Fix: What To Do if Removing a Virus Blocks Executable (.EXE) Files From Opening

I have recently observed that after removing certain fake anti-spyware viruses (such as “Windows Security Center” or “Anti Virus 2010″), all executable (.exe) files will no longer open.  No matter what file you try to open – iTunes, Firefox, or even Malwarebytes – they will not open because they are all .exe files.

To fix this problem, I came across a process that fixes the registry keys that have been changed due to this virus.

The Problem

When attempting to open any executable file, you see the image shown below.  It is a notification asking you to choose what program you would like to open the file with, which means Windows does not understand how to open .exe files.

The Solution

Disclaimer: Before you start this guide, please keep in mind that this is an advanced procedure and you could potentially end up doing more harm than good by following this guide.  If you are not comfortable with the procedures mentioned in this guide, please call your computer’s manufacturer for support or bring it to an authorized PC technician.  We can take no responsibility for damage done to your system by following this guide.

Step 1: Open the Run dialog box by going to Start -> Run or pressing WIN + R.  Then open the command prompt by typing “command” (instead of typing “cmd” because “cmd” links to an .exe file which will not open).  “Command” links to a .com file which is not affected by the virus.

Step 2: Once you have opened the Command Prompt, type “regedit” and hit enter.

If you can’t open regedit (which is certainly possible because it is an executable file itself), try typing the following commands, one at a time, and press enter after each one.

cd \

cd \windows

copy regedit.exe


This makes a copy of regedit in the form of a .com file so it can be opened.

Step 3: As a precaution you should back up your registry.  To do this, go to File->Export to save a backup file.  You should save this backup to a USB flash drive or other type of portable media just in case you can’t access your hard drive.

Leave the Registry Editor open after you have made a backup because you may need it in the next step.

Step 4: You will now need to run a special registry file that will re-establish the file associations for executable files.  This file is specially tailored for your operating system, so make sure you use the correct file.  You will need to right click these files and select Save As to download them to your computer.

After downloading the correct file for your operating system, you need to try opening it to add those values to the registry.

a) You can first try double clicking the file (or right clicking it and selecting Merge).  If this works you can skip to Step 5.

b) If a) didn’t work, go back to the Registry Editor which you opened in Step 2 and go to File -> Import.  Navigate to the .reg file you downloaded and select it.

c) If neither of those worked, check out the final section of this guide for more help.  Windows XP users can check out this guide which offers the registry fix in a .COM file format.

Step 5: If you were able to successfully install the registry fix for your operating system, you should be good to go now.  Restart your computer and try opening any executable files to see if it worked.

If you encounter problems after changing your registry, you can restore the backup you made in Step 3.

If you still have problems

I’ve dealt with a few computers that have been afflicted with this problem, and I have discovered that there is a tremendous amount of variability that can occur.  If this guide wasn’t able to help you, I recommend checking out the following guides which offer more solutions:

If you’re still stuck after that, post in the comments below and provide as much information as possible.

Remember, if in doubt: call your computer’s manufacturer for support or contact an authorized PC technician.  We can take no responsibility for damage done to your system by following this guide.

Google Chrome Tip: How to Give Streaming Videos a Movie Theater Experience

Do you like online streaming video sites?  Me too.  I could probably spend all day watching videos of baby puppies, the hilarious auto-tuned news, or that cat that couldn’t quite jump over the baby fence.

If you want to enjoy these videos and tune out the extra stuff, the Turn Off the Lights extension for the Google Chrome web browser is worth checking out.

Turn Off the Lights is a a simple extension that gives you the option to virtually “turn out the lights” on webpages with media such as streaming video or images.  When you’re viewing certain sites with media (such as YouTube, Vimeo, Picasa, or Google Image Search), you can click the light bulb icon in the URL bar to dim everything except for the media you intended to watch.

This is also one of the best videos I've ever seen on Vimeo. You should check it out.

When in an image gallery like Google Image Search, Turn Out the Lights will dim the entire page except for the image thumbnails.

