Here’s something new.  I just cleaned a Windows XP Home computer that was trying to use Windows Media Player to open shortcuts to EXE files.  Had to create a broken shortcut on the desktop, and then “run with” and select c:\windows\system32\cmd.exe to get  a command prompt.  After that I found the registry entry HKCU/software/microsoft/windows/currentversion/explorer/fileexts/.exe and delete the key pointing back to wmplayer.exe.