My Computer screen won't display drive C files and folders

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DublinPat

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Jan 26, 2015
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Tech Support Guy System Info Utility version 1.0.0.2
OS Version: Microsoft Windows XP Professional, Service Pack 2, 32 bit
Processor: AMD Athlon(TM) XP 2400+, x86 Family 6 Model 8 Stepping 1
Processor Count: 1
RAM: 1023 Mb
Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200, 128 Mb
Hard Drives: C: Total - 38162 MB, Free - 27306 MB;
Motherboard: ASUSTeK Computer INC., A7V8X-X
Antivirus: avast! Antivirus, Updated: Yes, On-Demand Scanner: Enabled

I wonder if anyone could please suggest why my wife's desktop computer has started behaving oddly? I might as well mention all the symptoms in case they're connected in some way. Firstly, it behaves differently when booting up. There's a screen listing all the drives which is displayed for long enough to read it right through. Previously, it simply flashed by for a split second. Then the screen is blank for what seems like ages, and finally a previously unseen progress bar of black and white stripes appears at the bottom, before it starts loading Windows.

After that, it's fairly normal, except that, when you click Start followed by My Computer, and the screen appears showing the various drives, clicking on drive C, the single hard drive, results in a graphic of a flashlight sweeping left and right across an icon of a file folder. This goes on more or less indefinitely, until the flashlight freezes. While this has been going on, the mouse pointer has turned into an hourglass. Sometimes, if you mouse over the cross at the top right to close down that page, the mouse pointer reappears and you can, but sometimes you get an hourglass up there too, and have to restart the computer. My Computer shows the contents of the other drives all right, and the My Computer screen does appear promptly.

Gaining access to the drive C files using the Search facility reveals the presence of literally thousands of files, each of 720 bytes, all with short file names which seem to consist of random groups of numbers and letters. Before, when I have been able to display the contents of drive C using My Computer, I don't recall any files like that. I wonder, though, whether the presence of all these small files accounts for the fact that a Malwarebytes threat scan, which used to take 25 minutes, now takes four and a half hours?

My wife uses this computer in connection with her work, which has an element of confidentiality. When she's deleted files with client information, I've pointed out to her that the files aren't actually deleted from the hard drive, but the path to those files has been removed so the file can be overwritten. I installed a copy of Eraser, which I've run occasionally to overwrite the free space on drive C, and it's never given any trouble. Last time I used it was about a week ago. The overwrite was taking much longer than usual, so I aborted the operation. Checking the free space on drive C, I observed that it had been reduced from its usual 72 percent to 3 percent. Of course, this was due to the files which Eraser creates during an overwrite, and deletes at the end of the operation. I consulted the Eraser help file, and found the name of the folder in which these files are found. I deleted the folder, which was enormous, and the free space returned to 72 percent. However, it was at this stage that the computer started acting strangely. I wonder if all the small files of 720 bytes could be connected to Eraser, and maybe were not deleted along with the others?

I apologise for a fairly lengthy description to anyone who's been kind enough to read it. The computer still does what my wife needs it to do, but I anticipate situations where it would be useful to be able to display the files and folders on drive C as we were always able to do. Any type of scan now takes an inordinate length of time. I'd considered sending it back to my friend who built it for a clean reinstall of the operating system, but I'd like to try to sort it out myself first, as I always feel you learn something by overcoming problems, which may stand you in good stead in the future. My thanks in advance for any advice, and greetings from Lancashire.
 

blues_harp28

Moderator
Joined
Jan 9, 2005
Messages
19,431
Hi, the first thing to note is that the pc is still using Service Pack 2.
SP 3 came out in May 2008, I think - almost 5 years of security updates are missing from the pc.
======
Download Security Check by screen317 from.
http://screen317.spywareinfoforum.org/
Or
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/download/securitycheck/dl/123/

Save it to your Desktop.
Double click the install icon.
A command Prompt window will open.
Let it scan the Pc - press any key when asked.
It should now open in Notepad.
Copy and Paste the result of the scan in the reply box below.
 

flavallee

Frank
Trusted Advisor
Joined
May 12, 2002
Messages
83,168
OS Version: Microsoft Windows XP Professional, Service Pack 2, 32 bit
Processor: AMD Athlon(TM) XP 2400+, x86 Family 6 Model 8 Stepping 1
Processor Count: 1
RAM: 1023 Mb
Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200, 128 Mb
Hard Drives: C: Total - 38162 MB, Free - 27306 MB;
Motherboard: ASUSTeK Computer INC., A7V8X-X
BEFORE you download and install the Service Pack 3 upgrade, download and install the AMD patch.

The Windows Update site will not work until Windows XP has been upgraded to SP3.

In its current state, that computer is in an extremely outdated condition and is wide open to security exploits and other issues.

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