How to Fix "Application Not Found" on Windows 7

By James T Wood

Microsoft is notorious for providing error messages that are not helpful for the end user. Luckily, "Application not Found" is often an exception to that rule. It doesn't necessarily mean that an application isn't on your computer -- just that the system registry points to a location where there's no application. Like a library catalog pointing you to a shelf without the correct book, the "Application not Found" error can be caused by either a missing application or a broken registry link.

System Restore

Press "Start," type "System Restore" and press "Enter." System Restore returns your computer to the state it was on a previous date. It doesn't affect any files you've created -- only applications and updates that may have been installed or uninstalled.

Click "Next," choose the most recent restore point and click "Next."

Confirm you want to restore your computer. Wait for the computer to finish and restart.

Check to see if the problem is resolved. If it isn't, you can restore to an earlier time.

Default Programs

Click "Start," type "Default Programs" and press "Enter."

Click "Set Your Default Programs."

Find the application in the list that is associated with the "Application not Found" error. Click to select it.

Click "Set This Program as Default" to set that application to open all file types that it is able to. Click "OK."

File Types

Click "Start," type "Default Programs" and press "Enter."

Click "Associate a File Type or Protocol with a Specific Program."

Choose the file type associated with the "Application not Found" error from the list. Click on it.

Click the "Change Program" button in the upper right.

Choose the application you want from the list or browse to its location on your computer. Click "OK" when you're done.

Fix the Registry

Click "Start," type "Notepad" and press "Enter." If Notepad won't open via the Start menu, press Windows-Key and "R" to launch the Run Command window. Type "notepad" and press "Enter." If the "Application not Found" error affects the Windows utility Rundll32.exe file on your computer -- usually due to a virus -- all shortcuts will cease to function, including the shortcut to Notepad.

Type the following into Notepad: Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00 [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\exefile\shell\open\command] @=”\”%1\” %*”

Click "File," "Save As," Choose "All Files" under Save as Type and type "Fix.reg" in the File Name box.

Choose your desktop -- or another file location you will easily remember -- as the place to save and click "Save."

Double-click on the new "Fix.reg" file to run it. Accept the changes to your computer's registry. This fix changes the value of the selected registry key to allow Rundll32.exe to function normally and connect shortcuts to applications.

Restart your computer.


Use the Control Panel to uninstall programs rather than simply deleting them so that the registry entries are removed as well as the application itself. Scan your computer for malware and spyware if this fix does not work or if the problem recurs.