System32 DLL disaster

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volongoto

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Dec 25, 2010
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Hi,

First off, I wanted to thank you all in advance. I've become incredibly frustrated by this.. mostly because the problem is entirely my own fault.

Bear with me on this one. The computer in question is an Asus Eee 1005HA netbook. Basically, while customizing my computer, I decided that I wanted to change the volume icon in the tray. I found it via Resource Hacker in the stobject.dll file within the system32 folder, and switched it out via Replacer. When I restarted my PC, I received an error notice about the corrupted stobject.dll file, the shell (bb4win) crashed almost immediately after logon, explorer.exe crashed immediately after being opened, and windows task manager crashed upon clicking File > New Task (Run).

Since I couldn't open any applications or windows, I decided to boot Windows XP setup (from a USB drive, since it's a netbook and it doesn't have a CD drive) and recover the existing installation. After getting through the setup, all I ended up with was a dual boot screen upon turning my system on, with two installations of Windows XP Home Edition that share the same name. Going on either one brought me back to the same issue I stated earlier (shell crashing, explorer crashing, task manager crashing, etc.) So essentially, instead of one installation with the problem, now I have two.

I think that immediately after running the recovery, I got into one of the installations via safe mode and was able to see/access all my files. But once I restarted, I could never get that far again. The next time and every time since then, I've gotten the stobject.dll error message and the crashing, even in safe mode.

At some point, a third option appeared on the dual boot menu, one that reads "USB Repair NOT to Start Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition." When selected, it gives me an error screen with the following:

Windows could not start because of a computer disk hardware configuration problem.
Could not read from the selected boot disk. Check boot path and disk hardware.
Please check the Windows documentation about hardware disk configuration and your hardware reference manuals for additional information.
At that point, pressing any key brings you back to the dual (now multi, I guess) boot menu.

Any tips on how to figure this problem out would be greatly, greatly appreciated. I suspect the main issue here is still the stobject.dll corruption, though I can't see any way of replacing it.
 
Joined
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It's probably worth going from Start to Run and then type in sfc /scannow into the Open box and hit Enter. You'll need that external ROM plugged in with the XP CD loaded in case the System File Checker needs to expand a new version of the relevant file.

That should put matters right as far as the system goes but it won't remove whatever you put in. Your one hope is that anything that comes from a programme with Hacker in the name is recognised and dealt with by MalwareBytes from http://www.malwarebytes.com or SuperAntiSpyware from http://www/superantispyware.com.

It would also be helpful to know what happens if you type sndvol32.exe into that Open box.
 

volongoto

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Dec 25, 2010
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The problem is it's not even possible to get that far. As I said, upon logging in, explorer and my replacement shell, bb4win, crash immediately, and when I try to open anything else up via task manager, that crashes as well. So I'm faced with nothing but a wallpaper..

Resource Hacker is actually freeware (http://www.softpedia.com/get/Programming/File-Editors/Resource-Hacker.shtml). It's commonly used to replace executable files, especially shell32.dll in the system32 folder, as a way to change the system's icons. It's not malware, I just used it recklessly on stobject.dll when I shouldn't have. :/
 
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In which case I can only suggest a repair install from your XP CD. That should preserve your personal files and installed programmes but I believe most other settings revert to default.
 

volongoto

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Dec 25, 2010
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Sorry, when I wrote that I tried to recover the existing installation in my first post, I meant that I tried a repair installation. For some reason, all it did was create two separate boot options, each one leading to the same problem after logging in. Do you have any idea why this is happening?
 
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Can you boot to the XP Recovery Console or is that when you get the Windows is unable to start error?
If not, Put a Linux OS on a flash drive and boot with it, The Universal USB Installer makes that easy if you don't already have a tool.

Then just rename the stobject.dll file to stobject.bad, and restore the backup copy you make before you modified it.

If you didn't make a backup, check to see if there is a copy in C:\WINDOWS\ServicePackFiles\i386. If not, you can download SP3 and extract the file to use as a replacement.
 

volongoto

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Joined
Dec 25, 2010
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4
Okay, I booted with ubuntu and I was able to successfully replace stobject.dll, but for some reason that didn't solve the problem - everything still crashes upon login, on either Windows XP options in the dual boot screen..

My data is still intact and I can still access it with ubuntu, but it looks like Windows is trashed..
 
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Sounds like instead of a repair you did an overinstall and that has made a real mess here. Why not copy out your files while on Ubuntu and save to flash drive and then boot to the cd and reformat the drive and reinstall Windows clean. That has to be faster than whatever else you are doing.
 
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