Computer and Software Support

Exe files won't run

A virus can prevent programs and executables from running. There is a few things you can try

  • Anti-virus program - If it is already installed. Try running it in safe mode.

  • Anti-spyware program - if it is already installed. Try running it in safe mode.

If anti-virus and anti-spyware programs are not installed. Download them from another computer and try to install them in safe mode. Click here for a list of programs you can use. You will not be able to update the software but you might be able to run a scan. Let it find what it can and remove anything it finds. Reboot the computer to normal mode, and update the software. Then reboot back to safe mode and run a scan again.

If you have booted to safe mode and still cannot run programs or execute files that have the .exe extension, you will need to try to run CHKDSK /R (Click the link for instructions) After running CHKDSK /R you will need to run your anti-virus and anti-spyware programs in safe mode again.

If you cannot get CHKDSK /R to run or it doesn't resolve the issue, you may need to remove the hard drive and put it in an external hard drive enclosure. You can then connect it to another computer and run a scan on it using the anti-spyware and anti-virus software that is on that computer (Make sure the anti-spyware and anti-virus software is up to date before connected the external drive) Note: You stand a risk of infecting the second computer with the infected drive so make sure your data is backed up.

If you still cannot get rid of the virus or you got rid of the virus but the damage remains, you might have to wipe the drive and reinstall. Below is pages that you can use to try to resolve your issue. You should try the following in the order mentioned

  1. Use the Virus/Spyware Troubleshooter (it has additional steps you can try to get rid of viruses and spyware)

  2. You can go to an anti-virus website (such as Trend Micro, Norton, MacAfee, AVG or other websites) and they may have a removal tool that can get rid of the virus.

  3. You can use the Software Troubleshooter (it gives you steps you can try to fix the damage the spyware or virus has caused)

  4. You can go to a computer forum such as SmartComputing at and the members can help you with the issue

  5. If you still cannot fix the issue, you may need to reinstall your operating system.


Sometimes a virus or spyware will not allow a program to run. You may get the message that you have to be the administrator. Here is some information on this.