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Computer gone crazy!

Posted on 2004-10-19
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-04
This is my second attempt at posting this problem.  On the first attempt, my curser began jumping around the text erratically until the whole text became highlighted then was deleted, all without me touching the keyboard. I am using Windows XP Pro, upgraded to SP2 about a month ago with minimal problems.  Yesterday, I had changed some permissions and rebooted.  When Windows came back up, I got a message window with a header of "Unregistered Version". The text said "Sorry, but your 30-day trial period has expired! Please register your copy a http://www.yourproduct.com"  To my knowledge, I have not recently installed any trial software.  When I went to the site, it was a general link site. Now, lots of stuff is messed up: I cannot drag and drop, cannot cut and paste, nothing happens if I try to go to Windows Help,cannot search, cannot uninstall programs, my printers are gone and I cannot re-install them. Minimized programs reside on the desktop but not in my Taskbar like before.  My Start-up programs do not start up. MS Word gives me lots of error messages. When I try to run Norton Antivirus, nothing happens. I cannot install McAffee Antivirus. I get an error message when I try to run Trend Micro house call. Spy Bot finds DSO-something, but Pest Patrol and Ad-Aware find nothing.  I have tried everything in Normal and Safe Mode. I have deleted all the temp and internet temp files. I cannot post my Highjackthis log.  Any ideas?
Question by:kentcrane
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LVL 18

Expert Comment

ID: 12350833
I don't have an answer for you yet. I saw that same wierd "message" about a 30 day trial on a user's comptuer this morning, but I haven't had a chance to look at their pc. The user told me that he recently installed SP2 and the comptuer has been acting really wierd. He's since uninstalled SP2....although I"m not sure exactly what has/hasn't been done on his machine. I'm suspecting some type of spyware crap, but if I diagnose anything, I'll let you know.
LVL 13

Expert Comment

ID: 12352974
Have you tried using system restore to take you back to a previous image before this problem started?

Go to: Start -> Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> System Restore

Follow the steps to find a previous image and let Windows restore it.  It sounds like you have tried just about everything imagineable so it may be time to just go this route.


Author Comment

ID: 12353150
The response I got was and error window that said "Windows was not able to protect your computer. Please restart your computer and run System Restore again"   I have tried this several times after rebooting. Since my original posting, I have run Registry Mechanic (which found over 700 problems) and rebooted.  Also have reset permissions in the registry to include my logon name in addition to Admin. No Luck!  What about re-installing XP.  When I used the original disk, I got a message that said that it could not proceed because I was running a different version of Windows.  I suppose that it was referring to SP2.  I cannot find any information on repairing/re-installing XP with SP2.
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LVL 27

Expert Comment

by:Asta Cu
ID: 12353767
When you first installed it, did you Activate your product?  Did you do a compatibility check first to ensure your hardware and software was compatible with the upgrade?

Hopefully these links will help you.
How to use the Automatic Recovery feature to recover your computer if the Windows XP Service Pack 2 Setup program is not completed successfully

How to remove Windows XP Service Pack 2 from your computer


How to install and use the Recovery Console in Windows XP
LVL 27

Expert Comment

by:Asta Cu
ID: 12353769
LVL 27

Expert Comment

by:Asta Cu
ID: 12353775
Can you boot in SAFE MODE and run Viruscan?  Same thing for your spyware tools?

Accepted Solution

Hypoviax earned 1000 total points
ID: 12354269
Sounds like a format job to me. If you can't install any of these programs, copy across your data files onto CDs etc, then get your Windows CD and  format using the CD (It is bootable).

This will get rid of your problem for sure and will, in fact probably be faster than attempting to remove all that stuff on your PC.



Expert Comment

ID: 12354574
This is definitely a virus infection... have a look at this article:


according to it - panda antivirus can remove this virus.
LVL 23

Expert Comment

by:Tim Holman
ID: 12369571
Firstly, TRY A NEW KEYBOARD !!! This could just be a stuck down key ?
Secondly, time for a spring clean..

Getting rid of the problem...

1)  Run a full Stinger scan in Safe Mode - http://vil.nai.com/vil/stinger/
2)  Install and run LavaSoft AdAware - http://www.lavasoftusa.com/support/download/
3)  Download and run latest version of HijackThis (HJT) http://www.tomcoyote.org/hjt/
4)  Post the log at http://www.hijackthis.de/index.php?langselect=english
5)  Run MSBA - http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/tools/mbsahome.mspx & take appropriate patching action

Stopping it happen again...

1)  Ensure WindowsUpdate is set to update your system
2)  Download a pop-up blocker - eg toolbar.google.com
3)  Install Lavasoft AdAware and run regular scans, or just leave it and have it handy for when problems start recurring.
4)  Keep your AV software up to date - daily updates recommended.  www.clamwin.org and www.grisoft.com are good free ones...
Also, check this link for some free, limited-time trials of commercial products - http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/updates/sp2/antivirus/default.mspx
5)  Enable Internet Connection Firewall, or use ZoneAlarm if you don't use XP
6)  Stay vigilant.  Don't bother opening non-work related email attachments, or install an on-access virus scanner so that it doesn't matter if you do.
7)  Look at a host IPS - eg www.prevx.com, www.abtrusion.com, System Safety Monitor  to cover your machine between when a virus hits the wild and when a patch is finally released that fixes it.  Average time is roughly 6 days.
8)  Take an online privacy test http://www.anonymizer.com/privacytest/2.0/privacytest.cgi?test=2
9)  Set IE Privacy to High - IE > Tools > Internet Options > Privacy
10)  Reset Internet Zone Security to High - IE > Tools > Internet Options > Security > Custom > (Select High) > Reset
LVL 27

Expert Comment

by:Asta Cu
ID: 12385582
Does the "C" mean that more was needed?