Turn Out the Lights also includes a cute easter egg.  Press T while Turn Out the Lights is enabled to turn on fake theater mode complete with red curtains and an exit sign.

Want more tips like this?  Check out the rest of our guides about Google Chrome.

9 Great Games for Your Android Phone

Creative Commons License photo credit: secretlondon123

While the Android Market isn’t nearly as diverse as Apple’s app store yet, it’s growing quickly and has plenty to offer in the way of games.  I have compiled a list of some of the games that I’ve enjoyed playing.

All of the games I mention in this guide are either completely free or have a free version available, so you have nothing to lose by trying them out!

I’ve also included the QR Code for each game so you can download it quickly. To use the QR code, scan it with a barcode scanning application (such as the aptly named Barcode Scanner, ShopSavvy, etc.) to be taken directly to the the game’s Market page. For the paid games, I used the free version’s QR Code.


Price: Free

Scan to download NetHack

If you are unfamiliar with NetHack, I suggest downloading the desktop version first to familiarize yourself with how it works. The Roguelike genre is a niche market with its ASCII graphics and unforgiving gameplay, and NetHack is definitely not for everyone.

In the game you play as a variety of character classes, some familiar (Knight, Rogue), and some not so familiar (Archaeologist, Tourist), in an attempt to reach the bottom of a randomly generated dungeon. Roguelikes are known for the ruthless difficulty, and NetHack is no exception. Some people have been playing NetHack for over a decade and still haven’t managed to beat it.

For fans of the genre, you can now YASD on the go! NetHack for Android is a faithful port (which is no surprise, since it’s compiled from the desktop version’s source), and plays almost exactly like its desktop counterpart. Since NetHack makes extensive use of the keyboard, you’ll need a device with a hardware keyboard if you want to play it. It’s still not as good as a full keyboard, but it’s functional. Better touch screen support is supposedly coming, but as of this writing it isn’t available.

Gem Miner

Price: £1.35, about $2.10

Scan to download Gem Miner

Gem Miner is hands down my favorite game that’s currently available for Android. On paper it sounds silly (dig to collect gems to buy better equipment to dig deeper to collect more expensive gems to buy even better equipment, and so on), but once you actually start playing it quickly sucks you in.

Gem Miner nails the concept of “just one more level” perfectly. The developer has continued to expand the paid version, so it’s definitely worth the $2 to pick it up.


Kamyran’s Eye

Price: €1.00, about $1.49

Scan to download Kamyran's Eye

This game also falls under the Roguelike genre. Unlike NetHack, it features pretty decent touch screen controls. It’s still best to use a keyboard if possible, but if your device doesn’t have one you can at least still play it.

Also unlike NetHack, Kamyran’s Eye uses a tileset for graphics, so if pure ASCII graphics turn you off you’re in luck.



Price: €2.99, about $4.50

Scan to download Labyrinth

Everyone has played those little games with the silver ball where you have to roll it around a maze into a hole, and now you can do it on your phone. Labyrinth uses the accelerometer in your phone to move the ball and has pretty decent physics.

The free version offers ten levels of varying difficulty as well as a level creator, but unfortunately the full paid version (with over 1000 levels) has been “temporarily unavailable” for months.

UPDATE 5-5-10: The full version is once again available for download through the Android Marketplace.



Price: Free

Scan to download ThrottleCopter

ThrottleCopter is the pinnacle of pick-up-and-play gaming when you need to burn a couple of minutes. This game uses a familiar concept: you navigate a helicopter through a barrier-filled cave by pressing the screen to gain altitude and releasing to lose altitude.

If you also install ScoreNinja, you will be able to submit your scores to an online leaderboard, so you can stare in awe at someone who managed to break 100,000 points.


Fire Helicopter

Price: Free

Scan to download Fire Helicopter

This game comes from the same developer as Abduction! and Gem Miner. It isn’t quite finished yet, but has received several updates recently.

