Edit : August 2011 - This post is nearly 6 years old and it's probably the most popular post I've ever made. It's the number one Google result for this error. Still getting dozens of hits per day. Over 100 comments! I'm glad I could give something back to my fellow IT pros. (PS - why not throw me a bone and click an ad on my site, like one of the big banners up top? I might earn a penny or two. hehe Thanks!)
Just ran into this crazy issue. One of my clients has a server running Windows 2000 Server. I needed to remove a program so of course I go to Control Panel and click on Add/Remove Programs. Nothing. It doesn't open. Try again. it still won't open. I then start noticing that each time I do this, it's spawning another instance of mshta.exe in my task manager. Strange. I've been troubleshooting for a few hours, trying various suggestions from around the net - reboot the server, register some files, apply some updates, put on my rally cap, etc.
But I've finally found the article that worked like a charm. It's a Microsoft KB article. Isn't it odd than you can search the KB and never find a helpful article but you'll find a website that links to the exact article that you WISH your KB search would have found???
Anyway, here is the link to the article.
What you need to do is just go to the command line and run these 3 commands to repair some registry entries.
regsvr32 shdocvw.dll -I
regsvr32 shell32.dll -I
This worked like a charm. My Add/Remove Program window opened right up.
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