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Puzzling and infuriating XP problems

Discussion in 'Windows XP' started by moomaloo, Apr 22, 2010.

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  1. moomaloo

    moomaloo Thread Starter

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    Hi all,

    This is the first time I've had to ask for tech help here (so be gentle with me..!)

    I'll try to explain this as best I can:

    I run a fairly old but trusty Dell desktop machine with Windows XP (Service Pack 3). It's been absolutely fine since I've had it and I've updated the ram some time ago. Then last night for absolutely no apparent reason, when I turned it on and it booted up it immediately looked 'different'. The task bar had changed colour and several of the icons were missing. The text was also in a slightly different font. I then got an error message which reads: 'Exception EOleSysError in module Skype.exe at 00095A71. The RPC server is unavailable.'

    However, I suspoect this is only part of the problem. The machine won't connect to the internet or even attempt to send/receive e-mails through Office Outlook (though my router / modem / wireless adapter is working). I also can't access several of my programmes. McAfee security suite won't even open. I can't remove Skype from the programmes list. The whole thing is just 'odd'!

    Is there anything I can do or is it terminal? And how on earth would it have happened? - I hadn't been 'fiddling' or installing new software. It was working fine as ever when I closed it down, then when I started it up again several hours later, all hell had broken loose...

    Any guidance would be very gratefully received. Thanks.
     
  2. Saga Lout

    Saga Lout

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    Hello and welcome to TSG.

    This is the first of what might turn into many suggestions on the way to fixing this. Go Start then Run and in the open box, type services.msc and hit the Enter key. In the alphabetical list of Services which appear next, scroll down to Remote Procedure Call (RPC not Locator) and double click on the entry. In the middle of the next form you should see either Automatic, Manual or Disabled. If it isn't Automatic, change it so it is then click Apply and OK. Restart the computer and check again to see if it remained on Automatic. Once that bridge is crossed, if any changes you made haven't cured the problem, please post back.

     
  3. wrongwaysmith

    wrongwaysmith

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    Wow, I have just had the exact same problem as you, moomaloo. Symptoms and computer type are almost identical (except mine is an older but very functional Dell laptop).

    I just tried your recommendation, Saga Lout, but when I try to start Remote Procedure Call (RPC), I get a message: "Could not start the Remote Procedure Call (RPC) service on Local Computer. Error 2: The system cannot find the file specified." It doesn't work if I double click on it -- had to right click and select Start.

    Any further suggestions very, very much appreciated.
     
  4. moomaloo

    moomaloo Thread Starter

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    Thanks for that Saga Lout. I'll try it later but I suspect that this is some sort of virus (though I've no idea how it sneaked in round my anti-virus software).

    Whatever it is, it's very annoying as it disables a lot of functions on my machine. I can't open my McAfee software to scan the system and I can't connect to the internet to seek a fix. It's also trying to hide my taskbar and it's limiting my ability to add or remove programs.
     
  5. moomaloo

    moomaloo Thread Starter

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    Hang on... I've just found this. This looks very worrying. Wrongwaysmith, are you running McAfee? (See below)

    McAfee update kills Windows XP systems

    Increases security by forcing Windows PCs offline
    By Lawrence Latif
    Thu Apr 22 2010, 12:27



    INSECURITY VENDOR McAfee has admitted that a recent antivirus update is rendering PCs inoperable.
    The update, 5958 DAT, was released by the firm early on Wednesday and it didn't take long for reports to surface that users were experiencing blue screens of death (BSoDs) and DCOM errors shortly after applying the update. The update seems to affect Windows XP SP3 users, with the post update security scan recording false positives, misdiagnosing machines as infected with W32/wecorl.a malware.
    Since then the company has been in damage control mode with its executive vice president, Barry McPherson attempting to quell the flames by saying that the problem has affected only "less than one half of one percent" of the firm's enterprise customers and even fewer consumers. That might be so, but given that large firms typically deploy the same security software throughout their inventories, a single "account" can represent hundreds or even thousands of now useless computers.
    McPherson's first post generated replies from irate customers, including one asking for the company to come clean about the problem, saying, "Why not just admit the f'up and say you're sorry? You jacked up untold hundreds of thousands if not millions of computers." Another customer whose firm apparently spends $9,000 per year on McAfee products said, "I've been asked by upper-management to look at other products and another email-filtering service." Similar sentiments are repeated many times, with users saying that they have lost money trying to fix McAfee's mistake.
    Later on Wednesday McPherson reacted to those posts, claiming that after working 14 hours straight, he takes the comments on his blog "very seriously". Presumably it's hard to ignore when you have a number of loyal customers threatening to take their business elsewhere. Various quick fixes have been suggested, including replacing the svchost.exe from a working Windows XP machine. However a reader points out that after the firm's software deletes the svchost.exe on the affected machine you can't even copy and paste the replacement svchost executable. Unsurprisingly the frustrated and angry user called the fix "BS" after saying that the problem cost "hundreds of man hours".
    McPherson claims that he has been talking to "hundreds of colleagues" and emailing thousands in order to find the best way to fix these issues. He also admits that Wednesday 21 April was not his or McAfee's "favourite day". We think McPherson will find that many of his customers share that sentiment, given that his firm disabled their primarily means of making a living, with one comment urging that McPherson have "red hot pokers plunged into his eye sockets".
    The update has since been pulled from the firm's servers, though that will be of little consolation to those who have had to spend time and money fixing their machines.
    This unmitigated disaster for McAfee goes to highlight that insecurity firms can compete, effectively, with the malware authors when it comes to bringing down PCs. The difference being that, unlike malware, you have to pay for McAfee's products. ยต
     
  6. wrongwaysmith

    wrongwaysmith

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    Yes, I am running McAfee. Dammit.

    At least we know what the problem is.... thanks for digging that up. But how to fix?!
     
  7. wrongwaysmith

    wrongwaysmith

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  8. flavallee

    flavallee Trusted Advisor

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    First Name:
    Frank
    Here is the Microsoft manual work-around:

    Restart the computer in safe mode by pressing F8 before the Windows splash screen appears.

    Log on to the computer, and then, press CTRL+ALT+DEL, and then click Start Windows Task Manager.

    Select New Task (Run…) from the File menu.

    Type cmd.exe, and then press ENTER.

    Run the following command: ren “%programfiles%\Common Files\McAfee\Engine\avvscan.dat” avvscan.old

    This behavior removes McAfee virus definitions.

    Make sure that you update to the latest definitions (5959 DAT or newer) after you complete these steps to restore virus definitions.

    Run the following command: copy %systemroot%\system32\dllcache\svchost.exe %systemroot%\system32\ and press ENTER.

    --------------------------------------------------------------
     
  9. Tufenuf

    Tufenuf

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  10. wrongwaysmith

    wrongwaysmith

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    Fixed! Thanks to flavallee for the advice and Tufenuf for the links. Only took me four hours from computer crash to the realization of the problem and successful repair....

    For shame, McAfee!
     
  11. flavallee

    flavallee Trusted Advisor

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    First Name:
    Frank
    You're welcome. (y) :D (y)

    McAfee? :mad: (n)

    -------------------------------------------------------------------
     
  12. Saga Lout

    Saga Lout

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    Nicely sorted, people - I thought this one would drag on a bit.
     
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