Right now Fire Helicopter’s gameplay is fairly simple: you control a helicopter via the accelerometer and try to put out forest fires (Smokey the Bear would be proud). Compared to how awesome Abduction! and Gem Miner are though, it’s worth keeping an eye on this one to see where it goes.


Retro Defense

Price: $4.99

Scan to download Retro Defense

The Android Market is packed with Tower Defense games, so if you’re a fan of the genre you have your pick of terrific games. Retro Defense is my personal favorite.

Retro Defense has top notch controls and makes the great decision of doing away with a timer for the next wave, instead letting you trigger it at your leisure. This keeps you from cursing when you suddenly have a tough time making accurate touches and keep accidentally placing towers in the wrong spot.

Other than that, Retro Defense offers fairly standard Tower Defense gameplay. It’s a bit more expensive than most games on the Market, so I highly recommend trying out the free version before making the decision to shell out $5.

Flight Director

Price: $1.99

Scan to download Flight Director

Flight Director has gameplay which is quite common in the mobile games market. You’re given a view of an airport with several runways, and you have to direct planes that come in from offscreen to a safe landing without crashing into other planes.

Flight Director is simple and addictive, perfect for short spurts of time. What sets Flight Director apart from similar games on the Android Market is its above average controls (much better than competitors I’ve played) and the novelty factor of using views of actual airports via Google Earth.



Price: £1.35, about $2.10

Scan to download Abduction!

One of the most popular games on the Market, Abduction! has you (a cow), bouncing off platforms and collecting your falling animal friends, trying to reach a UFO at the top. The concept is silly but the gameplay is superb, and once again simplicity reigns supreme.

The full version of Abduction! has a campaign of sorts and a series of challenges, and also lets you switch out your cow for various other animals. I recommend buying it to support the developer, but the free version has quite a bit to offer as well.


Have an Android game you enjoy playing? Tell us about it in the comments!

How to Find Out Information About Processes in the Windows Task Manager

processquicklink-thumb The Windows Task Manager is a system utility included with all versions of Windows that allows you to view details about the applications that are running on your PC.  When looking at the Task Manager, you’ll probably see a long list of ambiguously named processes – so how do you know what those processes are?

ProcessQuickLink is a free utility for Windows that adds information about your processes directly to the Windows Task Manager.  After installing ProcessQuickLink, open the Task Manger by pressing CTRL + SHIFT + ESC (this keystroke combination will take you directly to the Processes tab).  You will now see a green icon next to each entry which you can click to view detailed information about that process.


Clicking the process information button will take you directly to the process database.  This website includes general data about the process and can even tell you if the process is harmful and should be removed.


Note: advertises services to scan your computer to improve its performance.  If you think your computer may be infected, I highly recommend running a scan using free software like Microsoft Security Essentials in lieu of their scanning software.


ProcessQuickLink is a great way to get insight on the applications that are running behind-the-scenes on your PC and is a free download for all versions of Windows.

How To: Quickly Open Accidentally Closed Tabs in Firefox


Firefox only:  Tabbed browsing in Firefox is incredibly useful and can improve your entire browsing experience; recovering an accidentally closed tab, however, isn’t particularly intuitive.

Firefox does keep a record of your recently closed tabs (which are available under History –> Recently Closed Tabs), but this guide will show you how to recover a closed tab with a single click using a handy toolbar button.

Head over to Firefox Add-ons page and download the Undo Closed Tabs Button add-on.  This feature will be enabled as soon as you restart your browser.

Once you’ve restarted your browser, the Undo Closed Tabs add-on is activated but still needs to be added to your toolbar.  Select View –> Toolbars –> Customize… as shown below.


Scroll through the list until you find the Undo Closed Tab button, and drag it anywhere you like on your toolbar.


Now whenever you close a tab, you can easily click the Undo Closed Tab button on your toolbar to reopen it.  This button also contains a dropdown list of all recently closed tabs (and removes it from the obscure location under the History menu).


