After doing update, Windows starts up just fine but no programs work

Ok, this may be difficult to troubleshoot because I have very few details about the computer in question. A friend called me because I am fairly good with basic computer problems. I'm not sure of the hardware specs, but it's a 2010 or 2011 model PC with Windows 7 installed. They did a Windows Update, and let it update just fine - they did not restart or shut down at all during the update. Once the update completed however, they can't open anything up. Everytime they try opening a program, they get an error message.

Also, he mentioned that at first after the update, it wouldn't even boot up. He would get a message saying that he needs to restore to system defaults. Somehow, they got the computer to boot but it wont open any programs. How do you reset a Windows 7 computer to factory settings?

I can't provide specs or details of the error messages, as this friend lives out of state. But if anyone has any ideas for possible solutions just based on the description of the issue, it would be greatly appreciated!


Noob Whisperer
Hello and welcome to the forum.
There are a couple things you might suggest he try.
The first being a System file check
from an elevated command prompt type
sfc /scannow
and see what that produces.
Sounds a bit like an infection might have existed and the latest bunch of Windows Updates, which included the standard monthly running of the Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool, might have gotten rid of it but may have left some residual impact of its' presence.
If the error message involves something regarding needing a program associated to open an executable or shortcut, perhaps you might suggest that he use either or the EXE or LNK fix from here File Association Fixes for Windows 7 - The Winhelponline Blog you need to tell him to read the directions on that page as to how to use the fix(es).
Additionally I would recommend that he follow up by downloading, installing and updating (to the latest signatures)
Malwarebytes : Malwarebytes Anti-Malware PRO removes malware including viruses, spyware, worms and trojans, plus it protects your computer
and - Downloads
after installing and updating, reboot the computer into Safe Mode and run them both simultaneously and see if they produce anything.
As a last resort, perhaps a system restore to an earlier point in time might prove helpful.

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