How To Fix “How do you want to open this file?” Popup on Windows 10 Startup

Whenever I start up my Windows 10 computer, I saw a popup screen that asking how do you want to open this file and a list of installed apps to choose. I wasn’t sure what is the reason for this message. This might be the reason for a Windows upgrade or may a virus, malware or something? I have installed an antivirus, but It didn’t detect any problem. I see this whenever I start up or restart my computer.


See also: Fix Windows 10 startup blank screen

Fix “How do you want to open this file” startup Popup

I searched the internet to find the solution to this problem; someone says check your Startup folder.  \For sure anything that runs at the time of login will be in Windows Startup items, which make sense. But, I checked nothing was there. I managed to find out the solution on my own to stop popping out this screen every time when Windows start up. This is how fixed this error, let’s see how to disable popping up how do you want to open this file prompt on Windows 10 startup.


Locate this file

  1. Once you see this screen on Windows 10 startup, select the Notepad app from the list of applications, as you can see below in the screenshot.
    NOTE: If you can’t see Notepad in the list then scroll down to view more apps or select “Look for another app on this PC” option. In the next dialog, we will give the path to the application manually. So, go to “C:\Windows” and choose “notepad.exe” file here.
  2. Startup file will open in Notepad, and you will see the file contains text something like that
    Invalid number of parameters
    Invalid number of parameters
    ERROR: Invalid syntax.
    Default option is not allowed more than '2' time(s).
    Type "SETX /?" for usage.
    Invalid number of parameters
  3. Now, In the notepad click the File menu and then select “Save As” option.
  4. Doing that you will let you know the file location that is trying to open itself on startup and ask you to choose an application. As you can see in the save as window, the path is “C:\users” and the file name is “M” which is suspicious to me.

Disable the file from Windows startup

We already location the file and now its time to disable it from Windows 10 startup. To locate the startup items in Windows 10, you can use Task Manager as well.

  1. Press Ctrl+Alt+Del keys combination from the keyboard and select Task Manager to open it. Tip: Another way to open it is just right-click on Taskbar and select Task manager.
  2. On the Task Manager window, click the “Startup” tab. Here, you can see all the apps and files that Windows run at startup. Find the file with the name “M” as I found this file name in step-4 above. This name might be different in your case so find accordingly.
  3. Right-click on that file and select “Disable” option from the menu. To confirm the path of this file, just right-click and choose “Open file location” option. This will open the location in File Explorer, which is the same location that we already checked in step-4 above while searching file.
  4. Now, this file will not run on startup and also will not prompt you “How do you want to open this file?” screen. Reboot your computer and check it.

If you found this guide helpful and solved your problem, share your experience below in comments, Windows version like Windows 8 or 10, File name and location you saw, anything else that might be helpful for others.

Once, you disable this file from Windows Startup. You can delete it from the path where you found it. This file doesn’t seem harmful to me. But I am not sure about this at the moment.


16 comments… add one
trickyways1 March 6, 2018, 2:25 pm

sure you can disable it but how do we figure out wth it is?!

trickyways1 March 6, 2018, 2:26 pm

sure we can disaable it but how do we figure outwhat it is and how it gott there ?!

TrickyWays March 6, 2018, 4:47 pm

What I found is, the file name is same as the first name of my user account in Windows that I removed. I think Windows created this file when you add a new user account then delete an account. Anyway, this is my guess and I am not 100% sure about that.

What is your file name in the users folder?

Dre March 20, 2018, 9:20 pm

This did the trick for me. Thanks.

rick May 8, 2018, 7:06 pm

I reinstalled my office 2016 and clicked the box the first time and it stopped coming back!

Tejas May 13, 2018, 6:59 am

This actually worked for me. Partly. I found out the file which was trying to open itself by this method. But that was not available in the startup tab. So i just located the file and deleted it. Problem solved. Thanks so much!

SuzYQ May 18, 2018, 4:50 pm

This had been annoying me since installing the major Windows 10 Feature upgrade. It worked!! Thank you

al May 25, 2018, 2:05 am

it did the job……….thanks

Sedat June 11, 2018, 5:13 am

I had the same issue with me Windows 10 and found this article which will be useful to me. I have directly entered Task Manager and clicked on the Startup tab and found an unmeasured effective process called as [My Name]. I disabled it and found the way through the file where it used to get started from and deleted the unknown file also. However I still am in doubt of whether it would be some kind of virus or not.

RobJ June 18, 2018, 5:57 pm

I have been so annoyed with this problem for months. The solution listed here helped me to fix it in like 3 minutes! Thank you SO much! Finally, that aggravation is gone!!

Edward July 26, 2018, 6:32 am

My file was in users under the local disk file (C:). Thanks some much, I just found the file and deleted it, this tutorial helped a lot. It is much appreciated! 😀

tazmo8448 August 14, 2018, 4:26 pm

I have the same issue but nothing shows in ‘Startup’ to delete.

Sam Moss August 14, 2018, 5:36 pm

I’ve tried all the ways suggested but still have that pop up in the strangest places where a ‘file’ isn’t needed..On Startup… clicking on My Computer .. or opening a usb or what ever. I’ve tried to open it with Notepad (as suggested) to see what it is…. but it reports ‘unable to open file location’ also was directed to Local Machine Policies but there doesn’t seem to be a sub-heading for Explorer in Windows there….
have tried “Do not show the ‘new application installed’ notification” and set it to “Enabled” in Group Policy settings all to no avail.

Qumber Rizvi August 14, 2018, 11:24 pm

Or you could simply open it in a browser, and the path would appear in the address bar. This error usually surfaces when an application enabled in Startup uses your full name in the path after “/user/”. The space after your first name is misinterpreted by Registry as the end of the command/path. Hence Windows tries to start “…/user/Firstname”. Voila, You now know what’s causing the error. Now follow the rest of the steps mentioned in this post to resolve the issue. Good article.

Sam Moss August 18, 2018, 11:17 pm

I fixed the issue of that (How do you want to open this app?) by going to Programs (in my OS drive C:\) and taking ownership. I got a small utility from TenForums that allows you to take ‘ownership’ of any program thru a command prompt application that puts itself in your context menu.
When I clicked on ‘Open With This’ app they all pointed to C:\ Program……went there and scrolled down to Windows Apps and changed them from SYSTEM or TrustedInstaller to Administrators with the TenForums Utility.
Bingo No More Pop-Ups.

Sam Moss September 2, 2018, 6:05 pm

Nope that didn’t work either (the Take Ownership thing) it did for one or two startups then went back to “How do you want to open this file?” on Startup.
When selecting an App all that is reported is
C:\ Programs
nothing else to identify what is the cause.

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