Clicking Show Desktop button triggers "File Download - Security Warning"

Posted on 2006-06-25
Last Modified: 2008-03-03
When I click on the Show Desktop icon on the task bar in Windows XP, instead of showing or refreshing the desktop, I get a dialogue box with File Download - Security warning, asking me if I want to Run or Save the file Show Desktop.scf. If I run Registry Mechanic, it deletes the .SCF file association. In that case clicking on the Show Desktop Icon opens an Windows Explorer window showing the contents of the .SCF file, instead of just running the command. The contents of the Show Desktop.scf file is:


I tried unsuccessfully to do a System Restore back to before this started happening. I also get weird behavior when I click on the Software Updates button in HP Director. A small Notepad window opens displaying the HTML script for the software update.
Question by:Blue_Jay
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

ID: 16981708
try running sfc /scannow from the run box; or a repair install :      
you can also check for malware : run ALL these, updated :

     adaware :
     Spybot :                                                               online scan for trojans                                   download                                check the log

Expert Comment

ID: 16981997
Hi Blue_Jay,

open notepad, and paste following lines


save it as "show desktop.scf" and see if it's working or still showing file download - security warning?


Author Comment

ID: 16984421
Nobus - I ran an sfc the other day and it didn't help. I'm hoping to solve this without doing a repair install. I have Service Pack 2 installed, but the original Win XP Pro disk is pre-SP1. I would probably have to do a lot of Windows Updates to get back to where I am now. I have run Adaware, Spybot, HijackThis, and Sunbelt CounterSpy. No adware or spyware found.

Imnajam - I have recreated the Show Desktop.scf file many times, without success at resolving the issue.
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

ID: 16984562
if the problem is recent, try a system restore to a previous date
LVL 34

Accepted Solution

sramesh2k earned 500 total points
ID: 16984800
Hi Blue_Jay,

Download FileExtInfo.exe from the following site:

FileExtInfo - View the association settings for a file type easily:

Generate a report for .SCF file type, and post the entire information here. I'll study the settings.

Author Comment

ID: 16986994
Nobus - I tried System Restore a while ago, it didn't help.

SRamesh2K - Great suggestion. Hope you can find what's wrong. Here's the results of the FileExtInfo scan:


@="Windows Explorer Command"














I'm increasing the Point Value to 500 for this problem.

Author Comment

ID: 16989218
Ramesh - I found it! Thanks to your suggestion, I ran FileExtInfo on my Windows XP Pro laptop and compared the results to the desktop. The last three keys were not there, but Show Desktop was working fine. So I deleted the whole [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts\.SCF] key from the desktop and that solved the problem.

Thanks for your help. Once again you've led me to the solution!
LVL 34

Expert Comment

ID: 16989708
You're welcome Blue_Jay.

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