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Windows cannot find c:\windows\system32\notepad.exe

Windows cannot find c:\windows\system32\notepad.exe

I have a Windows 7 PC, and since a couple of days ago if I try to open notepad i get the following error:

Asked by: Guest | Views: 122
Total answers/comments: 4
Guest [Entry]

"Are you sure the path in the error message you typed here is exactly as it is in the error message you see? If the file exists, as you found when you searched, it shouldn't throw this error message.

What have you installed or modified in the last couple days? Can you go back to a System Restore point prior to those changes?"
Guest [Entry]

"I have encountered a similar issues if my %PATH% environment variable is too long. Check your environment variables and see if there are any old uninstalled programs still sitting in your PATH variable and remove them.

I don't know why it happens but if PATH is too long windows will fail at turning %windir% in to C:\Windows so when it attemps to open %windir%\notepad.exe it can't find the exe."
Guest [Entry]

"I have had this problem since upgrading from Textpad 5 to Textpad 6, which has an option to 'Replace Notepad'. I could not run notepad by double-clicking, or launching from a command prompt from any of its many locations.

Further to the above post, I found the reg key

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image
File Execution Options\Notepad.exe

had a ""Debugger"" reg_sz value which pointed to the non-existent Textpad 5. So the debugger value overrides the requested image file with an alternate image file of your choice. Nice, if a little dangerous because any Windows image file can be silently overridden.

So manually correcting the path to Textpad worked for me.

Hope this helps."
Guest [Entry]

"The correct notepad is in C:\Windows\notepad.exe. That's the one that's started on my computer.

Try to launch it directly, by running ""C:\Windows\notepad.exe"" and see if it starts.

If it starts correctly, then something is wrong with the path.
If it doesn't start, then something is wrong with the permissions on notepad.exe."