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Discussion in 'Hardware' started by polaris1966, Jan 9, 2007.

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  1. polaris1966

    polaris1966 Thread Starter

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    Hello, everyone. First of all, I'm completely new to these forums, so hello! I'm hoping someone out there can help me with the following problems. It's a doozy, and has completely gotten worse over the last few days. Please read on...

    My computer at home contracted a particularly nasty virus. The computer initially ran slower than molasses (probably from spyware/adware/virus), so my wife and I have been attempting to fix this problem. It was totally *my* fault, as I went on a gaming website and it downloaded some content that's now choking the life out of the computer.

    I recently attempted to install new virus protection. Now, the computer is telling me that the copy of Windows XP I have is an illegal copy (which is NOT true, it was legitimately bought), and that I need to validate the copy. My wife has the administrative privileges on the computer, so I could only get so far this morning in fixing the problem. Compounding problems are the anti virus program I installed is failing to initialize, and sometimes Windows Explorer crashes, and leaves me with just the background picture, but no desktop whatsoever.

    The CD rom drive still works, albeit slowely (takes forever to load the contents of a CD). I am a complete newbie when it comes to these types of errors. We have a lot of stuff on the computer that needs to be saved, so a "do or die" reinstall won't be feasible, as we don't want to lose everything we have on the computer. I think my wife is ready to divorce me on the spot over this little "problem" I've caused, and I could use any suggestions or help anyone out there can give. My goals are:

    Speed the computer back up to operating potential
    Get *rid* of all the virus and spyware/adware on it

    The problem is I'm working with a lame duck operating system now, that seems more unstable than ever before, since I attempted to install new anti virus software. Thanks for listening, everyone. If I don't fix this soon, I might end up sleeping in the camper we have out in the door yard. :(

    Steve
     
  2. polaris1966

    polaris1966 Thread Starter

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    Just a follow up from my last posting regarding my computer problem. Here's an update:

    I managed to install the anti virus software, however, the computer will not allow any access to the desktop at all. I need to get to the operating system and install a spyware remover. Any suggestions on how to accomplish this? I was figuring going into Windows "safe mode" would be a good start, however, I cannot remember how to access safe mode upon start up.

    The next step is a computer technician to remove all the offending spyware/viruses that might be inhabiting this PC. Thanks for your help.

    Steve
     
  3. gurutech

    gurutech

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    Safe mode can be entered by tapping the F8 key BEFORE you see the Windows XP splash screen.
     
  4. polaris1966

    polaris1966 Thread Starter

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    Great, and thanks for the quick reply on this.

    Steve
     
  5. valis

    valis Moderator

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    what is it doing? Is it erroring out (giving you a blue screen) or just sitting there? You can always hit ctrl-alt-del to get to the task manager, then hit file > new task (run) and type in explorer.exe. That usually works for me when the desktop is reluctant to show. Or, if you are familiar with dos, you can type in cmd and run your av from there.
     
  6. polaris1966

    polaris1966 Thread Starter

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    As far as hitting F8, that didn't take it to Windows Safe Mode. Now that I've brought the computer into my work place, here's the type and stats:

    Compaq Presario
    256 mb RAM
    40 gb hard drive
    CD-RW drive
    DVD drive
    2.33 ghz processor

    As far as what it's doing, when you start the computer up, it goes to the log in screen (my wife's the administrator, and I'm the guest), then in the bottom-right corner it warns that this copy of Windows XP might be illegal, which it is not. When you attempt to log in as the administrator, it shows two erros:

    Warning: F-Secure AV.exe cannot start
    Windows.exe has encountered an error and needs to close, sorry for the inconvinience (hey, thanks for being nice about it. lol)

    Two nights ago I was trying to install F-Secure AV to the computer (a lengthy process as the computer was really slow). I went to bed as it was installing, then all this mess listed above occured.

    I'm sure there's either a virus (or several) or spamware that's jamming/gumming up the works. If I could get "in" the computer, I'm sure I could eliminate the problem with Spybot: Search and Destroy or some other relevant problem. Thanks for your help thus far.

    Steve
     
  7. valis

    valis Moderator

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    when it's booting, after it clears post, there will be a screen that shows something like 'press xx to enter setup'.....at that time, start tapping f8 and see what happens.
     
  8. valis

    valis Moderator

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    also, when it says 'windows must close', is there an okay button to push, or does it just power down? If it stays up until you hit okay, bring up the task manager and try what I said. If you can get to 'run', I've got a text file that will reboot it into safe mode from there.
     
  9. polaris1966

    polaris1966 Thread Starter

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    Update:

    Well, the problem seems resolved. I had the opportunity to "work" on it myself today, and Compaq has an F10 feature that lets you reinstall Windows XP. So, that's what I did. After reinstalling Windows XP, the computer runs normally, starts up, and goes to the desktop like it's supposed to do.

    I updated Spybot Search and Destroy, eliminated most of the spyware problems, then immunized the system (15,000 entries, wow....). I defragmented the hard drive, did a disk cleanup, and the computer is 150% faster now! I also took the opportunity to hook it up online and get the latest updates for Spybot. So, that's up to date as of this posting.

    I want to thank everyone that helped me muddle through this..hopefully it won't occure again!

    Steve (y)
     
  10. gurutech

    gurutech

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    windows.exe sounds like spyware. Any chance you could post a HJT log?
     
  11. polaris1966

    polaris1966 Thread Starter

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    Update, probably the last one unless I get a response here. Unfortunately, after reinstalling windows XP, all the data (personal files, photos, etc.) have been lost. Some of the files are still there, but most of them are gone. :( Unfortunately, some of my wife's critical files/photos were on the desktop when the Windows XP was reinstalled, so they have vanished forever.

    Even though the computer works, her important documents have vanished into thin air. I can see no way to recover them, as they must have been written over when a new copy of Windows XP was placed. Any thoughts as to the possibility of finding them again, or are they completey destroyed?

    Steve
     
  12. valis

    valis Moderator

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    um, not really. there are many, many options that you could have done that would create a new profile and leave the existing data, but if you reformatted it and reinstalled it, they are gone. I am unfamiliar with compaq's f10 option, so I can't really speak for them. You may want to give them a call, though and see how thorough the format is.
     
  13. gurutech

    gurutech

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    F10 on a Compaq is just to get into the BIOS.

    Polaris, check your C:\Documents and Settings\ directory. If you created usernames the same as the old ones when you reinstalled, you may see directories named (username).000 or (username).PCNAME, or possibly (username).WORKGROUPNAME.

    These will be in addition to the initial (username) folders. Check through these folders (the initial "username" directories) for the missing files, and copy them to the "username.something" directory with the same directory structure, or copy all to the desktop and move to the correct folders as needed.

    Tip: It may be easier for you to copy files (less "access denied" errors) if you have your wife login to copy your folders, and you login to copy your wife's folders; or login is administrator (unless that's what your wife uses), and copy both yours and your wife's folders.
     
  14. polaris1966

    polaris1966 Thread Starter

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    Thanks for the tip :)

    I will certainly check this out when I get home tonight. I appreciate everyone's help thus far.

    Steve
     
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