The official home of It's Geek to Me on the web!

Issue #494: January 8-14, 2017

Q: A few minutes after I turn my computer on and intermittently during use, a black box comes up on my screen followed by a message – Windows cannot find ‘C:/Program files (x86)/user extensions/client.exe’. Make sure you typed the name correctly, and then try again. If I tap Ok it disappears. Now and then just the black box appears and its heck to get it to go away! I can minimize it into the task bar and eventually it disappears. This only happens when I am online. I can’t do anything while it’s on the screen. Very irritating. This started about two years ago. If anyone can fix it, you can!

– Lindy P.
Fort Walton Beach, Florida

A: Well, thank-you for the vote of confidence, Lindy. But, hmm. You’re so confident I can help that you waited two years to ask for assistance? Well, I think you’ve suffered long enough. Let’s see if the reality of my help meets up with your expectations.

What you have is a computer with a partially healed malware infection. I imagine that a little over 2 years ago your PC was infected with malware – in this case a Potentially Unwanted Program (PUP) called User Extensions. My research shows this guy usually is installed by adware (i.e. – someone clicked on an illicit pop-up ad) or by installing a bogus browser helper called Rocket Tab. Whichever scenario happened, when it occurred, the file Client.exe was installed at the location you cited in your question, and the installer configured Windows to launch that file during system startup and also at some other, unknown periodic intervals, so that Client.exe can do whatever mischief it was designed to do. At some point shortly afterward, your machine’s anti-malware software sniffed out this little beasty, and probably quarantined the file by moving it into a protected directory. This effectively disarmed the malware, saving you from any further malicious activity from it. Unfortunately, the scanner was not smart enough to figure out how the virus payload was getting launched on your machine. From that point forward – which, per your description, began “about two years ago,” – Windows began to fail every time it tried to find and launch that file, and it does what Windows does whenever it can’t find a file it needs; that is, it generates those irritating messages.

This happens more often than you’d think with malware removal tools. From the typical user’s perspective, it looks like a Windows malfunction. I promise, despite the fact that it is Windows creating the error, the fault does not lie with Windows. After all, when a program is launched, there is really no practical way for Windows to know whether the process being launched is desirable or harmful. All it knows is that it was commanded to start a given file, and in this case, that file is not where Windows was told it would be.

The problem remains of exactly how to fix it. Well, the short answer is that you need to stop Windows from trying to automatically launch Client.exe, but if you knew how to do that, you probably wouldn’t have written to me in the first place. The longer answer is that there are multiple ways that Windows might automatically launch something, and my column is way too small for me to go into the kind of detail that would be required to effect the actual fix. So, I’ve done for you what I usually do in this situation, and I’ve gone ahead and located some instructions online that should tell you everything you need to know. Visit and follow the instructions to find and remove Client.exe from the list of auto-started programs. And please, once this is fixed, if you have any other system problems, don’t wait 2 years before writing in!

2 Responses to “Issue #494: January 8-14, 2017”

  • lindyp says:

    Thank you so much for addressing this problem even though I waited 2 years to ask you. My virus protection – VIPRE internet security 2016 blocks this website. I’ve followed all their direction to unblock, but cannot find a place to allow this website. What next?

    • The Geek says:

      I’m unfamiliar with VIPRE, but surely you are in control. There is probably a “white-list” of sites that you approve regardless of whether VIPRE trusts them or not. See if you can locate it and add this site to it.


Leave a Reply

June 2024

Search the site


Copyright Notice

All content on this site is Copyright © 2007-2024 by Jeff Werner – All rights reserved.