It could be an infection, but usually this problem is caused by the fact that something has altered the system's default file associations.
.exe file are Binaries anyway but obviously your machine doesn't know how toi read them.
Go to the following site > Windows XP Fixes > File Association Fixes > EXE Fix and run the batch file
They're zipped so will have to extracted. Instructions are at the top of the page.
Ex_Brit, thank you for your reply.
Using the weblink you provided I was able to extract the xp_exe_fix.zip file to get to the xp_exe_fix.reg file. I ran this file, receiving the following response:
"C:\WINDOWS\TEMMP\Temporary Directory 2 for xp_exe_fix.zip\xp_exe_fix.reg has been successfully entered into the registry."
Unfortunately I don't think this action restored the default EXE associations because when I tried again to download the DMSetup.exe file it was the binary file that was confirmed and not the executable file. Is the "xp_exe_fix.reg" file the batch file you mentioned in your directions?
I'm afraid I'm no expert with XP any more as its been a while since I used it as a main OS. Do any .exe files run on your machine? How about saved installer files in your downloads, can you test them?
There's a tutorial here which I found using Google,
Other than that I suggest speaking to Technical Support Chat, linked through Useful Links at the top of this page.
Have you by any chance been running registry cleaners? This sort of thing is typical of what happens when running them.
I am currently not using my machine with the issue.
Do any .exe files run on your machine? Not sure, I will check.
How about saved installer files in your downloads, can you test them? When I last viewed my Downloads file there were no installer files present.
Have you by any chance been running registry cleaners? No, I have not been running registry cleaners. I could try to download such a program but I will likely have the same issue as I have when trying to download DMSetup.exe. My machine does not currently have my McAfee licensed software installed.
Thank you for the advice regarding Tech Support Chat and the weblink. When I have a block of time to devote to this issue I will give those a try.
I'm not sure what else to suggest other than a repoair installation of the system, but that would be the second to last resort and involve installation hundreds of updates afterwards, the last one being a format and reinstallation, again lots of updates as the system is old now.
You could try the following in 'Safe Mode with Networking' reached by tapping F8 repeatedly while booting up. It's usually second on the ensuing menu.
Your downloads should work in this mode, Go to http://www.malwarebytes.org/mbam.php and download the FREE version.
Update it and run it - all in that mode. Let it remove anything it finds and reboot if asked to.
The other option is on that same menu - 'Last known good configuration' - sometimes works when all else fails.