I had a Dell 4600 (with XP SP2) in yesterday which the customer claimed would not connect to some websites. Generally there was no particular problem when using IE Explorer, except when trying to log into a specific site that required a username and password. When the correct login details were entered, and the login button clicked, nothing happened, no error message, no screen refresh, nothing - the page just remained on the screen. We checked this on two other machines and the login worked just fine, so it was specific to the customer's machine.
Poking around some more I discovered the following:
a) In IE, selecting Help>About brought up the version screen but the details for Version, Cipher Strength and Product ID were blank. This window could not be closed by clicking on the OK button, only by clicking on the window's X button.
b) When System Information was selected from System Tools, no system information was displayed (nothing happened at all).
c) When Search was selected from the Start menu, the search window opened but the window was blank with no input boxes or text, therefore it was not possible to execute any searches.
d) When User Accounts was selected from the control panel, the windowthat opened wass blank except for Back, Forward and Home icons that were inactive.
e) When running Windows Update the Windows Update widow opened but was blank. It was not possible to see if updates were due and none could be installed.
Googling the problem uncovered this Microsoft link http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us
274696, which describes similar, but not identical, behaviour in Windows 2000, which is attributed to access permissions having been changed in the Dcomcnfg.exe tool. However, this may have nothing to do with the current problem on the customer's machine.
I should point out that his system was scanned for viruses and 3 trojan downloader variants were found, stubby, agent and clicker, in addition to some easily removed spyware. The behaviour described above persisted after cleaning the system.
As the customer wanted a quick fix to get him access to the web sites he couldn't access, I installed Firebird and he was browsing again in no time. However, I'm concerned that he has a larger problem with his installation that will come back to bite him and I have treated the symptoms, not the cause of the problem.
Can anyone explain why the behavior described in items a) to e) above is occurring?
Best regards ... Bren