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Solved: No icons on desktop after virus removal.

Discussion in 'Windows XP' started by Omnixius, Dec 15, 2011.

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  1. Omnixius

    Omnixius Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2011
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    This is going to be long so please be patient.

    I removed a virus from a windows XP Home sp 3 computer that should be fully updated.
    I ran malwarebytes, superantispyware, avira, hitman pro, spybot S&D.

    All of which found and removed various bugs.

    Now when I boot to windows I have No icons on the desktop. No ltems in the start menu.
    a quick look in explorer shows all my files are there, however every file and folder in the computer is now attribed hidden.

    I do magically have a task bar.

    I cannot right click anywhere on the desktop . But I can right click the taskbar.
    most of the menu options, including task manager are greyed out on the menu.

    Ctrl alt del no longer brings up the task manager.

    I have been poking at this for hours and here are some things I have discovered.

    If I set the start menu to classic I have my start menu back, all the options are returned. However I have an empty programs list still. If I switch it back to the standard option they are all gone again.

    If I make a new user profile and log into that profile the desktop works fine again, and right clicking on the desktop is restored. However new user profiles still can't see the start menu or programs list. This only seems to restore the desktop.

    I have repaired the task manager with some registry fixes, so I now have access to task manager again.


    I can change the desktop wallpaper and it does change but I have to do this through the control panel.

    I used tweak UI to attempt to repair the desktop icons with no effect.
    I have run an SFC /scannow
    I have run microsoft malicious software removal tool to no effect.
    I have been in the registry a dozen times making a bunch of recommended changes and fixes found all over the internet to no effect.
    I have attempted a repair install which installs and boots up to exactly the same problem. No icons, no programs list, all the files are still atribbed hidden.
    I cannot drag new icons to the desktop.
    if I install any new programs they actually show up in the programs list, but all the older already installed ones do not.

    Now what I think might be going on.

    I have begun to believe the virus has created a user policy restricting access to the desktop and start menu options. My problem with this is I can't access any of the user policy tools. Start>Run>GPEDIT.MSC tells me windows can't find the file. and running just MMC and adding the snap in is useless because I can't find the group policy snap in in the list.

    Now I realize I can just scrub it and reload it, but to be honest I am fascinated with how this virus did what it did and now I want to beat it. All the files and programs are still there, hes just found a way to conceal it.

    So any ideas I could try would be helpful at this point, thank you.
     
  2. Phantom010

    Phantom010 Trusted Advisor

    Joined:
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    There is no Group Policy Editor (gpedit.msc) in XP Home. It's only part of XP Pro.

    Other than a complete reformat/reinstall, there is not much you can do at this point. Your computer could even still be partly infected.

    If you do not wish to reformat, you might want to click on Report and kindly ask to be moved to the Virus & Other Malware Removal forum. Be sure to provide the appropriate reports in that forum after reading THIS. From there, be patient. The malware removal experts are very busy! You should get an answer within the next 48 hours.
     
  3. Omnixius

    Omnixius Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2011
    Messages:
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    Yeah I just googled the group policy editor and your are 100% correct it did NOT come as part of XP home, but you can install it from pro. I did install it and run it and there is no policy configured so that is not how the virus is doing this.

    As for reinstalling, I know that is going to fix this. But I was trying to see if anybody had cracked how this was done.
     
  4. Phantom010

    Phantom010 Trusted Advisor

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    Messages:
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    Yes, you are correct, the Group Policy Editor can be installed.
     
  5. Omnixius

    Omnixius Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2011
    Messages:
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    I am glad to say I actually fixed it.

    Insanity+Sadism wins again.

    I went into the registry with regedit and went here.

    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\
    Explorer]

    In there was a key called NoDesktop, it was set to 1 or true, and I changed it to 0

    I also went into
    [HKEY_USERS\S-1-5-21-LOTS OF NUMBER\software\microsoft\windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\HideDesktopIcons

    inside here were two more folders I set all the values to all the keys inside them to 0, several of them were 1.


    I did this, rebooted, and its all back and working perfectly.
    I have icons on desktop, I have programs list, start menu, I can right click the desktop. Its all back.

    I am not sure which of these changes actually fixed it. I don't really care.
     
  6. Phantom010

    Phantom010 Trusted Advisor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2009
    Messages:
    34,796
    I would still ask a malware removal expert's advice...
     
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