Note:  If you’re an avid keyboard shortcut user, Firefox’s built-in tab restoration can be triggered by pressing CTRL + SHIFT + T.

WordPress Fix: How to Properly Align Images in RSS Feeds

This image is on the right here, but in the RSS feed it would appear without formatting.

One of the only complaints I’ve ever had about WordPress is that images didn’t maintain alignment in our RSS feedRSS feeds are used to offer subscriptions to visitors and can be used with applications like Google Reader.

When adding an image to an article in WordPress, you have the option to align it on the left/center/right side of the screen – but when viewed in the RSS feed the images appear with no formatting.  A little searching revealed why images weren’t aligning in the RSS feed: WordPress developers removed the deprecated align attribute from image tags.

Removing the align attribute was the right thing to do to stay compliant with web standards, but it had the unfortunate side effect of breaking alignment in RSS feeds (the alignment for the web version of an article works because it is defined by in a CSS file).

The Fix

Fixing the alignment is as simple as installing and activating the Align RSS Images plugin for WordPress.  After activating the Align RSS Images plugin, images will automatically appear with the correct format in your RSS feed.

Align RSS Images works by finding any images in a post and applying the correct formatting to them in the RSS feed.  This is done dynamically when the RSS feed is generated, so no code gets added to your original post.  Best of all: the feed still remains compliant with W3C feed standards.

Note: After activating Align RSS Images, it may take a few hours for the changes to appear in your RSS feed.

Check out a before and after comparison below!

Before, no image alignment.
After, now properly aligned!

[Align RSS Images – WordPress Plugins]

How To: Easily Resize Images in Windows

Windows only:  If you’re like me, you’ve needed to resize batches of images and wished there was an easy way to do so without launching a full image editor.  Although Paint.NET and Picasa offer quick image editing, neither of them add resizing functionality to your operating system.

Image Resizer Powertoy Clone provides the solution, adding a highly useful “Resize Pictures” option when you right click any image in your operating system.  You may recognize this application from the Windows XP PowerToys pack – and you are correct, it’s basically the same application rewritten in C++.

Unlike the original PowerToy which only supported Windows XP 32-bit, this “cloned” version supports both the 32- and 64-bit version of of Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7.

Using the application is incredibly simple:  Right click any image (or images) you’d like to resize, select Resize Pictures, choose your desired resolution, and the resized images will appear as copies in your current working directory.  You can also specify custom resolutions and the application can edit the source images directly without making copies.

Image Resizer Powertoy Clone is free and open source for Windows XP, Vista, and 7.  [Download]

Get A Visual On Your Hard Drive with Disk Space Fan

As your computer gets older, chances are that your hard drive will be filled with many unused and unnecessary files.  If you’re starting to run out of space on your hard drive, it can often times be the result of old “junk” files piling up.  A great way to get your computer back into shape is to delete some of those files (especially the large ones).

Disk Space Fan is a free program available for Windows that scans your storage devices and shows a visual representation of your files.

When you first open Disk Space Fan, you are asked to select the storage device you want Disk Space Fan to analyze.

Disk Space Fan scans your drive and will generate a graphic to represent file and folder sizes, as shown below.

Not only can Disk Space Fan scan and analyze a complete drive, but you can set it to only scan a specific folder and display the corresponding graphic.

You can right-click on a section of the fan visual to display an options menu.

Disk Space Fan is available as a free download.

Essential WordPress Plugins Part 2: Administration

In the second part of our Essential WordPress Plugins series we will be taking a look at some plugins that are designed to make managing your WordPress site easier.

WP-Database backup

The WP-Database Backup plugin automates the database backup process and puts your mind to ease about the safety of your blog. WP-Database Backup can perform a manual backup, allowing you to save it to the server, download it to your computer, or email the backup to you.  WP-Database Backup also allows to schedule hourly, daily, or weekly backups and have them automatically emailed to you.


