Do you have single click mode enabled? Check Folder Options> General. If
the radio dot is next to "single click" move it over to "double click."
Click OK to back out of the screen. Then test to see if you're getting the
desired behavior when working with your files.
Too bad about the single/double click settings. That would have been an
easy explanation (and an easy fix) for the unwanted attempts of programs
What method of delete is causing this problem? Have you tried other
methods? Right click> Delete, pressing Delete on the keyboard, using a menu
link in the task pane or using File> Delete in the menu bar are all
possible methods within the GUI. Could try a delete from a command line as
well. Do all methods cause an attempt to launch a program?
Does this happen with all file types or only some? If we can limit this to
only some file types, we may be able to address those on a one by one
basis. If it's across the board with all file types - that's not good.
Have you run a full system virus scan on your computer yet? Used AdAware or
similar to detect and remove malware? If the delete action has been
undermined/altered then malware or virus are likely explanations.
There's an UI bug in XP that if you hold Shift down and press Del,
Enter to delete a file, it quite often picks up the Enter as "open
this file" before the Delete dialog comes up. It may happn with
unshifted Del as well; I wouldn't know, I seldom us Recycle Bin.
This bug has failrly obvious safety implications, e.g. when you are
trying to delete files because you know they are malware, etc.