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"not a valid Win32 application" error when running an .exe file (inclu mbam)

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Hi there, good MBAM folk :-)
PC, Windows 7 Home Premium, 64 bit.  I have chosen NOT to install the Windows Updates - this may/may not be relevant.  Malwarebytes Free, Avira Pro.
I first noticed there might be a problem when I was attempting to download regular definition Updates for Malwarebytes.  The download could never quite complete - it froze up 3/4 of the way through.  Same result after several attempts.
I also noticed the internet was running very slowly (and normally it's pretty quick).  Another change in behavior.
I uninstalled Malwarebytes using Control Panel.  I also downloaded the mbam-cleaner file from the MB site.  BUT I was unable to open this mbam-cleaner file beyond the Run window (which I clicked), only to get the error message "mbam-cleaner.exe is not a valid Win32 application".
Same result when I tried to run rkill - same equivalent error message: "rkill.exe is not a valid Win32 application".
Definitly something is awry.  These are very likely to be good files, and something is choosing to block their opening.  I've never seen this error message before.  I have made no changes whatsoever to my registry or startup - nothing at all.
Otherwise the computer still appears to be running as it should.  I am writing to you from my laptop.
Any wisdom very much appreciated.
All warmest wishes,

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Hello rvmlister and :welcome:

Yours is the description of a computer that is probably infected and malware removal actions are not permitted in this sub-forum.

I recommend following the advice from the topic: Available Assistance for Possibly Infected Computers and have one of the Malware Removal Experts assist you with your issue.

If, as recommended, you do open a topic in Malware Removal Help, please make reference to this thread.

If you would like to get off to a very fast start, the Malware Removal Experts would appreciate it if you would also Copy and Paste (not attach) both the FRST.txt and the Addition.txt output diagnostic reports from only Log Set 1 into your new topic. Please do not tick, nor untick, any FRST categories as they are pre-configured by Farbar.

Thank you. :)

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