WP DB Optimizer

As your WordPress blog continues to grow, your database can become cluttered and will slow down your blog.  The WP-DB Optimizer plugin is a simple plugin that allows you to optimize your database from within the WordPress Dashboard.  This is the same form of optimization that you can perform from within another database management software such as phpMyAdmin.



A combination of the above plugins, WP-DBManager increases the amount of control you have on your database from the WordPress Dashboard and provides features similar to those found in phpMyAdmin.  WP-DBManager is a powerful database manager that allows you to add, drop, or edit tables.  WP-DBManager also can optimize, backup, or restore your database, and has the ability to schedule backups and database optimization.  If you’re looking for total database management, then I suggest you give WP-DBManager a try.



Many hosts may limit your PHP memory usage to keep your site from affecting others within a shared hosting environment.  As you install more WordPress plugins and add more functionality to your site, the amount of consumed PHP memory increases.  WP-Memory-Usage is a WordPress plugin that allows you to see how much memory your WordPress installation consumes.  WP-Memory-Usage simply adds a single bar graph to your WordPress Dashboard that give your important information regarding PHP and the amount of memory being used.  If you notice memory usage is high, disable a WordPress plugin or two and check the memory usage.


Ozh’ Admin Drop Down Menu

The default WordPress installation includes the WordPress menu vertically stacked on the left side of the screen.  Clicking menu options and waiting for the page to reload to display the sub-menus can be quite frustrating.  Ozh’ Admin Drop Down Menu for WordPress changes the way WordPress menus work by displaying them horizontally across the top of the screen which allows for a wider WordPress Dashboard.  The Ozh’ Admin Drop Down Menu also features mouse-over drop downs so there is no more reloading to display sub-menu items, saving unnecessary clicks and page loads.


Maintenance Mode

When performing work on your WordPress blog, it may be necessary to have some downtime.  The Maintenance Mode plugin works by blocking users from visiting your site when downtime is scheduled.  Administrators and other WordPress users will still have the ability to login to the Dashboard.  When in Maintenance Mode, visitors are presented with a message saying the site is down for maintenance.  Logged in users are able to access every part of the site while in maintenance mode.


Admin Menu Editor

If you’ve installed a few WordPress plugins on your site, you may notice the addition of new menu buttons.  Depending on the WordPress plugin, a new menu item may be added to the main menu or an item of a sub-menu.  As more plugins are installed, your WordPress menu may become cluttered with menu buttons that you never use.  The Admin Menu Editor plugin allows you to edit your WordPress menus with a convenient drag-and-drop interface.  You can also create custom menus to access any part of the WordPress Dashboard.  If you mess up or simply don’t like your changes, Admin Menu Editor allows you to return to the default menu configuration.



WP-Task-Manager is a plugin that allows you to create and manage a virtual to-do list.  This plugin creates a task manager within the WordPress Dashboard, allowing you to create and assign tasks that can be completed by your contributors.  WP-Task-Manager includes feature such as due dates, commenting, and the ability to control who can modify tasks.


Check back later as we continue our Essential WordPress Plugins series when we look at plugins for tracking your website’s statistics.

What WordPress plugins do you use to administer your WordPress site?  Let us know by commenting below.

Great Deal: Buy Office 2007 Now, Get Free Upgrade to Office 2010 in June

Microsoft Office 2010 is scheduled to release in June, but there’s no need to hold off from purchasing Office 2007 in the meantime.

Microsoft recently announced free upgrades to Office 2010 if you purchase and activate an Office 2007 product between March 5, 2010 and September 30, 2010.

Several qualifying Office 2007 products are listed below, and you can check out the complete list at the end of this post.

  • Office Home and Student 2007
  • Office Small Business 2007
  • Office Professional 2007
  • Office Publisher 2007

Microsoft Office 2010 is looking very good so far, and if you want to try it out before it officially releases you can download and install the free Office 2010 beta.

For more information check out the official Office 2010 upgrade page and FAQ.

Eligible Upgrades to Office 2010