Q: Why am I not able to download apps to my Windows 7 machine?

On Wednesdays, we'll be featuring an abridged Q&A from Fred Langa's LANGALIST, a feature available exclusively to paid subscribers of the Windows Secrets newsletter. Today's Q&A: Why does my Windows 7 machine not allow me to install anything?

Fred Langa

September 17, 2015

2 Min Read
Q: Why am I not able to download apps to my Windows 7 machine?
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Q. One PC I manage is running 64-bit Win 7 SP1. It’s generally well updated, and Windows Update works fine.

Recently, however, we’ve been unable to download and install CCleaner, Adobe Flash, Skype, Chrome, and other apps. The apps download successfully, but when we click ‘run,’ we get a crash. It happens whether the app was downloaded with Mozilla, IE, or Chrome.

If I try to transfer the same programs to a different machine with a flash drive, they’ll not install there either. I feel this is probably a Windows problem. Also, I’m running WinPatrol, Avast, and other blockers. What’s going on?

A. If this were a general problem with Windows 7, message boards all over the world would be lit up, with millions of users screaming about suddenly being unable to install new software. Since that’s not happening, I can only assume that the problem is with something in your specific setup. 

A variety of issues could be at play, but in your case, the culprit is more likely the software you’ve installed — specifically, the blockers you mention. The freshly downloaded files are blocked, locked, or otherwise neutered (i.e., rendered not runnable). Furthermore, I’ll bet you’re running the same blockers on all the systems you maintain. That’s likely why you can’t get the software installed on any of your machines. 

I would start by disabling all blocker software. Then download and install the software you wish, using the Run as administrator option. With nothing in the way, I bet your downloads — and the rest of Win7 — will resume normal operation.

(Originally published on Windows Secrets on Thursday, September 10 2015.)


Editor's note: We feature an abridged Q&A from Fred Langa's LANGALIST, a column available exclusively to paid subscribers of the Windows Secrets newsletter, on Wednesdays. What you see here is just a small sampling of what Langa's writing for the newsletter — go here for more information on how to subscribe.

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