor changes make the batch file process the double-click action properly.

Correct Server entries
Registry location on Server 2008

Correct OpenWithList key

Correct OpenWithProgids

Wrong Server follows:
Wrong OpenWithList

Wrong OpenWithProgids

Extra UserChoice key

The extra UserChoice key with Progid: Applications\cmd.exe that was overriding the default handling of batch file execution upon double-click actions.

Solution to my issue was to delete the two extra items in OpenWithList (a and MRUList), and delete the entire UserChoice key from under the .bat key. Removing the UserChoice key would most likely correct the issue at hand, but just to ensure completeness, I removed the extra references in the OpenWithList key.

Note: The icon displayed in Windows Explorer looked like the C:\ prompt. Another clue that it wasn’t right. The correct icon should look like two gears, one larger than the other. After deletion of the above keys, the default icon was also reset to the two gears.


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Help stop IE toolbar installations

This IE option checkbox will help stop toolbar installation in the IE browser. Note that it won’t prevent the installation of the annoying toolbar software, only prevent it’s linking to your browser. Preventing installation is accomplished thru user education or GPO manipulation.

Enable third-party browser extensions

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