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Can't enter "Add/Remove Programs" - AND - Internet Explorer changes my homepage

Posted on 2004-04-29
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Last Modified: 2012-05-04

Hi everyone.

My Windows 2000 SP4 PC has two problems at this moment:

1) When I try to open "Add and Remove Programs" at the Control Panel, a blank window appears, and the title bar of this window says "res://sp3res.dll/default.hta"


2) When I open Internet Explorer, a "generic" Search page appears. The address bar says "about:blank" and these webpage doesn't have a "name" (ie yahoo, google, etc); it just says "Search for..." and below there are many category links for navigation. No matter how many times I change the homepage to any other one, when I close IE and open it again, that home page is opened again.

Is there a connection bwtween these two cases? Is this because of a virus, a spyware, any other thing?

These are the solutions I've tried so far:

1) Ran Ad-aware, it discovered a few objects and removed them.

2) From Start Menu---> Run I ran the following line:
      sfc /scannow

3) From Start Menu---> Run I ran the following line:
rundll32 setupwbv.dll,IE6Maintenance "C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\Setup\SETUP.EXE" /g "C:\WINDOWS\IE Uninstall Log.Txt

4) From Start Menu---> Run I ran the following line:
REGSVR32 APPWIZ.CPL

5) I ran the win2k CD and chose the Repair Installation option (from the blue "dos-like" screen at the begginning of the Wizard).

None of these methods have solved my problem(s)

PD: too bad I can't upload screenshots to illustrate my cases :(
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Question by:RomeoVF
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10 Comments
 
LVL 44

Accepted Solution

by:
CrazyOne earned 250 total points
ID: 10949885
This little didy will get rid of some of the more well known Home page Hijackers.
CoolWebShredder
http://www.spychecker.com/program/coolwebshredder.html
here is a description of what it does
http://www.softpedia.com/public/cat/10/17/10-17-143.shtml
Features:

· Redirections to CoolWebSearch related pages
· Redirections when mistyping URLs
· Redirections when visiting Google
· Enormous IE slowdowns when typing
· IE start page/search page changing on reboot
· Sites in the IE Trusted Zone you didn't add
· Popups in Google and Yahoo when searching
· Errors at startup mentioning WIN.INI or IEDLL.EXE
· Unable to change or see certain items in IE Options
· Unable to access IE Options at all

download here
http://www.spychecker.com/download/download_coolwebshredder.html
----------------------------------

And/or

Hijack This and BHODemon and Browser Hijack Blaster

Hijack This http://www.spywareinfo.com/~merijn/files/hijackthis.zip | Written by a member of our support forums and based on our Hijacked! article, this program scans the locations in your computer system that may be modified by browser hijackers and fixes any problems found. An easy-to-understand tutorial is available at TomCoyote.org.

http://www.spywareinfo.com/downloads.php?cat=sp#det
BHODemon http://www.spywareinfo.com/downloads/bhod/ | Think of BHODemon as a guardian for your Internet browser: it protects you from unknown Browser Helper Objects (BHOs), by letting you enable/disable them individually. This program is my choice for BHO detection and is highly recommended.

Browser Hijack Blaster http://www.wilderssecurity.net/bhblaster.html | Running silently in the background, Browser Hijack Blaster only springs into action when an attempt is made. It watches and protects the following items: IE Homepage, IE Default Page, IE Search Page, BHOs. Whenver one of the above items is changed, or a BHO is added, you are immediately provided with information on the item, along with the option to keep the change, or revert to your previous settings.
==========================


Could be malware has installed itself on your system that is the causing this. The following utilities can help you find and remove most known malware. The first two are free and I would suggest to use both of them because neither is 100% in finding malware but using both together helps find what the other may have missed.

spybot here
http://www.safer-networking.org/
Download
http://spybot.safer-networking.de/index.php?lang=en&page=download

AdAware
http://www.lavasoftusa.com/

Spycop:
http://www.spycop.com/

General and overall information about Spy/Adware
http://www.cexx.org/adware.htm
0
 
LVL 49

Expert Comment

by:sunray_2003
ID: 10949945
Hi RomeoVF,

Check for spyware first and then

Check the registry setting here:
Start->Run->Regedit <Enter>

Look for NoControlPanel in both of these keys:

 HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer
 HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer

The value for this key should be 0 to disable restriction or 1 to enable it (prevent control panel access).

Thanks
0
 
LVL 49

Expert Comment

by:sunray_2003
ID: 10949999
0
 

Author Comment

by:RomeoVF
ID: 10951453
To CrazyOne:
            It seems that CoolWebShredder did it ok with my IE problem. Thanks.

To sunray 2003:
            I looked in the registry paths you gave me, but there is no key named NoControlPanel
            I scanned my PC for viruses and it's clean.

So, the IE problen was solved but my Control Panel problem persists.
0
 
LVL 44

Expert Comment

by:CrazyOne
ID: 10951493
0
Do You Know the 4 Main Threat Actor Types?

Do you know the main threat actor types? Most attackers fall into one of four categories, each with their own favored tactics, techniques, and procedures.

 
LVL 44

Expert Comment

by:CrazyOne
ID: 10951501
0
 

Author Comment

by:RomeoVF
ID: 10952515
I tried the Windows Repair Option. All Windows was re-installed with my last configuration, my user files and folders and programs are still there... and so is the problem
0
 
LVL 12

Expert Comment

by:rossfingal
ID: 10958158
Hi!

A couple of things.
Download and install HijackThis (per: CrazyOne's suggestion above), place it in it's own folder, not on your Desktop or
in a temp folder.
Run it and post a log file here.
Check C:\WINNT\control.ini for any entries.
Also, check C:\WINNT\Inf\sysoc.inf for an entry relating to add/remove programs with "hide" at the end.
Let us know.

Good luck!
0
 

Author Comment

by:RomeoVF
ID: 10968639
I ran HijackThis and after it finished its work, not only the "Add/Remove Programs" problem persists, but also, the .exe of the WMPlayer is gone and MSOutlook doesn't work anymore :(

Sorry folks, I think it's better if I re-install everything and I keep good backups of my registry in the future. Thanks to all of you for your suggestions, at least my IE problem was solved! :)
0
 

Expert Comment

by:metatronic
ID: 11072565
Hi...
i used to have the same problem, but I installed a freeware called lavasoft http://www.lavasoftusa.com/
it clear all of the adware that i have on my pc, and my ad/remove programs came back to normal... so as my internet browser...

try it!!.... its a bery simple problem,,...
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