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"The handle is invalid" ...what's that mean

By Dysanvu ยท 33 replies
Jul 21, 2005
  1. Hello, my problem is every time I open up any instalation programs it says something like this:

    C:\documents and settings\Dsyanvu\desktop\(program name eg.Powerdvd6.exe)

    The handle is invalid.

    This only started a week ago, but I don't know what I did. Please help.
    Thanks in advance. :blush:

    Solutions: (admin note)

    #1: Scan your PC with Malwarebytes and restarts to see if this fixes the problem.
    Download and run here:

    #2: Reinstall Windows 10 Without Deleting Your Software, Files or Settings
  2. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,452

    It seems that you need to update the codecs for your DVD player environment.
    Is your problem with self-burned DVDs?
  3. Dysanvu

    Dysanvu TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 16

    No, I just used the DVD player program as an example of what doesn't work. Most of the installers don't work.
  4. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,419   +77

    Installers don't work?

    (a) 'invalid handle' in programmers terms means an attempt to open a file with low-level read capability failed - *why not* is the source of your troubles.

    If installers don't work, have you got administer rights?

    Is the place your installs try to use (typically c:\windows\temp) now set read-only?

    Can you save a file to c:\ and c:\windows\temp using say notepad

    and by the way, it's hard for us to help if you fail to fill in your details - we have to just guess you are using Windows Home for instance....
  5. Dysanvu

    Dysanvu TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 16

    Alright... OK I do have administer rights. Yes, I can save a file to windows\temp and it is set to read-only. heh yeah I do WinXP but pro.
  6. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,419   +77

    more possibilities

    I assume when you say c:\windows\temp is read only, you mean is not read-only!

    More suggestions - the quickest thing is perform a system restore back to when all was ok.

    Failing that, your installer may be corrupt, try downloading a new copy of the installer (trawl Microsoft download site for 'Windows installer')

    look at this reference where a built-in windows XP system driver verifier is described - for the expert only. http://techrepublic.com.com/5100-10877_11-5714091.html?tag=nl.e064 (you may have to register with tech republic to view it, but registry is free)

    Oh, and you have done all the usual virus checks etc of course? see this site.
  7. Dysanvu

    Dysanvu TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 16

    Thanks for your help again but it still wont work. I tried setting the temp file to not read only and i also tried the system restore. Also i ran the a virus check already. I downloaded the windows installer........but it wont work, "the handle is invalid" agian. It wont even run the verifier cuse it says the "the handle is invalid" too! =P anymore suggestions? thansk.
  8. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,452

    no need to repeat the previous poster's message all the time! (in other words, don't use the "Quote" button).
    Click on the symbol "Hand on Paper" at the very right under a message, to reply to a thread.
  9. Dysanvu

    Dysanvu TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 16

    :eek: i use the quote so then i dont have to go back to see what you wrote =P
  10. Dysanvu

    Dysanvu TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 16

    It turns out that all .exe files say "the handle is not invalid"
    does anyone know how to fix this?
  11. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,634

    Is it still limited to just "installers"? Now you say EVERY *.exe file doesn't work? Could be file association problem. I posted this in another thread. Try it:

    Create a new file called "fixexe.reg". Use notepad if you can but just make sure it is only "fixexe.reg" and not "fixexe.reg.txt".
    Edit this file if you can and place everything between the dotted lines in it.

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00





    @="\"%1\" %*"


    @="\"%1\" %*"



    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\exefile\shellex\PropertySheetHan dlers]

    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\exefile\shellex\PropertySheetHan dlers\PifProps]

    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\exefile\shellex\PropertySheetHan dlers\{B41DB860-8EE4-11D2-9906-E49FADC173CA}]

    Save this file. Then double-click it. It should ask to import to registry. Say yes.
    Now refresh My Computer and check your files again.

    good luck.
  12. Dysanvu

    Dysanvu TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 16

    aww thanks for the suggestion but it didnt help. It diddnt do anything even though it said it added all the information on to registry.Again, tahnsk
  13. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,452

    Check that .reg file.
    The forum-quirk strikes again, it splits long texts!

