My problem started when I read an article on the web that Microsoft uses a "/prefetch:1" command to load Windows Media Player faster than normal. This is usually added to the shortcuts found on your taskbar and desktop. I thought this is a great idea. I should have this "/prefetch:1" command on all my important shortcuts.
I logged into my limited account and I tested it on the programs I used the most and in fact it worked wonderful, that is until I used it on a particular program called 2xExplorer. This program is like Windows Explorer on steroids. I've used this great program for a couple of years now and never had a problem. I added the "/prefetch:1" command to my 2xExplorer shortcut and when I launched the program it worked fine.
Soon after I rebooted my machine, I logged back into my limited account and now none of my programs would automatically start (i.e. my CA Firewall/Anti-virus/Anti-Spyware Suite, my Spyware Doctor program, etc.) and instead I would get 2xExplorer windows opened for each of the programs that were supposed to start automatically. The 2xExplorer window would show the open folder where that particular executable file was to be found. This means that each time I would log into my limited account, I would get about 15 2xExplorer windows opened from all the programs that are supposed to be initialized at the beginning.
I also tried to launch the programs by double-clicking on the executable files manually, but I would always get another 2xExplorer window instead. Then I discovered that none of my other basic Windows programs would open either, not even my Wordpad, not my Notepad, not my Calculator, not my Windows Media Player, etc. The only files that seem to work are text files (*.txt), and 'XML' files, the .txt files open with Notepad and the XML files open with IE; but if I were to launch Notepad or IE by themselves, they do not work.
What is most unusual is that this problem is isolated ONLY to my limited user account
. I don't have this problem when I log into my Administrator account or even my Guest account
I then took out the "/prefetch:1" from all my shortcuts, rebooted the machine but it did not work. I proceeded to do a full uninstall of 2xEplorer to see if this would fix the problem, the 15 or so 2xExplorer windows disappeared, but none of my programs that are supposed to start automatically would launch still. When I tried to launch them manually, I would instead get the "Open With... Choose the program you want to use to open this file:" window; but these are executable files, as in .EXE files. Windows is supposed to know this, but somehow it doesn't.
I checked the Registered File Types in the File Types in Folder Options and all my file extensions appear to be in order, and I also made certain that the .EXE extension is NOT on the list.
I then proceeded to check my current Registry file association entries for .EXE:
[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\exefile\shellex\PropertySheetHan dlers\ShimLayer Property Page]
As you can see, all my .EXE values are there, so I don't think it's a file association problem, because if it was, my Administrator account and even my Guest account would experience the same problem, and both of those accounts are working just fine.
I also scanned my entire C: drive for any viruses, spyware, etc. I used CA anti-virus/anti-spyware, PC Tools Spyware Doctor and I also scanned my entire Registry using PC Tools Registry Mechanic... nothing... no viruses, no spyware, no errors on my Registry found. By the way, I have all these running at all times for the past two years.
As a last resort, I hit the 'System Restore' button, I went back to the time before I made those "/prefetch:1" adjustments to my shortcuts, but that did not fix the problem either.
I've been searching the web for two days now, and I have not been able to find any solutions related to this issue. The only solutions I find are for missing EXE file associations.
I bought this computer from Alienware two years ago and my configurations as as follows:
Intel Pentium 4 CPU 3.73 GHz
Windows XP Professional
Version 5.1 Build 2600 Service Pack 2
Physical Memory: 2,096,620 KB
Phoenix Award BIOS v.6.00PG
Abit MOBO AA8XE (Intel 925XE-ICH6R)
Radeon X850 Series Video Adapter with 256MB RAM
2 Hard Drives 500GB each.
Plextor CD-R Premium and
NEC DVD-RW ND-3250A
I am out of ideas, and I don't know what else to do
, but I don't want to delete my limited user account and start over again. That is the account I use the most, I have a lot of custom settings there, and my favorite newsgroup reader, Agent, has its database on this account.
Thank you very much in advance for any assistance you can provide.