What Is

What is ComputerDefaults.exe & How to Fix %windir%\system32\ComputerDefaults.exe


Today, we will be talking about a critical Windows process called ComputerDefaults.exe. It is an essential utility that often operates silently in the background, contributing to the smooth functioning of your system. Despite its significance, many users might be unaware of its purpose and importance.

This article will uncover the role and functionality of the executable within the Windows ecosystem. Additionally, we will discuss troubleshooting tips to address potential issues related to the %windir%\system32\ComputerDefaults.exe file.

What is ComputerDefaults.exe?

ComputerDefaults.exe is a built-in tool within Windows OS that empowers users to customize program access and set computer defaults. It is accessible through the Default Programs Control Panel item in Windows Vista and later versions. It is also accessible through the Add or Remove Programs item in Windows XP.

This versatile tool caters to five client types, including browsers, email clients, instant messaging programs, media players, and virtual machines for Java. For registered programs, ComputerDefaults.exe performs several functions:

  • For up to Windows 7 and above, users can select default programs for each client type, granting them greater control over handling different file types and protocols.
  •  ComputerDefaults.exe also enables users to manage the display of program icons, shortcuts, and menu entries. This function allows for a personalized and clutter-free computing environment.
  •  Additionally, Windows XP Service Pack 1 (SP1) offers a set of preset default program choices through this tool, simplifying the process for users.
  •  Starting from Windows 8, ComputerDefaults.exe configures defaults on a per-user basis for the current user, enhancing personalization.

Other background processes that may interest you include CloudNotifications.exe, CloudExperienceHostBroker.exe, and Chkdsk.exe. Read them up in our previous articles.

Why am I getting the %windir%\system32\ComputerDefaults.exe error?

If you receive an error related to %windir%\system32\ComputerDefaults.exe, it could indicate a problem with the file or its associated settings. Here are a few possible reasons why you might be encountering this error:

  • The ComputerDefaults.exe file may be corrupt or missing from the system directory, leading to an error message. This issue can happen due to malware infections, system crashes, or software conflicts.
  •  The error could occur if the file path specified is incorrect or modified. Moving or renaming the file may cause the system to fail to locate it.
  •  Additionally, malicious software can sometimes disguise itself as legitimate system files.

The file itself is safe. It is a legitimate Microsoft process.

How do I fix %windir%\system32\ComputerDefaults.exe?

Before applying the solutions below, use the following prefixes first:

  1. Restart your PC. Restarting a PC can sometimes clear errors in the system.
  2.  If the error occurs when accessing a specific program or feature, try reinstalling that software to ensure all necessary files are intact.

1. Run an SFC scan

  1. Press the Windows and S keys together and type cmd in the text field.
  2. Then, choose the Run as administrator option on the right side to start the Command Prompt with administrator privileges.
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  3. Once the User Account Control prompts you, select Yes to continue.
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  4. When Command Prompt displays, enter the following command into the prompt and tap the Enter key to start an SFC scan:
    sfc /scannow
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  5. Once the scan is complete, copy and paste the command below and press the Enter key to run the command:
    DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth
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  6. Finally, it would be best to restart your computer to implement repairs.

2. Run DISM scan

  1. Press the Windows and S keys simultaneously and enter Command Prompt in the text field.
  2. Then, select Run as administrator on the right side to open Command prompt as an admin.
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  3. When prompted, Click on Yes on the User Account Control prompt.
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  4. When the Command Prompt opens, enter the following command and hit the Enter key to start an DISM scan:
    DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Scanhealth 
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  5. Afterward, enter the command below and press the Enter key to execute the command:
    DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth
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  6. Finally, it would be best to restart your computer to implement repairs.

3. Update Windows

  1. Firstly, you should hotkey the Windows + I to open Settings or use the Windows icon on the Taskbar.
  2. When Settings opens, click on the Windows Update option and click the Check for updates button to search for new updates.
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  3. Then, follow the on-screen instructions to install the available update.
  4. Finally, restart your computer.

4. Update drivers to restore missing .exe files

  1. Hold the Windows, and I keys simultaneously to launch the Settings window.
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  2. Then, click the Windows Update option next.
  3. Afterward, select Advanced Options.
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  4. Then, tap the Optional updates option next.
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  5. Once the options are revealed, expand the Driver Updates section, select the appropriate drive, Download, and Install all the available updates.
  6. Lastly, restart your computer. Running through this process will prevent backgroundtaskhost exe from crashing.

5. Perform system restore

  1. Press the Windows +key simultaneously to begin the Run dialog on your PC and enter rstrui. Press Enter after to open it.
  2. Select the Choose a different restore point option when the System Restore wizard comes up.
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  3. Then, tap the Next button to proceed. 
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  4. Once the next window opens, select your restore point and click Next
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  5. Allow the process to run and complete.
  6. Finally, click Finish when the restore is complete.

In conclusion, ComputerDefaults.exe is a vital system file responsible for managing default program settings in Windows. However, encountering an error related to %windir%\system32\ComputerDefaults.exe can disrupt normal system operations.

Following the suggested solutions, such as performing a malware scan, using System File Checker (SFC), restoring from a system backup, or reinstalling the related software, you can address issues related to the file. Always keep the system files in good condition to ensure a smooth computing experience.

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Richard Omachona
Richard is a techie in providing fixes and solutions for computer issues of various kinds. Among his contemporaries, he is a preferred choice. His experiences are vast in Windows operating systems, and several other skills in programming such as Python, Web Frontend designing implementing at industry standards, best practices in HTML, CSS and JavaScript. and basics in Web Backend. He also loves traveling, gaming and music.