How Can I Get Links to Open

Recently something has changed. Using XP Pro XP3...when I try to open link (using IE8 or Chrome), rather than link opening, it tries to save/download to folder as "executable file.exe".  I figure a registry edit got corrupted or removed when I did some routine maintenance/optimization.  How can I get my ability to open links (not sure if is isolated to links in my emails/MS office 2003/Outlook) or more broad
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You generally DON'T want to have executables be runnable from a link. That invites all sorts of malware. This may be a security feature to have to save it, scan it with antivirus/antimalware, etc, and then decide if you want to run it.  For non-.EXE files, it could have to do with the associated application or MIME settings of the browser.

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wkittilsAuthor Commented:
I accidentally posted this to ADOBE photoshop
I reposted under internet browser and a couple other tags, i forgit, but the bottom line was a virus vs an http transfer protocal setting, which when changed, resolved the problem. Somewhere a hard boot or reigistry repair or something caused the seting to change. I run strong anti virus, anti-spy and anti-malware and was fairly sure that was not the problem.
Yes, well a virus can obviously do that and worse. AGAIN, I wouldn't recommend running an EXE straight from the browser.
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wkittilsAuthor Commented:
the problem is, how else do  i open links
normal, safe links no longer would open, trying to run an exe (which did not seem to exist)

another way of wording the problem...i was unable to open links and making the change restored the ability to open links

i don't think there were any exe files as when I tried to open to see what happens, there was no exe file to execute, there was simply the menu now attempting to download or save executable file which did not exist)
Well, I generally do Save As (if it is from a place I trust), then run antivirus and antimalware upon it before trusting it.
wkittilsAuthor Commented:
thanks for the good tip..

i hear you...but...the real issue was my poorly worded question insofar the real issue was not that there was an executable file, just an erroneous message saying there was an executable file, when in fact this was a misleading or default error message generated by the setting that had  been unchecked and need to be re-checked to allow links to open (the other threa with same topic contains the exact setting http/protocal transfer whatever....maybe maybe there is a small exectuble file related to link (with error message therefore not misleading...that I would be curious to know answer

I appreciate your help.
From what I am understanding is that you are trying to open up links inside of either browser Chrome or IE8, instead of the link opening up it is prompted your to save it? If this is correct go into Internet Options under IE8 and clear your temporary stored internet files.
wkittilsAuthor Commented:
i believe you phrased it correctly

i did what you recommend as a matter of routine procedure when I encounter problems related to internet, but that did not help.

as is mentioned, i need to change back a setting, the exact nature of which is another posting of same question, but in the correct group (rather than posting with adobe group).

thanks for the info
wkittilsAuthor Commented:
thank you for help understanding the process...where is the request attention button
There are MIME settings in browsers that tell it what to do with files.  The one for EXE may be missing or it may be a safety feature to not let you directly run and EXE from the web.  

Also if your normal .EXE files run, then I don't think it has to do with the .EXE file associating in the registry. You can test this by typing Notepad.exe from the command prompt and seeing if it runs.
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