Most applications are opening in Vim


Active Member
Starting this morning, my Windows 7 is opening most applications in Vim (Vim is my editor of choice).
The following is an itemized list of this bizarre behavior.

From Start menu, most applications display the Vim icon (screen shot below).
From Start menu, most applications open in Vim:
NotePad (screen shot below)
cmd.exe (I have not found a way to open command line)
Internet Explorer
Chrome browser​
From Start menu, these applications open normally:
control panel​
Control Panel opens, and menus within Control Panel navigate normally.
From Control Panel, most applications open in Vim:
Edit environment variables for your account
Edit the system environment variables
View event logs​
From Control Panel, some applications work normally:
Make a file type always open in a specific program
Set your default programs​
Explorer opens normally
right click Start > Open Windows Explorer​
From Explorer, executable files display the Vim icon and open in Vim (screen shot below):
C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe
C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe
C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Accessories​
From Explorer, application files open normally:
.html files open in Chrome browser (file association)
.jpg files open in Windows Photo Viewer (file association)
.jpg file > right click > Open with > Paint​
Screen shot capture works normally

I rebooted twice, but it didn't change anything.
How Can I trouble shoot this and get my applications to open normally again?

Start menu shows Vim icons for most applications:

Most applications open in Vim, here is Notepad opened in Vim:

From Explorer, executable files like chrome.exe open in Vim:

Thank you.

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Windows Forum Admin
Staff member
Premium Supporter
Microsoft MVP
Hi Wolfv,
have you considered a system restore back to an earlier time before the above issue?


Active Member
Good idea kemical, unfortunately "System Protection" opens in Vim, so I can't restore the system.
from Control Panel > System and Security > System > System Protection (SystemPropertiesProtection.exe opens in Vim)​

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Noob Whisperer
Perhaps you would have better luck launching System Restore from outside the Operating System.
If you have the installation media or a System Recovery Disc, boot from that and use the repair, advanced, troubleshooting area. I believe you will find an option to perform a system restore from within there.

Additionally you might give something like this a try
That should fix your .exe issues and from there it should just be a matter of sorting out your other file association issues.


Active Member
Thanks for the link Trouble.
I ran and rebooted. But executables files still open in Vim.

My PC does not have a CD. Two years ago I installed Window 7 via iso on USB.
So I can not boot from installation media.
And I don't have System Recovery.

Any other suggestions?


Noob Whisperer
How about this link
see if that helps.
You may want to uninstall the underlying problem program at least temporarily and then attempt the fixes.

I'm kinda surprised that you even have a desktop as the windows shell explorer is a .exe file.


Active Member
Thanks for the link Trouble.
I ran the "Fix it for me" and rebooted.
But still the applications open in Vim.

My desktop works fine.
On boot up, about 10 windows of Vim open, one for each application that normally opens at boot up.

Is there anything else I can try?

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