Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Where's Randy? Well, something happened...

We returned from the high desert this morning, and I turned the desktop computer on and the Windows bootup screen looked different.  It took awhile to load, but my email worked fine, I printed some stuff off, sent some emails, and took off for the 12 noon CVGS Research Group meeting. 

When I got home at 2:30 p.m., I noticed that my McAfee Security Suite (downloaded on 29 October) was not working.  Hmmm.  So I rebooted.  Still no McAfee, so I went to Cox, my Internet provider who provides the McAfee protection as part of my subscription, and could find no way to download it again and install it.  Some links didn't work.  I decided to see if other links worked.  Web sites with text worked fine, but websites with embedded images or login boxes or other Flash or Java add-ons didn't seem to work.  Twitter said I needed a Java add-on.  I had Java before... Drat.  I couldn't read Google Reader - the page was blank and it said "Loading" but didn't.  I could enter data into Blogger, but there was no Publish button...hmmm, major problem here!  I decided that perhaps I could go back to a previous Windows setting, so I went to the System Tools folder in Accessories and looked at the System Restore list - and it was blank.

I called my son-in-law on his way home from work.  He suggested downloading Malware Bytes, and I did, and it found six problems on my hard drive, including a setup.exe file in Program Files, three infected Registry Keys and two Registry Data Items.   The program quarantined these, but I still haven't been able to do anything on the desktop but do email and save/move/print files.  I did save to my backup system the latest files used since the last backup, plus some of the important email files. 

For information purposes - this is a Dell 3000 computer running Windows XP Home Edition and I've been using Internet Explorer 7.  I tried Firefox and Chrome and they had the same problems.  If anybody has had a similar problem and a fix for it, I would like to hear about it - email me at

So I'm working off of the laptop using the wi-fi router - I can't access my Outlook Express folders but I can do everything else, I think. 

It's been a bad day... after a really fun and tiring week minding the granddaughters.  At least we got home OK.

Now to catch up on blogging...


Gerry Sell said...

Voice of Experience: Do a full backup of everything so that you're prepared if you have to wipe your hard drive and start over.

I'll bet Flash and Windows and IE7 and McAfee and Java are not playing nicely, and I'll bet the fundamental problem is Flash. When the new version came out, various sites stopped working. It made an awful mess when I tried to update it. To clean that up, I had to uninstall Flash using a utility downloaded from the Flash site, and then reinstall it in the latest version. Had to update to IE8, too.

Good luck.

Xfaith said...

Its malware of course and what you describe can be a real pain. Two options here

1. You can slave out the hard drive copy all important files and format drive and start over.

2. You can peck away at it for a while and see if you can clean it.

If yo go that route, you might want to dload a few other programs. I suggest HijackThis, but read this link and I would post your results they ask on that site

What are some of the other symptoms on the computer. Does it pop up stating you have XX virus/malware and to install some antivirus program.

Email me if you need help I live in the area (xfaith @ gmail .com)

Tamura Jones said...

Start by trying the official solution for problems like this:

Restart computer, press F8 to get the Windows Advanced Boot Options menu.
Choose "Last Known Good Configuration".
That may solve the issues. If so, you're done.

If that does not help, reboot again, and choose "Safe Mode" this time. It is likely everything works fine. Perform scans for malware again, in this mode.