Cannot open programs

Suddenly, all software programs on my computer (Windows XP) have become “.lnk” files and I am unable to open them.

What caused this? and how do I overcome the problem?

Please help!


Hi Dennis,

What has happened is your computer has forgotten how to deal with these files, in computer languate they have “lost their associations”. This problem is usually caused by an errant software package messing with the settings. Some security programs like Lavasoft Adaware block the files with the same result.

Fixing it is awkward and might require the services of a technician. There is a simple fix you can try before getting on the phone.

Open the computer in Safe Mode by pressing the F5 key as the computer starts. You should press the key just after the black and white screen but before the “starting Windows screen” appears. You might have to do this a few times before you time it right.

Once in safe mode, click “Start” then “Run” and type “CMD”. A command box appears. In the command box type the following:


The System Restore function will start and you can take the system back to the point before this started.

If this doesn’t work, Doug Knox has some tools to fix it on his website, you can download them from his web pag. Be warned that these are not for the inexperienced. If you don’t understand what you are doing, you need to consult an experienced technician.

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