    PropertySheetHan dlers should be
    PropertySheetHandlers without a space in it.
  14. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,634

    haha, so it did put a space. Odd.

    Here it is as a txt attachment. Have to rename to .REG before using.

    Hope that was it! We'll see.

    Attached Files:

  15. Dysanvu

    Dysanvu TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 16

    :dead: It still didnt work.
  16. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,634

    Are you sure it is EVERY exe file? Can you go to Start-Run and just type "regedit.exe" and "calc.exe". Do those work? Try to narraw it down. If it is global EXEs everywhere then I expect associations which the reg should have fixed. But if it's limited to some EXEs and not others, that's a different story.

    Read this thread, he has a similar problem:

    Can you get into Regedit and check the values listed in the REG file to make sure they stuck? If a virus or other malware did this then it could be changing the values right back. Especially this one:

    @="\"%1\" %*"

    That must be exact. Often a virus will change it to something like "badie.exe %1" or some such.

    I also have XP Pro, so I went through my own registry and copied ALL references for my EXE extension and posted into a larger reg file. This file follows through to deeper level classes.
    Use it at your own risk. If you System Restore is ON, if it doesn't work you can use Last Known Good. Or backup your registry first.
    Again, rename to REG from TXT to use. Go ahead and view the file first and compare to the older one. There are more classIDs in this one.

    Attached Files:

  17. urbandragon

    urbandragon TS Rookie Posts: 229

    i assume you have access to another computer as you are posting here... you need to download an antivirus program that can be ran from your floppy or cdrom drive that is independant from the o/s.

    here is a link to download Fprot for dos... have a look..

    you may have to do some configuring to get it to work. but what you are describing sounds like a virus... i know back about 5 years ago there was the navidad virus that did the same thing... disabled all exe from being able to run
  18. Dysanvu

    Dysanvu TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 16

    so...it isnt all .exe programs but most. i can run some things like regedit.
    @="\"%1\" %*" mine is different it is "%1" %* when i trie dto change it to "\"%1\" %*" the msg(when i checked) said to check the path. Also i tried the nex fixexe.reg file but it stil didnt work. is there anything eles that could be wrong other than the registry?
  19. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,634

    "%1" %* is fine. Just as long as it doesn't point to a file.

    If some EXE files work and others don't, can you narrow down to where/what files these are? The guy in the other thread I posted has the same issue but it's all in ONE folder. What is your situation?

    Be sure to check for viruses, if you can run Internet Explorer, go to housecall.trendmicro.com and run a virus scan.

    Right-click a bad file and choose Properties. Look at the Compatibility tab and see what's going on in there. The files in question, are they YOUR files? As in, you, in your user account, created them?

    Also like the guy in the other thread, your files may have been destroyed by "something". You may have to just get rid of them. Because it could be the very code in the file that is corrupt, a header changed, something. That may not be fixable.
  20. Dysanvu

    Dysanvu TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 16

    The files that dont work are almost all types of installation programs.Theyare everywhere where i can put them and theyl wont work. i found that Media player 10 setup works though..so other files like like my snes emulater znesw.exe wont work.i used nortons anti-virus 2003 to check for viruses and i didnt find.I dont understand what u mean by the compatibillity part and yeah it is on my account.
  21. urbandragon

    urbandragon TS Rookie Posts: 229

    if you can get to IE/firefox.. any web browser i would recommend using an online free virus scan instead of your AV on your box.. if it is a virus chances are it has deleted your NAV DEF files so it will scan the system but will not find anything.
  22. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,634

    True true. Use IE and do an online scan from housecall.trendmicro.com or www.bitdefender.com or even from Symantec security check or Panda Antivirus has one as well. At least get a 2nd opinion.

