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Discussion Starter #1
.exe files give message "The archive is either in unknown format or damaged"

"The archive is either in unknown format or damaged"

I've been getting this message anytime I try to open any ".exe" file. Every other file on my computer opens fine except for the ".exe" files. I can't open RealPlayer, but I can open a RealPlayer video (which automatically opens RealPlayer) and it works fine. I have a video clip saved as an HTM File, which opens my web browser, but I can't manually open Firefox or Internet Explorer by themselves. I'm sure this has to be a virus, but none of my virus programs can be opened or run. Does anyone know of a way to fix this?

I tried downloading Spybot from the web and just replacing the .exe file, but I can't even run the installer program. So, does that mean something's wrong with the way the computer reads .exe files and not the actual files themselves? Also, obviously I can't run HiJackThis either. I'd be happy with pretty much any solution that doesn't involve wiping my hard drive. Thanks in advance for any advice you can give me.

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I originally posted this in the HJT forum, but because I can't run HJT, I was told I've been "declared clean" and should post here instead.

I tried running the various anti-virus programs listed on the HJT forums directly from their homepages, which worked, but none of them apparently have found the correct virus, or it's not a virus that's causing my problem since I'm still getting the above error message.
 

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I have already used the Trend Micro virus scanner, and I can't run ANY programs directly, even in safe mode. To me, it seems like my computer just doesn't seem to remember how to process a .exe file, and that just needs to be re-established. I don't know enough about the inner workings of an OS to know how to do that, or even if I really know what I'm saying right now.
 

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Okay, I rebooted in safe mode and logged on as the administrator (instead of my normal profile like I did last time). I ran four separate virus scanners and all of them came up with zero infections. Then, just out of curiosity, I restarted and logged on as a different user and POOF! Everything was normal. So, I changed users back to my normal profile and everything is inaccessible again. So, we at least narrowed it down to something in my profile itself, right? Or is that still not enough to go on? Could some profile setting be causing this problem?
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Well, if it's just one profile that's not working correctly, would a Repair Install change that? I mean, if the other profiles work fine, then it's not necessarily the system that's a problem, but something in the profile itself, right?
 

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Awesome. That seems to have done the trick, at least so far. At first my web browser wasn't working for whatever reason, so I deleted all of the files in the folder except for the bookmarks, and now it works.

So, was this a virus, or did something else happen here? I'd like to know how to prevent this from ever happening again. Either way, thanks for all the help!
 

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mwltsc said:
So, was this a virus, or did something else happen here? I'd like to know how to prevent this from ever happening again.
I'm not sure. These things happen. If it was a virus, you might want to thoroughly scan your system now that you can download programs again. Read through some of the posts on the HijackThis forum. They are always giving advice on the best ways to clean your system.
 
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