Expert Comment

ID: 12386207
Thanks i hope it solved your problem


Author Comment

ID: 12389232

Many who responded, failed to read my list of things that I had already tried as well as the things that I had been locked out of. While I finally used Hypoviax's suggestion, he also did not read the part in my intro that said that I could not move any files. RE:" I cannot drag and drop, I cannot cut and paste." I did not specifically say that I could not copy and paste, I guess that I thought the items I mentioned would convey the message.  As it is, I do not know what caused the problem or how to prevent it from happening again.  Concerning your suggestions, Microsoft's reminder balloon to activate whould have been a giveaway to the problem.  Having read all that I had done to try to solve the issue, including: " When I try to run Norton Antivirus, nothing happens. I cannot install McAffee Antivirus. I get an error message when I try to run Trend Micro house call. Spy Bot finds DSO-something, but Pest Patrol and Ad-Aware find nothing.  I have tried everything in Normal and Safe Mode." , it would seem that you might percieve that I had depleted the easy answers.  Additionally, no one answered my question on how to overlay a  re-install of SP2.  I was hoping that if  system files had been damaged, I might be able to restore them so that I could move my data before I did a clean re-install.  Seems like I remember XP SP1 having an option to re-install the system files if they become damaged.  My reason for posting the problem was to try to get some viable alternatives to the ever-present and hated clean re-install solution.

Expert Comment

ID: 12390631
I have found system restore very good in these circumstances and i'm sure you have heard of it.  I had trouble installing SP2 and the restore allowed be to move back to SP1 with no problems. This may be useful to you in a similar occurance in the future.


LVL 27

Expert Comment

by:Asta Cu
ID: 12390654
Thanks, kentcrane, for expounding.

Too often I see remedies not in 'what is done' so much as the order in which they're done.  Sometimes what seems unreasonable as a solution (multiple reboots) fixes problems that in-depth alternatives don't.  With all the end-user variables, troubleshooting is always an adventure.

It may be more helpful to know what versions were installed when the problem arose, example being Norton.  Many older versions or full packages cause resource drains and compatibility problems.  In regard to the other things you mentioned lastly, this information may be helpful.

For me, when strange problems arise, I use a specfic process and tools; here's some detail around that (again personal choice, but works for me).

Prior to doing Spyware removal, I always use a good Viruscan program and also be sure it is updated (most current version with most current virus definition files)  and you do a full, deep scan of all drives.

ALSO, important, turn off system restore before doing this and Spyware fixes, or the problem will return. Once cleaned, you should enable System Restore again.

If Pop Ups arise, and Browser is hijacked, the quickest way to close the Browser window is ALT+F4.

This is a central link here compiled by a number of our Experts with Spyware tools, links and cautions/recommendations:
HijackThis can scan your system and create a log (and fix some things) ... once this log is created, post the log results in this free analyzer:
This is the HijackThis Guideline and process that makes sense to me:

Once you've run the log through the Analyzer, you're guided for the most part with recommendations, and some can be fixed by HijackThis, but some may show as "nasty" which aren't and may cause problems for you. So do encourage you to read the above link for cautions on this. Let us know only the line items which need further analysis by us.

My personal choices on the Spyware/Malware and Malicious BHO issue is to use these two programs:
AdAware (I chose the paid version which is SE Professional) free versions are available but contributions always welcome for those hardworking developers.  Be sure it is the most current and updated, also make sure you configure it to do Deep Scanning and to include the HOSTS file. For Spybot S&D, if you choose that, be sure to update it and use the Immunize function to block @ 2344 spyware/malware intrusions.

Prior to making my XP upgrade decisions, I did a lot of research... recommend that.

Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2)
Got questions about Windows XP SP2? Running into problems with hardware or
programs now that you've installed the service pack? This portal can help
you find answers and troubleshoot SP2 on your home computer, notebook or
network. Look for answers and solutions to the three most common topics.
IT Professionals: get help and support for deploying SP2
Developers: view the Windows XP Service Pack 2 for Developers Support Center
and more here:

What to Know Before You Download and Install Windows XP Service Pack 2

Detailed Windows XP Service Pack 2 installation walkthrough

Getting and Installing Windows XP Service Pack 2

Free XP SP2 Help and Support

Windows XP Service Pack 2 Deployment Tools

Windows XP Service Pack 2 Support Tools

Windows XP Service Pack 2 Deployment Tools
Download the latest deployment tools for help installing Windows XP Service
Pack 2 (SP2) on multiple computers. This file contains updates to the
deployment tools and documentation.

Regarding your "repair" question, here are some links about that.

You May Lose Data or Program Settings After Reinstalling, Repairing, or Upgrading Windows XP

How to troubleshoot registry corruption issues

How to Reinstall or Repair Internet Explorer and Outlook Express in Windows XP

Important information that you must know about the MS04-028 security updates if you are using Windows XP Service Pack 2

IE 6 repair link, quite good.

Off to be with the family and cook dinner.  Hope this adds some insights and help.


LVL 27

Expert Comment

by:Asta Cu
ID: 12390673
Also meant to inlude this which I find informative and do read the Cautions.
How to Perform a Windows XP Repair Install

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