Spyware, Viruses, & Security forum

General discussion

(anything) is not a valid Win32 application

by mama.goose / August 27, 2009 2:58 AM PDT

I have a (friend's) computer that certainly has virus/spyware etc issues and is completely mucked up.

I tried to run CCleaner, Malwarebytes, HJT and a number of other programs to try to clean it but keep getting the error that whatever program is not a valid Win32 application. I can't Add/Remove programs. I can't start in Safe Mode (looks like it's starting but then just dumps me back out to start up) and I can't even run system restore.

Am I completely hosed or does anyone know of a solution?

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Maybe you should try......
by Marianna Schmudlach / August 27, 2009 9:16 AM PDT

. to run Scandisk:

How do I run Microsoft ScanDisk?


. Defrag

How do I run Microsoft Defrag?


To get into Safemode, you also can go via:

Start, Run, type msconfig, o.k.

When the System Configuration Utility window comes up, click the BOOT.INI tab, select SAFEBOOT, and then OK. You will get asked to reboot and when you do, it will come up in Safe Mode.

When you're done in Safe Mode, go back to msconfig and remove the checkmark from SAFEMODE.

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Thanks, but...
by mama.goose / August 27, 2009 11:52 PM PDT

Tried to run scadisk and defrag but it won't let me. Can't get to msconfig either... I was able to run my AVG and it found a few things and got rid of them but I still can't do anything else...sigh. Any other thoughts?


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Maybe the best way to find out is.........
by Marianna Schmudlach / August 27, 2009 11:56 PM PDT
In reply to: Thanks, but...

downloading HiJackthis from here:


Using HijackThis
To analyze your computer, start HijackThis and run a scan. See the Quick Start Guide for help in running a scan. HijackThis will display a list of areas on your computer that might have been changed by spyware. Do not change any settings if you are unsure of what to do. There are many popular support forums on the web that provide free technical assistance by using HijackThis log files to diagnose an infected computer.

Then post your HJT log at ONE of the following HJT forums:






Good Luck !

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Much appreciated, however
by mama.goose / August 28, 2009 12:00 AM PDT

I can't install anything. Everything I try gives me the same ...not a valid Win32 application... error. I think it's time for a good old fashioned reformatting...

Appreciate your help.

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Could be AVG removed false positive
by Donna Buenaventura / August 28, 2009 12:06 AM PDT

It seems strange that you cannot open other executable while you can open AVG after it deleted what it found as infection.

Just wondering (before you do a format), would you mind to post here AVG logs to see if it deleted a confirmed malware or if it's system files or program files that is false positive? If it's false positive, restoring what it put in the vault might help to stop that message that win32 application error.

This thread: http://forums.cnet.com/5208-6132_102-0.html?threadID=356243 shows AVG users are having similar problem in opening programs AFTER AVG deleted and then in their forum, sheur2 and agent trojans has report of false positives which they said has been fixed in yesterday's definitions.

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My Solution
by Joz3d / March 24, 2012 5:14 PM PDT

I had this problem yesterday, and after reading through a few pages and forums such as this one, that didn't have a solution that worked for me, I finally found the solution on a different site. It was a really long search for a very simple answer.

For me, the problem was that I had a file named "Program" in the root of my C:\ (system) drive. I deleted that file, and all my newly installed programs now worked, no more "not a valid win32 application" errors.

Apparently, if you have a file named "Program" in the root of your system drive, or a file named "Common" in your Program Files folder, it'll cause problems like this. Thought I'd post my solution here since this forum didn't contain it. See this Knowledge Base article at McAfee for more information.

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