Cannot open IE and other net-based applications

Last night I installed a new game (it was Championship Manager 03-04 if that helps). There were no problems during installation, and I did nothing else between that installation and when the problem began (other than running the game itself - and no-one else has had this problem with it that I know of).

Now, however, Internet Explorer will not open. Double-clicking the icon shows the hourglass, but then it vanishes and that's that. However, IEXPLORE.EXE is in the Processes window of the Task Manager, even though it is not in the Applications window.

Certain things still work fine - normal applications that do not need access to the Internet are ok, but, and forgive the over-specific example, trying to run an online multiplayer game results in the game appearing to start to open up, but then not opening. It's as if at some stage in the procedure for opening up something Internet-based, the process is halted, but with no error message or anything.

Two things I have noticed that are odd - first, restarting the machine now sometimes has WinXP displaying an error 'Cannot find 'copy' - please make sure it is in the correct location' or something like that, before Windows then opens up as normal.

Second, somtimes shutting down now hangs for a few seconds, before a box saying that 'SYSFADER' has stopped responding and will be shut down. I have no idea what SYSFADER is and I have no idea if that is connected to it all, although I suspect it must be.

I have uninstalled the game that started it all, tried using system restore but to no effect, and ultimately tried reinstalling WinXP, but that made no difference either.

One other thing. The program All Seeing Eye, which connects players to online games through a list of servers, opens up, and the servers can be refreshed (it happily pings them all) which suggests there is nothing actually wrong with the NTL cable connection (and everything else I could check with the connection also points to it being fine).

So I'm stumped. Has anyone got any ideas? Is this SYSFADER something to do with it?

Thanks in advance if you have any ideas,

p.s. I'm at work so can't test anything out until tonight (because I can't get the internet running at home!)
Who is Participating?
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

Check for a virus at
Scratch that since you can't get on the internet.  It sounds like a virus or something similar.  You may be able to get the system back to normal by doing a repair installation -
You may also need to purchase a virus scanner such as Norton and run it.

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
cidlockieAuthor Commented:
I'm not sure how it can be a virus really. It's the most obvious answer of course, but this was a brand new game, shop bought, installed from the CD, that seems to have somehow affected the Internet connections the PC is trying to make.

My point is I'm pretty sure Eidos don't supply their software with viruses on the discs, and as I say I didn't do anything other than switch on, install it, run it and bingo, knackered connection!

And is repairing the installation not the same as reinstalling it? As I say that's what I did, reinstalled WinXP, but to no effect.
I am sure that MS doesn't distribute viruses on their CDs, either.  They have done it, though.
I don't believe that the repair installation and an XP reinstall are the same.  Give that a shot.
cidlockieAuthor Commented:
Well ultimately I've found the answer, and lo and behold it was a virus. It didn't have anything to do with the installation I did, however - it had seemingly been on my PC for almost a month without doing anything.

The virus is a Trojan called 'Winshow'.

In case anyone else comes across this problem, the solution is to use a program called Hijack This (freely available on the web) to rid your PC of it, although you may want to do it in safe mode where the thing can't run itself on startup.

A better explanation of all this is here:

Specifically response 18. Apologies if a link to another help forum is not the done thing but it can explain it far better than I could.

Important to note that reinstalling Windows or repairing the installation does nothing to get rid of the problem (I tried both!)
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Windows XP

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.