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Solved: Cannot run .exe files


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27-Sep-2009, 02:13 PM #1
Unhappy Solved: Cannot run .exe files
"Windows cannot access the specified device, path or file. You may not have appropriate permissions."

Also,

"The windows installer service could not be accessed"

It is a customer's PC running XP Media Center.

PC came to me with initial problem of blank desktop. Explorer.exe was NOT running and could not be started from Start > Run in Task Manager. However, it WAS possible to go through Browse and open files and existing programs that way.

Managed to fix that by uninstalling various Google products like Desktop, Updater and Toolbar. Somehow, this enabled all programs I tried to run. The customer only had IE 8 on machine. Could open a Web Page in Word which made me suspicious why IE could not establish connection even after resetting etc etc. Found safari and managed to get on Web fine. Removed Google products as mentioned and all seemed fine.

As IE still playing up decided to re-install it. All fine except that "checking your computer for malicious software" had red x next to it. Hmm, I thought.

IE also keeps sending me on strange redirects (no other browser does) so suspected Malware.

Downloaded Spybot S & D, installed fine but as soon as scan initiated program AND running process immediately disappear. Same happens with Malware Bytes Anti-Malware (a program which has NEVER let me down previously). Now any program will install but will not run after several seconds. Error message is "Windows cannot access the specified device, path or file. You may not have appropriate permissions." (have tried Unblocking file)

I then suspected Windows Installer Service and sure enough it is NOT running.

Cannot start it - Access Denied.

I then suspected Permissions.

Noticed c: drive was shared - turned off and rebooted. Still no joy.

Tried in desperation to give Everyone group Full Control - after an age of an egg timer cursor returns to show that no changed have been made.

I have tried a .exe fix from Kelly's Corner but to no avail.

This is driving me crazy.

Have tried Safe Mode, logging in through built in administrator account - no joy.

As I say it's XP Media Center x86 preinstalled by Computer Store and I only have XP Prp CD so was anxious about attempting Repair.

O, by the way, when trying ESET online scanner or Trend online scanner the scan window simply terminates without warning after an arbitrary period.

Any help appreciated!

Regards

Chris
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27-Sep-2009, 02:58 PM #2
Tried uninstalling Windows installer as per

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/315346

When trying to re-install Windows Installer 3.1 get an error message to the effect of "The Service Pack or System is newer than this file"

Tried installing Windows Installer 4.5 from MS but now get error as per screenshot

the file c:\windows\system32\msiexec.exe is open or in use.

For some reason my gut tells me that this is a permissions issue.
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Solved: Cannot run .exe files-screenshot-1.jpg  
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27-Sep-2009, 03:16 PM #3
Little but maybe significant addition.

Customer was running low on Disk Space and compressed the drive using Disk Cleanup.

Could have the whole HDD compressed cause these problems?

Reckons it's gonna take 14 hours to uncompress!!

Chris
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27-Sep-2009, 09:50 PM #4
Can you try running HijackThis?

Please click here to download and install the HijackThis installer.

Run it and select Do a system scan and save a logfile.

The log will be saved in Notepad. Copy and paste the log in your next post.

Do not fix anything
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27-Sep-2009, 10:54 PM #5
Hi there. I'm fairly accomplished at removing Malware but the point is I cannot run .exe files.

Hijackthis will probably therefore not install.

Even on totally malware infested machines I have always been able to install and run MBAM or Spybot S&D - neither is currently possible.

I am currently at home on my PC and the PC in question is still in use at the customer's. However, I have to go back in 48 hours to fix it and will certainly try to install Hijack this. Malware is certainly a possibility as some links still fly off to random Sites. Only happens in IE.

I have even system restored back about 2 months and the symptoms remain the same.
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28-Sep-2009, 04:35 AM #6
Welcome to the new and improved infection doing the rounds, brought about by 'fake antivirus' scams.
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28-Sep-2009, 06:07 AM #7
I will be relieved but surprised if that's what it is. Can I not run AV software from a removable drive and scan pc that way?

Did scan using http://vil.nai.com/vil/stinger/ and nothing found, hang on the program terminated half way through - hmmm - we will see tomorrow.
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28-Sep-2009, 09:41 AM #8
Who said anything about malware? It's quite possible to find some with HijackThis but when I ask for a log here on TSG, I may have other reasons too. It's a great tool to diagnose problems or conflicts and to see what's running on a PC.
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28-Sep-2009, 09:53 AM #9
You might try the Folder Association Fix from here.

Or, try taking ownership of the files. If you can't see the Security tab, click here. For XP Home, restart in Safe Mode as an Administrator to get the Security tab.

Windows cannot access the specified device, path or file.

Causes:

1. the exe file was moved from other location.
2. The permissions have been changed.

Resolutions:

1. Right click on the executable and choose "Properties". Under the "General" tab, you may find an "Unblock" button. Click Unblock to enable access.

2.
  • Right-click on the EXE file and select Properties, then Security tab.
  • Highlight Users/groups, click Advanced.
  • Locate the Users/Groups Special Permissions line.
  • Add these "Allow" attributes to give necessary right to run the program.
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Last edited by Phantom010; 28-Sep-2009 at 10:02 AM..
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28-Sep-2009, 10:22 AM #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom010 View Post
Who said anything about malware? It's quite possible to find some with HijackThis but when I ask for a log here on TSG, I may have other reasons too. It's a great tool to diagnose problems or conflicts and to see what's running on a PC.
My apologies - I assumed!

I have tried taking Ownership. It's successful on files I choose but does not work when trying to apply permissions to Root.

What is the simplest way of giving Full Control to anyone in Administrators Group over all files on c:\ ?

Additionally, how can I ensure that someone is actually IN the Administrators Group?

I have tried Safe Mode Administrator Account and can log in to Administrator Account on normal startup by double CTRL > ALT > DEL but all to no avail.

Is there any easy way of running an AV scan from a removable drive?

Thanks for your help.

I will be trying your steps in 24 hours time once I return to Customer's.

Kind regards and thanks again

Chris
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28-Sep-2009, 10:32 AM #11
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Is there any easy way of running an AV scan from a removable drive?
Try this from ClamWin.

Or this from Dr.Web.
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28-Sep-2009, 07:53 PM #12
Thanks - will let you know how I get on.

Regards

Chris
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29-Sep-2009, 11:45 AM #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom010 View Post
Can you try running HijackThis?

Please click here to download and install the HijackThis installer.

Run it and select Do a system scan and save a logfile.

The log will be saved in Notepad. Copy and paste the log in your next post.

Do not fix anything
As I thought. the program closes itself after about 10 seconds.

Will try to grab screenshot before it goes as does seem to be some dodgy entries.
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29-Sep-2009, 12:40 PM #14
Same nightmare - program runs for 10 seconds or so then terminates. Cannot run Spybot, MBAM, Norton Security Scan, ESET Scan or Trend Online Scan.

I have tried Safe Mode, System Restore, Creating new admin account, logging in to built-in admin account etc etc
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Solved: Cannot run .exe files-hijack-.png  
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29-Sep-2009, 12:44 PM #15
Unfortunately, the log is missing the most important part.
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