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This will challenge anyone,even the pro's

Discussion in 'Virus & Other Malware Removal' started by Macs, Sep 18, 2004.

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  1. Macs

    Macs Thread Starter

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    Heya guys,

    I'm hoping that someone can help me sort this problem out. I am by no means a computer beginner and I believe that I've isolated the problem.

    I had a fully working and fully updated installation of Win XP home SP2. Yesterday I uninstalled my trial version of AVG antivirus. It prompted me to reboot but I was in the middle of downloading Norton Antivirus so I didnt.
    After the download had completed I installed it with no apparent problems and opted to reboot.

    Just before the XP login screen comes up an application error box pops up saying:

    System.exe has failed to initialise press OK to terminate the application.

    It provides the memory address of 0x00000005 aswell. Selecting OK brings up the exact same box immediately after. Selecting OK for the second box leads to a black screen with nothing happening.

    This scenerio happens in every mode I start in, Safe mode, last good config and normal modes.

    I've now installed WIN XP Pro on the same partition in folder called WINDOWS1(usually just Windows). I can browse the XP Home windows folder no problems.

    I know that system.exe controls the starting and stopping of processes and believe that the exe works just fine. I think that the registry has become corrupted with 2 entries of different AV's.

    Can anyone throw suggestions at me? I'm getting really frustrated and desperate...

    Thanks for reading this ,
    John
     
  2. xgerryx

    xgerryx

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    Have you tried system restore. I'm not sure if the fact that you tried last good config would indicate this would be futile.
     
  3. Bryan

    Bryan

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    From what I can tell from the post, they can't try System Restore because they can't get into Windows in any mode to even try it.

    Have you tried booting to the XP CD and running a Repair?

    After booting to the XP CD and after selecting the option to "Setup Windows XP now, press ENTER" and then accepting the license agreement, you'll see a screen appear where you can select the "XP install" and enter "R" to repair it.

    The link below is a good source of info to explain the Repair process ...

    http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/XPrepairinstall.htm

    Let us know what happens if you do decide to try it. And I'm sure I don't have to say this but just for the heck of it, obviously the next time, be sure to reboot and complete the uninstall before doing a reinstalling of other software during the same Windows session. I suspect that's what's causing the conflict and the problem restarting Windows but I'm not sure what you can do since you can't even get into SafeMode to try and resolve it.
     
  4. xgerryx

    xgerryx

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    My mistake, humble apologies
     
  5. Bryan

    Bryan

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    No problem, I've misread my share of posts, too, over the years. :)

    We appreciate you helping out here ....
     
  6. Macs

    Macs Thread Starter

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    Thanks for the replies guys. I'll look into that and get back to you.
    Now all I gotta do is find the CD :rolleyes:
     
  7. Bryan

    Bryan

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    I think that's your best and only option at this point, be sure you let us know how it goes. If that doesn't work, don't rush to scrap the install unless that's what you want to do. Let us know and we'll see if we can come up with other options.
     
  8. JohnWill

    JohnWill Retired Moderator

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    Many folks suggest bypassing the basic system repair and proceeding to the installation screen. There it will ask you if you want to repair the existing installation, and that sometimes does a better job than the simple repair option first presented.
     
  9. Bryan

    Bryan

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    Yep, that's what I suggested not the Repair from Repair Console on the first screen ...

    ... select the option to "Setup Windows XP now, press ENTER" and then accepting the license agreement, you'll see a screen appear where you can select the "XP install" and enter "R" to repair it.
     
  10. Rollin' Rog

    Rollin' Rog

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    "system.exe" is not a system file in XP at all. What you have there is likely a trojan trying to load.

    No "repair" will fix this; but if the trojan appeared recently a System Restore might. This would effectively uninstall the SP2 upgrade if you do it. Or you may be able to run one of your antivirus programs from Safe Mode with command prompt, if you can load that.

    http://www.google.com/search?lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=System.exe

    You can also try Safe Mode with Command prompt, if Explorer will not load.

    If you can get there you can run system restore.

    http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?kbid=304449


    Also, someone can surely correct me if I'm wrong, but if SP2 is installed, I don't think you can run a "repair" from the orginal CD unless it is uninstalled first.
     
  11. Bryan

    Bryan

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    Rog, thanks for catching that, I missed it completely. Too wrapped up in focusing on the uninstall without rebooting before installing the new app .... And of course you're right, a repair isn't going to fix it.
     
  12. Rollin' Rog

    Rollin' Rog

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    The suggestion I'm going to make is a stretch for me since I've never tried doing anything similar. But you might be able to load the affected part of the registry from the non booting directory as a "hive" in the registry editor of the the booting directory. You could search the hive for references to "system.exe" and possibly edit and save the hive, then copy it back to the affected directory. I would imagine it would be in the "system" hive

    Also if you can manage this trick of loading the registry hives in a parallel install, load the "software" hive and look at the key:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon

    Make sure the shell is set to "explorer.exe" and nothing else. Make sure userinit is set to userinit.exe and "system.exe" is nowhere to be found there.

    There is a distantly similar issue here, but your registry editor is regedit.exe:

    http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;Q164486
     
  13. Bryan

    Bryan

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