Windows 10: Avast-Bug blocks app launch

[German]In Windows 10, some users had the problem that certain programs suddenly stopped starting. Now the cause is known: Avast and AVG security solutions were preventing these programs from starting.


The error description

Affected users had been facing the problem for a week that Windows 10 suddenly could not find certain programs (Office, Adobe etc.). On a user describes it this way:

Windows cannot find multiple exe files?

I woke up today and found that multiple of my programs could not find their exe file. As I did research I found out possibly malware or ransomware so I just reset and reinstalled windows 10 on my personal pc. A family members PC is now however doing the same! We did not share any files in-between the couple of days that everything was fine and then wasn't. Does anyone have any idea as to why this may be happening?

In this post , a user writes that when searching for certain programs, he gets an error, that they are not found.

Windows "cannot find" error.

Every time I try and open an office 365 related file and some other random apps windows says it can't find c:\ "file location" and says make sure you typed the name correctly and try again.

Also this Microsoft Answers forum post also describes the issue. The relevant thread from June 2020 already has 9 pages (although the postings refer to various bugs). I have seen that the colleagues from Bleeping Computer have added some more references here.

Avast/AVG solutions are to blame

Microsoft also confirms the whole thing in the Windows 10 status page for version 2004 – where you write the following: 

Error when attempting to open any Microsoft Office application

We have received reports that some users are unable to open apps after installing KB4557957, especially Microsoft Office apps. Affected users might also receive an error, such as, 'Windows cannot find "c:\program files\microsoft office\root\office16\winword.exe" Make sure you typed the name correctly, and then try again.'

Affected platforms:

  • Client: Windows 10, version 2004; Windows 10, version 1909; Windows 10, version 1903
  • Server: Windows Server, version 2004; Windows Server, version 1909; Windows Server, version 1903

Resolution: This issue has been resolved by Avast. This issue only affected devices with certain versions of Avast or AVG applications and was addressed with an update to their respective products. For more information on this, please see Avast's forum post here.

There is an official support article from Microsoft about this – and Avast writes something here. The manual solution is to call the registry editor Regedit as administrator (with Run as administrator).


HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution

Then navigate to the registy key mentioned above. There you will find several subkeys which refer to different programs like IE, Edge, Office etc. The suggestion is to delete the subkey that refers to the non-functioning application. The alternative is to download and run the Avast Cleanup Online-Setup-Tool and execute it.

Similar articles:
Patchday: Windows 10-Updates (June 9, 2020)
Windows 10 Bug: USB printers not detected
Windows 10: SMBleed vulnerability in SMBv3 protocol
Windows 10 Version 2004: External display turns black
Windows 10 version 2004: Graphics issues with multi monitor and f.lux
Windows 10: Printer issues after June 2020 Updates

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1 Response to Windows 10: Avast-Bug blocks app launch

  1. dom says:

    Thank you for the post! Been affecting me also on a personal computer, not sure why recent updates have not addressed. I use Sophos for business. Use to like Avast but seems to have become way more invasive in recent years, let alone the data privacy issues.

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