Urgent help Please! Cannot load any application (.lnk or .exe application files)
I am running windows XP pro and have turned on the option for "automatically download and install windows updates".
Yesterday I noticed that some new updates were being downloaded and installed. At the end of installation I was prompted to restart windows (for the changes to take effect).
Immediately after restarting the computer, I was shown warning messages with action required from my Ad-Aware program which showed that some changes will take place to my windows registry file. I accepted for the changes to take place, as I thought to myself that these changes are clearly down to the new windows updates that have been downloaded and installed which are done from the trusted Microsoft windows update site.
Unfortunately after accepting the changes to take place, I lost all my icons on my desktop, start menu and quick launch toolbar, and these were replaced by the windows icon for (unknown file type). When I try to load any application, I get the windows message that windows cannot open the file as it needs to know which application created it. It also gives the option for me to select the web service or select the program manually from a list to open the file with.
This is the case with all the .lnk files for my applications in start menu, desktop and quick launch toolbar. Its not only that the link files don't work but also even if I try to open the application by loading the corresponding .exe files from Program Files folder, the application still doesn't load.
The only way I can load the application is to open a previously saved file of that application. For example to open MS word application, I have to open it by first opening an already saved word document file on my computer, or to open Windows Media Player I have to first open an mpeg video file for example that will automatically launch windows media player.
So basically all the .lnk and .exe files do not work. I cannot do much on the computer, as the only application that loads normally is IE. I cannot run regedit from the windows Run command or open the add/remove programs tool to uninstall some programs and re-install them to check if that will resolve the problem. I cannot even get into my system clock, right click on desktop to access display properties or load anything from control panel....etc.
I am not brilliant with computers and perhaps that is why I have not been able to resolve this problem especially that I have not experienced this problem before!
Can anybody please help me with solving this problem? I do not want to have to format and re-install windows again as this would involve a lengthy process of re-installing all my programs again. It will also mean that I have to format and re-install windows 2003 server and all programs on that operating system (As I run multiple op. systems, win XP and win. 2003 server on my pc on different partitions) because as far as I know you have to install windows 2003 on top of windows XP for both systems to function properly.
Any help with this matter would be much much appreciated. Thanks