Question Virus preventing me from executing EXEs, and CMD is an EXE

Oct 9, 2018
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So I decided to be the smartest man on earth and downloaded some cracked software without AV and I got a virus (Surprise!).

Now I can't open any EXE files, except Steam and File explorer. The reason of steam and explorer running is probably because they are higher in the startup apps priority, but that's another thing. I tried gooogling a solution but all I could find is to run an EXE file (much help). I tried stopping the virus with:

killing it with task manager (wont launch because it's an EXE)
fixing broken keys with regedit (another exe)
checking disk with a cmd command (cmd is an exe)
reinstalling windows, and the virus somehow stayed
checked with windows defender

Every time I try to open an .exe file a window pops up and says: "You need a new app to open this file"

Tried with safe mode, same thing.

And since I just installed windows on my PC I couldn't do any restoration, so i have reasons to believe that the virus stayed somewhere on my 5 hard drives (2 TB each).
Data loss is not a big deal since I have everything on a very secure home server

I am also very sure that the virus hasn't reached my server I can only allow it to upload and download by entering a command in the terminal.

Any help would be appreciated!

Math Geek

Oct 15, 2014
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last time i saw one of those virus types, i booted to windows disk to get to command prompt. then ran system restore to move it back in time and then was able to remove it.

but if you have no restore points, then you are likely going to have to work a bit harder. try the boot rescue disk ralston suggested above and if that won't work, then you may have to blow away the windows install to start fresh. if you have a second system in the house, you can install the infected drive in it and then run AV software on the drive from there. this works for me often enough as well. since the virus is not running if hdd is in another pc, it's easier to kill it from another pc.


Jan 14, 2006
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If you just installed WIndows, then odds are you don't have to worry much about any lost data...

Kaspersky , BitDefender, and others have bootable AV scanning tools.. (Even MS has a bootable Defender media that can be downloaded/made)

Failing rescue/scanning disks, reinsert your installation media, select (within BIOS) to boot from it, delete the existing C: partition, and start over....

Hopefully, lessons fully learned on cracked junk that was 'free'....