    If they are installers, try download the Windows Installer. From this link (should start the download automatically): http://www.softwarepatch.com/windows/winstallxpdownload.html

    Or from MS themselves (have to use Windows verify thing to get it): http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/...FC-5F56-4A38-B838-DE776FD4138C&displaylang=en

    This normally applies just to MSI installer files but you never know.

    The compatibility tab (if you have it) is a way for XP to run applications in "compatibility mode". So XP runs the program as though it was Windows 98 or 95. If you right-click on a bad file and choose Properties, you should have a tab called "Compatibility". If you don't have that tab don't worry about it. If you DO have that tab, make sure the options are not set to run as Windows 98 or some such. Basically just make sure NOTHING is checked in there.

    See if you can find online and download the VERY SAME program as one that is corrupt. Does the freshly downloaded one work? Or is it instantly bad as well?
  23. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,634

    There are a couple ways to "reinstall" Windows XP.

    A "Repair Install" will go through and reload your system files and and generally "refresh" your system. This often fixes strange errors like this.

    A Full install with a format will erase everything and give you a clean install of Windows. It will guarantee that your problems are gone, but you'll be starting from scratch loading all your programs again. And you will lose data unless you back it up somewhere first.

    There is another way, where you load Windows "on top" of itself. That is, don't format, but install to the same directory. This gives you a new Windows and registry, with all your own stuff still there. But your HDD will still be filled with "left over" files and folders from your programs, which you'll still have to reload anyway because you have a new registry.

    Best option if you don't want to fiddle with it anymore, is to reload with a format. You have to back up data first.
    You can try a repair install, and that might work, but it is still recommended to back up your data anyway.

    good luck
  24. Dysanvu

    Dysanvu TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 16

    So., itried the online scan the bitde....somehting but the other one swouldnt work becuse i didnt have acitveX or something. I found 12 viruses and i scanned 2 times the seciond time i ddint find any. Even thought the viruses are gone, the problem remains, so i dont think its the viruses. I ran fixexe-1.reg again but it didnt do anyhting. So how do u repair install? Can u give me the instructions please? Thanks
  25. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,634

    The viruses may be gone, deleted, now but that doesn't mean any changes they made to your system will be undone.

    To do a repair install it's pretty easy. You just need two things:

    1) Your "real" XP CD. Not like a recovery disc from Dell or something, but an actual, silver, XP CD.

    2) Your 25-digit Product Key. Located on a sticker somewhere on your case perhaps. It will ask for this code and if you don't have one, you're screwed.

    Next, if at all you can back up data, do so. Burn a disc if you can or copy the data somewhere. At least for your most important files.

    Next, be sure you do NOT have file encryption on. That is, that you are "hiding" your files from other users. To check, go to C:\Documents and Settings\ and look for your profile folder. RIGHT-click this folder and choose Properties. Click the "Sharing" tab. And make sure "Make this folder private" is UNchecked.
    This is because if you make your folder private and then Repair Install, you may not be able to access the data in there. Well, you CAN, but that is additional steps.

    It may be a good idea to turn off File Compressing too if it's on. Right-click the C: drive and there should be an option right there for using file compression.

    Once everything is in order, pop in your XP CD and restart the machine. Boot off the CD and into XP setup. Now I don't know exactly what the screens are off the top of my head.
    The first screen will be like an option to setup Windows, and and option to use Recovery Console. You want to choose the option to load XP.
    Then on one of the next screens you'll have an option to do Repair Install. It is actually quite easy to spot. The other option I think is to "Press ESC to load a fresh copy..."
    Anyway, the Repair is easy to see. Do that.

    Put in your key when it asks. Create a user name if it asks. This will "look" like a normal install of XP, but don't worry, your data should be fine. Just as long as you never told XP to "format" or "erase" anything. And you used the Repair option in Setup. You should be good to go. Most of your programs should still work as well. If not, remove and reload them.

    Hope it works!
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