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Cannot run ANY .exe or antivirus software on Vista

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For the past few weeks I haven't been able to run any .exe files at all on my system, to include the numerous quick fix patches everyone seems to recommend. I've perused these forums and others and all seem to include download a .exe patch to fix the problem of... not being able to open .exe. Naturally, the solutions download but still don't open.

I think it may be linked to Windows Live OneCare being shut down and all efforts to restart it failing. I am able to open programs and attempt to exact the solutions listed online while running in Safe Mode, but most fail, after finally opening, by saying "this cannot be performed in safe mode."

I just checked a similar thread in which the user was told to download Fixswen, which initiated her recovery, but it didn't work for me - I just got the "not responding" notice, just like when I try to open any program.

Related issues: nothing attempted to run in Start will open - it will just freeze the whole start menu until I reboot. Any file I try to open from any window will freeze the window. Once even the Task Manager was frozen.

Again, nothing downloaded from the web will open.

School is starting next week and I need my laptop working! Help!
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